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Advanced Micro Devices, the world's second largest supplier of x86 microprocessors, reportedly wants to return the FX moniker to its microprocessors aimed at performance-minded consumers. If the rumour is true, it may indicate that AMD expects its next-generation desktop central processing units (CPUs) to offer very high performance in desktop applications.

Personal computers based on the high-end eight-core microprocessors featuring Bulldozer micro-architecture will carry "Vision Black FX" label, systems with quad-core or six-core chips will sport "Vision Ultimate FX" label, according to a news-story published by Donanimhaber web-site. In case the information is correct, the new chips will be AMD's first FX-class processors with top performance since 2006, when the company lost its performance lead on the CPU market after the launch of Core 2 Extreme.

AMD introduced its FX family of chips back in 2003 with the launch of the Athlon 64 FX-50 microprocessor. The chip outperformed Intel Corp.'s Pentium 4 Extreme Edition CPU, but required a special platform as it featured dual-channel memory controller, a technology not available on the rest of Athlon 64 family. Eventually AMD's microprocessors transited to one types of mainboards, but the FX chips still offered extreme performance and a number of other features. Unfortunately for AMD, Intel launched its Core 2-series chips, which outperformed both normal Athlon 64 and the FX families of microprocessors. As a consequence, the FX-moniker was canned since it no longer marked significant performance advantages.

It is still unclear whether AMD plans to use "Phenom" or other brands for its chips powered by Bulldozer micro-architecture. It is known that desktop-class Bulldozer-based CPUs are code-named Zambezi.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Engineering samples of code-named Zambezi chips became available for AMD's partners for testing in December, 2010. Production candidates should be ready by February '11 and the initial production of the company's first desktop microprocessors powered by the long-awaited Bulldozer micro-architecture is scheduled to start in April next year. Probably, the launch of the chip will occur around the same timeframe.

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. 

The first Zambezi microprocessors to be launched are expected to be eight-core products with 95W and 125W thermal design power as well as 8MB L3 cache. Later in the second quarter of 2011 AMD, according to sources with knowledge of the company's roadmap, will release six-core chips with 8MB L3 cache and four-core products with 4MB cache. All of the processors will feature TurboCore 2.0 technology, dual-channel DDR3 memory controller with up to 1866MHz memory support and will be compatible with AM3+ mainboards.

Eight-core Zambezi/Orochi features four dual-core Bulldozer modules, each of which is believed to have 2MB of shared level-two cache, that will share 8MB L3 cache. In total, the whole chip will pack in whopping 16MB of SRAM, a 77% increase from the current six-core microprocessors that have 9MB of cache in total.

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 Zambezi chips will use new AM3+ form-factor and will require brand new platforms.

The Sunnyvale, California-based chip designer plans to introduce AMD 900-series chipsets compatible with Zambezi processors in Q2 2011. The Bulldozer processors, Radeon HD 6000 "Northern Islands" discrete graphics cards  and AMD 900-series core-logic sets will power AMD's next-generation enthusiast-class platform code-named Scorpius.

Tags: AMD, Zambezi, Orochi, Valencia, Bulldozer, 32nm

Discussion

Comments currently: 17
Discussion started: 01/03/11 11:28:10 PM
Latest comment: 02/17/11 08:44:39 AM
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1. 
I'll believe it when I see it. AMD hasn't had a top performance CPU for a while, and it's hard to imagine it, but who knows.
0 0 [Posted by: ET3D  | Date: 01/03/11 11:28:10 PM]
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There seems to be a very good chance for AMD's 4 module (8 core) to outperform Intels 4 core (8 cores with HT) CPU in multithreaded applications. The way things look it may be true for Sandy Bridge CPUs too.

Now it all depends on how a single AMD core will compare against a single core from Intel. I would not expect AMD to outperform Intel on a single threaded application. But this is more of a feeling rather than a fact. They managed to match Intels speed in the past with K7/Pentium3 and outperformed them with K8 against Pentium 4. Will history repeat itself? Unlikely if you ask me, but you never know.

AMD made significant changes to the architecture, but nothing that will boost single threaded performance significantly. What AMD aims to do is pack more powerfull cores on a small area, and it is a good approach considering that multi-threaded apps are growing in numbers.

0 0 [Posted by: redhavoc  | Date: 01/04/11 12:43:57 AM]
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They managed to match Intels speed in the past with K7/Pentium3 and outperformed them with K8 against Pentium 4. Will history repeat itself? Unlikely if you ask me, but you never know.


Wrong ... partially .. K7 was faster than P3 in every application managing over 40% performance improvement in some applications.

