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AMD Discloses Peculiarities of Bulldozer, Starts to Talk About Bulldozer 2

For Advanced Micro Devices, Bulldozer is not just another micro-architecture or a series of chips. For the company, which has been developing it for the past seven years, this is a matter of the future, the matter of prosperity and survival. This year Bulldozer got its face and while all the details are kept to be revealed at the launch of the central processing unit (CPU), the chip definitely got its shape.

"In the second quarter of this year we also taped out the first 32nm product based on our new high-performance Bulldozer CPU core. We plan to begin sampling our Bulldozer based server and desktop processors in the second half of this year and remain on track for 2011 launches. These new processors will deliver significant performance improvements to the AMD platform," said Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer of AMD, in mid July, 2010.

AMD Orochi design is the company's next-generation processor for high-end desktop (Zambezi) and server (Valencia) markets. The chip will feature eight processing engines, but since it is based on Bulldozer micro-architecture, those cores will be packed into four modules. Every module which will have two independent integer cores (that will share fetch, decode and L2 functionality) with dedicated schedulers, one "Flex FP" floating point unit with two 128-bit FMAC pipes with one FP scheduler. The chip will have shared L3 cache, new dual-channel DDR3 memory controller and will use HyperTransport 3.1 bus. The chip was demonstrated in operation mode in November, 2010,

At an investor conference in November Chekib Akrout, senior vice president of technology group at AMD, confirmed the company's intention to start revenue shipments of Bulldozer-based processors for desktops in Q2 2011 and for servers in Q3 2011.

Around the time when AMD was about to announce commercial plans for Bulldozer-generation processors at its analyst day, discoveries were made about the "Bulldozer NG" (next-generation) and "BDver2" chips that are expected to succeed the original Bulldozer.

Apparently, the Bulldozer version 2.0 will support at least three new extensions, including BMI (Bit Manipulation Instructions), TBM (Trailing Bit Manipulation) and FMA3 (three operand FMA [fused multiply-add]).

Meanwhile, a very sketched plan of AMD suggests (note: this is not a roadmap, these are suggestions of what could be made) that sometime around 2012, the Sunnyvale, California-based chip designer may launch a completely new server platform currently known as G42/G44. The next-generation platform will likely continue to utilize Bulldozer micro-architecture initially, but microprocessors will absorb I/O functionality of chipsets, thus, further simplifying the server platforms. Obviously, there still will be external I/O controllers, but there will be no more central hub in servers, which is a very interesting concept. Around the same timeframe AMD also plans to release GPUs seriously optimized for server needs. Later on, perhaps in 2013 - 2014 timefroma, the world's second largest maker of chips may introduce the so-called Bulldozer NG micro-architecture (Bulldozer 2) and new processors on its base. The first Bulldozer NG-powered chips are liktly to be compatible with G42/G44 infrastructure.

The most revolutionary change of AMD's server platform will take place in longer term, perhaps, in 2014 - 2015 - 2016 or even later, when the company introduces microprocessors with integrated Bulldozer NG x86 cores, high-speed stream processing units and input/output functionality. Later on the company will also switch from Bulldozer NG cores to a future micro-architecture, which can be called post-Bulldozer NG.

At present it is nearly impossible to predict any details about the mid-term or long-term microprocessors. Moreover, even AMD's conceptual roadmap does not provide any actual promises, commitments or details, but just indicates one important direction that AMD heads to: the fusion of multi-core x86 chips with many-core graphics chips. What we surely know is that AMD does have pretty serious plans!

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