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Advanced Micro Devices has released a presentation for investors that puts the launch of the new Steamroller micro-architecture in 2013. While the company did not unveil what chips will feature Steamroller high-performance x86 cores this year, it implied that the new generation of server-class Opteron chips will be based on Steamroller, the micro-architecture AMD puts a lot of hopes on.

A Curious Case of Steamroller Plans

The Sunnyvale, California-based company published a slide called “AMD Opteron Technology: Delivering multiple generations of greater functionality and improved performance” in its Q1 2013 investor presentation, which clearly puts release of Steamroller in 2013. In the previous version of AMD enterprise roadmap, the company clearly stated that its Opteron “Abu Dbabi” powered by Piledriver high-performance x86 cores will be its focus for 2013 and 2014. The next-generation of Opteron processors was planned to be introduced for the second half of 2014.

As it appears, AMD has either dramatically changed its Opteron plans and the new chip will actually be launched this year (which either suggests compatibility with current sockets or means that AMD intends to unveil a new platform for server microprocessors with support for PCI Express 3.0 and improved functionality), or just wants to show that it is on-track with the micro-architecture, which will power different chips.

Earlier this year AMD updated its roadmap for client-class personal computers. It reiterated plans to launch its code-named Kabini and it is a new-generation accelerated processing unit with Steamroller x86 general-purpose core as well as Radeon graphics engine based on GCN architecture.

AMD Steamroller: Expectations

AMD revealed a lot of details about the Steamroller at Hot Chips conference in August, 2012. Just like in case of the Bulldozer architecture, Steamroller x86 cores - which will power AMD's future high-performance Opteron and FX chips - will be located inside dual-core modules and therefore processors on its base should be similar by design with Orochi and Viperfish, with some minor exceptions that will not be truly important (new memory controller, different internal buses additional tweaks, etc) foe x86 performance. The main improvements will be independent instruction decoders for each core within a module, better schedulers, larger and smarter caches, more register resources and some other enhancements.

One of the reasons why dual-core Bulldozer modules [the same may be said about Piledriver] are not completely efficient is because they have only one instruction decoder for two ALUs and one FPU. With steamroller, AMD not only incorporated two decoders per module, but also increased instruction cache size (to lower i-cache misses by 30%), enhanced instruction pre-fetch (the number of mis-predicted branches is down by 20% compared to Bulldozer ) as well as improved max-width dispatches per thread by 25%. AMD believes that Steamroller will provide 30% improvement in ops per cycle.

AMD also advanced single-core execution by implementing 5%-10% more efficient scheduling, incorporated higher-capacity register files and performed some other tweaks. It should be noted that while integer pipes of Steamroller will not be too different from existing ones, the floating point pipe will be a bit redesigned. In general, AMD promises that both integer and floating point per-core performance of Steamroller will be higher than they are today with Bulldozer micro-architecture.

One of the interesting features of AMD Steamroller will be its ability to disable unused parts of L2 cache. Since not all apps are cache-bound, this may result in decreased power consumption and/or AMD's ability to boost clock-speeds of its microprocessors dynamically.

It is noteworthy that AMD decided to talk about its Steamroller micro-architecture that will be utilized inside microprocessors made using 28nm process technology approximately a year or more ahead of their roll-out

Tags: AMD, Steamroller, Piledriver, Bulldozer, Opteron, FX, 28nm, Globalfoundries, 32nm

Discussion

Comments currently: 59
Discussion started: 03/31/13 09:05:45 AM
Latest comment: 06/03/13 05:47:12 PM
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1. 
great news. I'm glad to see that AMD is right on track to release steamroller. The only negative side to releasing it this year on the apu side of things is it will damper richlands sales. Knowing that steamroller is around the corner many people will just skip over richalnd and wait until kaveri in sept.
10 3 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 03/31/13 09:05:45 AM]
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2. 
well... nice... perhaps...