K8 just got much better from there.

In fact Intel was sued many times over the fact that P4 had lower performance than P3. So do the math. AMD was the performance king from 1999 until 2006. Almost 7 years.
0 0 [Posted by: East17  | Date: 01/04/11 04:45:40 PM]
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There seems to be a very good chance for AMD's 4 module (8 core) to outperform Intels 4 core (8 cores with HT) CPU in multithreaded applications. The way things look it may be true for Sandy Bridge CPUs too.

Now it all depends on how a single AMD core will compare against a single core from Intel. I would not expect AMD to outperform Intel on a single threaded application. But this is more of a feeling rather than a fact. They managed to match Intels speed in the past with K7/Pentium3 and outperformed them with K8 against Pentium 4. Will history repeat itself? Unlikely if you ask me, but you never know.

AMD made significant changes to the architecture, but nothing that will boost single threaded performance significantly. What AMD aims to do is pack more powerfull cores on a small area, and it is a good approach considering that multi-threaded apps are growing in numbers.
0 0 [Posted by: redhavoc  | Date: 01/04/11 12:59:08 AM]
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2. 
FX-50? Wasn't the FX-51 based on Opteron the first one?
0 0 [Posted by: f10exx  | Date: 01/04/11 12:32:05 AM]
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3. 
AMD is always behind the Intel's memory architecture. (integrated memory controller was great but I mean the other thing)
Still we can't see triple channel DDR3 memory controller here. Maybe it is not that important but it shows cons to me anyway.

Are there any new "Instruction sets" like 3DNow! ? That was sheer genius but AMD is gonna drop that too and no new initiatives?

Another thing is the fact that "nanometer game" is a huge battle for AMD. 8MB L3 Cache is good but is not good enough 'Cause we saw 12MB L3 Cache of i7-980x before. Yes, there is a good L2 Cache also but after all we have to wait and see, maybe AMD PLUS something like GlobalFoundries could do more than Intel's technology in the future but that is not easy at all.

0 0 [Posted by: Pouria  | Date: 01/04/11 03:39:43 AM]
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(integrated memory controller was great but I mean the other thing)

http://www.newegg.com/Pro...aspx?Item=N82E16819105272 This has a quad channel memory controller from AMD an it is available for sale right now. Desktops don't need it! It makes the motherboards more expensive and brings no benefit. At just about anything, DDR3-1600+ will benefit more from 10ns gain in latencies then adding extra channels. (At current CPU performance level and desktop apps)
As far as the cache is concerned the Westmere has 1.5MB L2 + 12MB L3 for a total of 13.5MB cache. How is this superior to the Zambezi's 8+8 L2+L3 cache? Just in case your not aware, which you might be not, L2 is about 3-4 times faster and has 3-4 times lower latencies than L3. What are you complaining about?
As far as manufacturing is concerned, Intel is ahead by about a year hands down. But that shows on the companies margins. It is a catch 22, because of the higher margins, Intel can afford to put more money into R&D.
And before I get blamed for fanboyism, I'll be getting a Sandy Bridge by the end of the month.
0 0 [Posted by: jonup  | Date: 01/04/11 04:24:09 AM]
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As I said AMD is always behind the Intel's memory architecture for that thing.
Opteron, oh yeah! Now for $1200 USD and where is the triple channel to compare with some i7 like 950 with about $300. And who said that it is AMD's Quad channel tech?

Besides when you're talking about multi-CPU you must mention Xeon from Intel.

For L3 VS. L2 Cache performance you have to remember sometimes you need speed and sometimes you need amount of Memory.

At last I hope that AMD could break Intel's limits but it seems not like that, in time.
0 0 [Posted by: Pouria  | Date: 01/04/11 01:58:14 PM]
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Your ignorance is entertaining. Please, enjoy the benefits of triple channel memory on your i7 950! And don't forget to run some synthetic benches; it will make you feel better.
0 0 [Posted by: jonup  | Date: 01/04/11 09:49:36 PM]
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Thanks. I'm happy with my Ph. II 955/Radeon 5850. [even when I knew about i7 and absence of PhysX for 5850]
I knew sum of these bulks up and down my comment.

I have tested my socket 423 1400MHz P.4 with 128 MB of RDRAM 400 Memory against an AMD Athlon 1000MHz with 256MB of SDRAM about 9 years ago. You should better know RDRAM. yes, that was a shame for Intel when we render a scene from 3dstudio. After that I saw the floating point calculation difference. RDRAM was so expensive but was a great tech and at last Intel back-warded to the SDRAM that time. Again RDRAM was great!!

