6. AMD Re-Schedules Bulldozer Processors to 2011
Advanced Micro Devices said in early March that the company had reset plans for the launch if its new micro-architecture code-named Bulldozer and the first truly next-generation processors will only emerge in 2011. This contradicted the optimism caused by comments of the company’s chief executive officer, who promised to “ramp up” the first chips produced at 32nm node in mid-2010.
Since Intel released its microprocessors powered by the Core 2 micro-architecture, there have been rather tough times for AMD. The delay and eventual disappointment with performance of quad-core AMD Opteron "Barcelona" chips as well as errata that stopped their sales for another six months were a catastrophe for AMD. Even though the quad-core Shanghai as well as six-core Istanbul processors allowed AMD to offer better performance, it still cannot catch up with Intel in many terms, particularly on the desktop. As a result, many now hope that microprocessors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture will help AMD to finally return itself performance crown. However, the Bulldozer chips will not be available in 2010, but only sometimes in 2011.
Apparently, the first 32nm chip of AMD will be code-named Llano and will be the first chip with the Fusion concept that AMD unveiled back in 2006. Llano will feature up to four Shanghai/Phenom II-class cores; 4MB of L3 cache; PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600MHz) memory controller, possibly, with some tweaks to better serve x86 and graphics engines; DirectX 11 graphics core with third-generation universal video decoder; PCI Express 2.0 bus for external graphics cards. What is even more interesting is that Llano appears to be a monolithic chip combining both x86 and graphics cores. Fortunately, it seems that AMD will ramp Llano in mid-2010, at least, according to Derrick Meyer, chief executive officer of the company.
But what about Bulldozer? Well, it seems that the chip code-named Orochi with six or eight processing engines will truly be only available sometimes in 2011. Before that, AMD will have to rely on binning of its quad-core and eventually six-core processors for both desktops and servers in order to stay competitive against Intel's high-end quad-core and six-core Core i7 central processing units.