as i see it, it is the waiting game now for AMD, something they are not in best position for right now. if they manage to survive long enough, the HSA and OpenCL will make them competitive again - many people don't understand truly the GPU unleashed computing power in applications...

luckily, now they are many players interested in very same thing that hurt AMD - node scaling, HSA/OpenCL (even Intel is on this wagon, though it's their weak point - please, don't mention haswell graphic - this is serious thread )

anyhow, with time passing, *someone* will invest in 20, 14 or whatever node in whatever foundry, *someone* will invest in HSA - well, gaming industry spends many times AMD total value as we speak in utilizing console games with this approach...

hopefully, AMD can come back from the death which will bring a healthy competition in the industry again - I am not enjoying Intel is changing sockets for every tick or tock or whatever just because they can (I wouldn't enjoy if AMD did the same if the tables were turned)

no serious data about what will be the GPU part, though - GCN, ok, but how powerful? this info (likely to be true, AMD is rarely lying when they have silicon made, opposite of what they do when it is in development phase - "...over 1,000,000,000% faster..." only promises that CPU will probably suck less than piledriver - and that's about it

no memory info also - whatabout unified controller, whatabout GDDR5 or GDDR5 combined with DDR3?
4 2 [Posted by: snakefist  | Date: 03/31/13 09:23:04 AM]
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3. 
Richland is a nice bump for low power portable devices. Kaveri will be a much bigger bump and continue AMD's winning ways with APUs.

Steamroller is a significant step forward and when combined with AMD's advanced dynamic power mamangement and frequency scaling, it will provide excellent performance and value for not just servers but all consumer products. I think a lot of folks will be surprised at the improvements that Steamroller brings and Excavator will bring much more than Steamroller.

As we saw Ivy Bridge didn't bring any tangible performance improvement over Sandy Bridge but Piledriver was a nice bump. Haswell isn't showing much over Ivy Bridge yet Steamroller most definitely will over Piledriver. For most users AMD is still providing the best performance-cost proposition and that will continue across all market segments.
11 6 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 03/31/13 11:46:39 AM]
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Don't confuse Steamroller with Excavator. Steamroller will offer some design changes and very nice performance bumps over the original Bulldozer. Excavator on the other hand is said to be a complete re-design with major architectural modifications. Excavator represents what Bulldozer should have been. According to internal sources, Excavator will not only be on par with Intel’s newest CPU’s in 2014, but may even surpass them by far in massive multi-threading based applications and games.
Expect Excavator to be based on a new Socket AM4+ with a Quad-Channel IMC, not to mention double the Hyper Transport Technology bus speed versus today’s Bulldozer. I cannot reveal anymore, though things do change depending on unforeseen circumstances such as manufacturing processes for instance.
In this respect, Steamroller is quite positive and should (will) provide some substantial performance improvements over Bulldozer in a clock for clock scenario.
5 4 [Posted by: nt300  | Date: 04/01/13 05:02:24 PM]
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In that case your sources are mistaken and way off the mark. I say this because I am familiar with what excavator brings interms of performance and changes to its micro-arc.
4 3 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 04/02/13 08:35:51 AM]
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I just told you that Excavator is going to be based on a major re-design. So how am I off the mark especially when I have internal sources talking about it over coffee? Perhaps we are both talking about the exact same thing, though our interpretation on changes to the architecture may differ. I like calling it major re-design where as you like calling it changes to the micro arc. The major difference will be the IMC for Excavator with further major modifications to the execution cores just to name a few. If you happen to see Jim Keller, say hi to him for me k.
2 3 [Posted by: nt300  | Date: 04/02/13 10:38:38 AM]
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Your implication that you know Jim Keller or someone under him and that he is working on Excavator like projects tells me you are either making things up or you being mislead by however that other person is.

I know what he and his team are working on and its not Excavator.