Even I saw when one of my friends installed his AMD's cooler incorrect that processor fired with a white smoke in the air and today AMD is so cool n quiet ...anyway.
You know, the way you are talking is not fair at all.
I'm not so specialist. This is just my opinion about that
and I try not be fanatic about technology. The way you are, may force you to forget even about x86 micro-arch. license. I know about x86-64 license too.
MY ignorance is entertaining So enjoy, BUT YOUR ignorance is your bliss.
0 0 [Posted by: Pouria  | Date: 01/05/11 02:25:40 AM]
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AMD is always behind the Intel's memory architecture. (integrated memory controller was great but I mean the other thing)


AMD was ahead Intel many times.

1)Better 486 processors. 120MHz vs. 66MHz that Intel had at the time.

2)Much better performance than Intel Pentium MMX with AMD K6 processor.

And the K6 was really architecturally superior. Superiour Branch Prediction and better floating point performance along with the 3DNow! instructions that were copied by Intel and renamed to SSE.

3)K6-II was better in games at first when Intel's compilers weren't set up to sabotage AMD.

4)K6-III was the first Socket 7 CPU to get OnDie L2 Cache and the first to implement TriLevel Cache.

5)K7 has 3 floating point units, much better BUS and the architecture in itself was so good that it compensated for the lacking performance of the supporting platforms like the Irongate and the KX133. And it manifested better performance despite the much lower performance memory that was available for it. And yes .. Alpha had Rambus capability but AMD never got a chance with that .

Not that it needed it anyway.

8) K7 was the first to transfer to copper interconnects and smaller lithography and was the first many months in the GigaHetz race. Intel got so desperate tht it launched overheating CPUs that it had to recall from the market.

9)K8 was the first architecture to integrate the memory controller on the CPU.

10)LightingDataTransport or HyperTransport was also the superior But that Intel only learned how to do 2 years ago although AMD had it since 2003.

11)AMD is the company that practically made the Itanium 64 Bit CPU useless and obsolete.

should I continue?
0 0 [Posted by: East17  | Date: 01/04/11 05:16:22 PM]
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4. 
My expectations about Bulldozer vs Sandy Bridge performance are as follows:

Considering that each Bulldozer 2-core module has some shared components, and everything else being more or less equal, a 4-core Bulldozer will probably not perform to the level of a non-hyperthreading 4-core Sandy Bridge CPU. But it will be faster than Phenom II and, objectively, will be "fast enough" for most users.

Considering also the relatively modest gains afforded by HT, it should be expected that a 6-core BD will outperform a 4-core SB with HT. The price/performance sweet spot could well be somewhere in the 6-core Bulldozer lineup.

As for the 8-core BD, it will beat anything from Intel, and will be priced accordingly.
0 0 [Posted by: BernardP  | Date: 01/04/11 05:38:59 AM]
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5. 
I like AMD after moving over from Intel, personally this is finally a good reason to wait instead of upgrading till this is out. I don't like Intel for a number of reasons such as high cost and deliberate attempts to limit any overclocking and with the latest addition to their line up of products a kill switch feature. Interesting how the reviews were and still are silent about it.
0 0 [Posted by: nforce4max  | Date: 01/04/11 06:55:22 AM]
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6. 
I'm still wondering why they haven't already banished their pga and those horrible plastic retention brackets. Keep doing so with am3+, and no OEM will pick your products.
0 0 [Posted by: Marburg U  | Date: 01/04/11 01:51:06 PM]
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7. 
So will AMD be ditching the Black Edition brand? Or is this going to be an excuse to charge a little extra for the top end chips?
0 0 [Posted by: GavinT  | Date: 01/05/11 01:04:08 AM]
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8. 
The AMD 1090T six core processor was an impressive chip. I look forward to getting the chance to overclock this new AMD 1100T! I just hope they figured out how to keep the next generation stable above 4.0Ghz.

Here are some benchmark results:
http://www.epinions.com/r...6DGR/content_527182171780
0 0 [Posted by: rgathright  | Date: 01/13/11 12:28:13 PM]
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9. 
I agree currently Intel has the headway.. but Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture has integrated DRM in the chip that works directly with Time Warner to stream 1080p content. The chip is a requirement. It starts here, but I can easily see Intel trying to market this DRM feature to the RIAA as well as other groups and ultimately we end up with more digital rights crap all over my music, movies, and software.

CYA Intel..
0 0 [Posted by: dethknite  | Date: 02/17/11 08:44:39 AM]
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