Excavator is no more a major re-design than Steamroller is over Piledriver, its an incremental evolution not a concept re-design. We can put this fact aside for semantics sake but the numbers are there internally for what improvement it will bring and your claims are not helping AMD by bring up false hopes.
3 2 [Posted by: vanakkuty  | Date: 04/03/13 01:16:35 AM]
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The vocabulary differs from the people who actually do the designing and implementation, to the ones (probably people like you) who listen to random rumors and have no idea what the details are.
0 0 [Posted by: the_file  | Date: 04/07/13 10:47:53 PM]
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Jim Keller is not familiar with that user name. He is also not yet working on Excavator. As for IPC, Steamroller should be approx: 30% to 70% faster in performance clock for clock versus the current Piledriver. Will performance desktop Steamroller be out by the end of 2013? I think so,
0 0 [Posted by: AtInsider  | Date: 06/03/13 05:30:48 PM]
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how do u know....
0 0 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 05/26/13 03:39:20 AM]
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4. 
30% higher IPC would be just what's needed, if it's true of course!
7 5 [Posted by: Prosthetic_Head  | Date: 03/31/13 12:10:58 PM]
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Actually AMD's current IPC is not a real issue, but more for the same price is always nice.
7 8 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 03/31/13 01:12:35 PM]
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In the computer industry, it has been and always will be IPC or instruction per cycle. I am not sure if you remember that AMD did teach IPC matters more than clock. AMD's currect IPC is the real issue because their top end processors does not evenly match to Intel's top end processors. AMD top end processor barely beats i3. Sure you can get 8 processors, but at a costs that an i3 still beats it. Please do not say that I do not know what I am saying. I do know what I am saying. AMD's processors have ultra low IPC and it is un-excusable for a reputable company especially when AMD explains that IPC rules back in the Atlhon days.

The Bulldozer and microarchitectures that improve on it is a waste of resources for AMD. Bulldozer is just too big of a microarchitecture for AMD to improve.
7 5 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 03/31/13 08:28:49 PM]
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AMD's top CPU's barely beats i3's? Not true at all. And if you look at Real-World Gaming Benchmarks, AMD's offerings are just as good as Intel's/
5 5 [Posted by: nt300  | Date: 04/01/13 05:12:43 PM]
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show the post
4 7 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 04/01/13 06:14:52 PM]
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Because you have more money than sense....
7 3 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 04/01/13 11:31:46 PM]
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2 1 [Posted by: nt300  | Date: 04/02/13 10:52:59 AM]
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linuxlowdown spells it out just fine. For gaming it's all AMD in my opinion, especially with the better priced CPUs.
0 0 [Posted by: AtInsider  | Date: 06/03/13 05:36:58 PM]
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Probably with games demanding better GPU than CPU
3 0 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 04/02/13 02:06:03 AM]
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5. 
AMD is step by step getting rid of the whole paired codes with shared resources. The fetch will either get bigger and bigger or be completely separate in the future. Modular design is great, but these shared components was a failed experiment.
3 4 [Posted by: KeyBoardG  | Date: 03/31/13 04:33:49 PM]
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The Modular Design is the best thing to happen to the CPU & GPU. It's a matter of time when Intel will once again follow AMDs pathway.
Though I do agree the shared components is bad. AMD will resolve this issue with time.
1 0 [Posted by: AtInsider  | Date: 06/03/13 05:40:34 PM]
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6. 
Really good news for consumers. personally I am eagerly wating to see their true HSA enabled APUs on 2015 which has a seamless usage of CPU & GPU cores according to the nature of the application ! Till then my i5 750 with HD7870 XT(Tahiti LE) would do just fine..........
8 3 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 03/31/13 06:44:10 PM]
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hehe, most AMD fanboys is using Intel CPU. It is interesting to see shares of used CPU inside AMD...
2 4 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 04/02/13 02:10:13 AM]
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7. 
Small error:
Earlier this year AMD updated its roadmap for client-class personal computers. It reiterated plans to launch its code-named Kabini Kaveri and it is a new-generation accelerated processing unit with Steamroller x86 general-purpose core as well as Radeon graphics engine based on GCN architecture.
5 1 [Posted by: Bingle  | Date: 03/31/13 06:45:31 PM]
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8. 
So they made simpler 8 core cpu which shared some resourses between cores, had a lower single thread performance and nice multithreaded performance, hence the 8 cores. With next generation they improved single threaded peformance by adding components to cpu and lovering the shared parts. Now they will have comlete cores, and 8 maybe 12 or 16 cores cpus in the market. Sounds like a plan to me.
6 2 [Posted by: kingpin  | Date: 03/31/13 07:16:35 PM]
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9. 
While I agree that recent offerings from AMD are just a big pile of crap, I wont go as far the amdisfail troll. This guy is a little off, but anyways, is good to see AMD is keep improving their CPU track. Hopefully, the future processors would be much more better and they will offer a true challenge to Intel. Nobody wants a monopoly like is almost now or worst only 1 CPU provider.
6 3 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 04/01/13 08:56:02 AM]
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That's right TAViX. If everyone backs the one horse, then it will eventually become a one horse race. Then the one horse only has to trot around the track to win, without any competition. It will become fat, lazy, arrogant and disobedient. Nobody wants to see that.
6 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 04/01/13 11:35:41 PM]
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10. 
AMD may be behind in performance for now, but when it comes to multi-cores, AMD's modular approach should prove to be the winning choice for adding cores faster and running them more efficient.
Like the past AMD's lead the way in many technological advancements while Intel later on adopted. In this respect, I can see Intel also jumping into modular technology, once again following AMD.
3 2 [Posted by: nt300  | Date: 04/01/13 05:19:05 PM]
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Im wondering what direction the board and engineers have decided is best for the mainstream chipsets.

Are we gonna have a 1090FX, or is the apu chipset gonna win out?

I would also like some insight regarding weather the folks at amd have any intentions to push socket G34 to mainstream consumers.

Also, lets hope Intel has their own bulldozer "experience" although I doubt they will due impart of their large R&D staff.

But seriously PGA is getting annoying, removing a PGA die isn't fun and can cause damage.
1 0 [Posted by: the_file  | Date: 04/07/13 10:31:44 PM]
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11. 
I don't really get the very technical thing. But I do really hope AMD really back to the track. I think Intel still need AMD to make x86 cpu stand still from ARM.
2 0 [Posted by: jpunk  | Date: 04/01/13 07:01:24 PM]
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12. 
AMD and IPC... Before Bulldozer launch they ensured 'Bulldozer has higher IPC than Phenom'. Yes, it is higher, but per CPU not per core.
So, be careful with trust in AMD
3 2 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 04/02/13 02:18:05 AM]
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The original Bulldozer was not the Bulldozer that was released to us. It's a long story, something to do with this full automation design crap which made the released Bulldozer too big and too hot.
If AMD stuck to its original plan, Bulldozer would have wrecked Intel's finest in performance IMO.
0 0 [Posted by: AtInsider  | Date: 06/03/13 05:47:12 PM]
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13. 
AMD is the force that keeps prices at Intel down to a low roar. As long as they compete at all, Intel will not nail us all to the cross.
If AMD produces something awesome, it can only mean better prices for everyone when the competition heats up. (much like the back and forth between AMD and NVIDIA)
Either way, I've found AMD APUs, GPUs, and my FX-8350 to be viable additions to my systems. I'll continue to support AMD whenever I can because I think that they're necessary to maintain balance in the market.
I also have a few i7-2600K PC's and like them too.
1 0 [Posted by: realneil  | Date: 04/02/13 05:27:22 PM]
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14. 
I'm quite happy with my Phenom II X4 @ 4.0GHz. Is nice to hear that I don have to change my Mobo to get an 3 generation newer processor. Thanks AMD!
1 0 [Posted by: Daniel Antonelli  | Date: 04/25/13 11:35:02 AM]
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