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Jim Keller, the legendary lead-developer behind K7 and K8 micro-architectures that were breakthroughs for AMD, is now back at AMD. Apparently, not only for the K12 ARMv8-based project, but also for a new high-performance x86 micro-architecture. According to unofficial information, the new micro-architecture will be unveiled sometimes towards late 2015.

As Bulldozer Woes…

While the Bulldozer micro-architecture and its derivatives provide an easy way to scale up the number of cores within a microprocessor, it also has a number of drawbacks that have so far have overshadowed all the advantages that the concept provides. AMD’s current multi-core microprocessors are built according to the so-called CMT [clustered multi-thread] design that [in AMD Bulldozer’s case] involves so-called dual-core “modules”.

Each dual-core module is alike a dual-core processor when it comes to integer power, and to a single-core processor with simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) capability in its floating-point performance (each module has two ALUs, yet, essentially, one FPU [floating point unit]). Since each module shares certain resources between two “cores”, in many cases their efficiency is not high enough.

To make the matters even worse, single-thread performance of AMD Bulldozer-derived architectures is lower compared to Intel’s. As a consequence, in many cases AMD’s eight-core FX-series central processing units are behind in terms of real world performance when compared to Intel’s quad-core chips that have the same number of floating point units (FPUs) which are more efficient compared to AMD’s FPUs.

… Jim Keller Goes

Based on the unofficial information, everything is going to change in the next micro-architecture that is in development by AMD. Development of a new high-performance general-purpose x86 core from Advanced Micro Devices is currently in development headed by Jim Keller, according to Expreview web-site.

Not a lot of details about the new micro-architecture are known at present. What is recognized for sure is that it will drop CMT in favour of some kind of SMT (something akin to Intel’s HyperThreading) technology to improve performance in both single-threaded and multi-threaded cases.

Partly because the head of the development – Jim Killer – is basically a legend, it is hard to predict any ideas that his team might come up to during the designing process. Quite naturally, we are unlikely to see many details about the new x86 core by AMD before it actually decides to make a disclosure.

Jim Keller at an AMD event

All the latest instruction-set extensions to the x86 architecture will probably be supported by the new micro-architecture. Expect AVX 3.2 512-bit extensions among many others.

The new micro-architecture is reportedly set to be detailed by the end of 2015. At present it is unknown whether AMD will just reveal all the details or even introduce new actual products.

Excavator Just Comes First

The all-new micro-architecture by AMD is set to emerge only in late 2015. But before that we will probably see the last and final play of the Bulldozer in the form of the Excavator cores that are projected to be present in the 2014 APUs code-named Carrizo and Toronto.

While the Excavator will definitely show what the Bulldozer micro-architecture is capable of, it will unlikely deliver performance that the public wants from it to compete against Intel’s Core i7-series microprocessors.

What is, perhaps, more important is that one of AMD’s official document detailed a sixteen-core AMD Bulldozer-derived processor. If the company pursues this opportunity an goes for a 16-core chip featuring Steamroller or Excavator cores, its new chips based on the new micro-architecture will only be available in 2016 or even 2017.

While nothing is clear now, a good news is that AMD has not given up high-end microprocessors for servers and clients, the Opteron and the FX-series.

AMD did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: AMD, Athlon, Phenom, Sempron, Fusion, ATI, Radeon, Bulldozer, Piledriver, Steamroller, Excavator, x86


Comments currently: 26
Discussion started: 05/10/14 06:31:20 PM
Latest comment: 09/08/16 03:39:58 PM
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I'm glad he is back. He can make things happen as he did against Intel back when he was on with AMD.
7 0 [Posted by: fdunn  | Date: 05/10/14 06:31:20 PM]

yes but even with that said I doubt amd is going to shift gears from where they are now and focus more on the highend performance over their apu's, since their apu's have been the bread basket of amd's turn around. it would be dumb to do that anyhow since apu's seem to be the hot thing in consumer electronics, which is why intel has focused a lot more on the energy side of their apu's and a lot less on the performance side within the past few years. I mean don't get me wrong amd trying to compete again in the highend performance market is great, but there is only a small market for that in the consumer electronic market now. So while I see them putting more resources into their highend cpu's in the future then they have been. I don't see them putting a lot of resources in it like in years past because of the shifting market that has been ongoing for more power efficient apu's within the last few years.
2 0 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 05/10/14 06:55:48 PM]
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as we have seen, they design a high end cpu and integrate the technology in the APU combined with their high end gpu designs, first generation of apu was K10, second bulldozer and so on.

I don't see why the focus in a good standalone CPU may be a problem with their APUs, it is a side by side run that will benefit every computing unit made by AMD, like all the new gadgets from racing cars ending in the consumer ones to benefit the masses.
0 0 [Posted by: nitro912gr  | Date: 05/25/14 05:52:34 AM]
AMD will have to shift over to <span id="IL_AD3" class="IL_AD">High Performance</span> CPU's that will also be used for High Performance APU's. AMD currently has the best APU's thanks to its Radeon Graphics. What they need is better, lower power consuming CPU's.
Jim Keller is probably the only individual capable of completely designing something extremely power efficient and very fast. We are not talking about 10% to 15% boost in performance, we are talking about a revolutionary speed shift for AMD. Something in the range of 70% PLUS CPU multi-core performance versus AMD's best today.
He is in fact the greatest CPU Architect ever, based on people within Apple, Intel, IBM and Microsoft. They too admit to this basic fact.
0 0 [Posted by: ATI nsider  | Date: 02/13/15 02:46:03 AM]

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0 4 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 05/10/14 07:10:55 PM]
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Power8 has SMT also, 8 threads per core!

1 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 05/11/14 09:45:30 AM]

You can talk About x86 all day long, and who will lead with it, but the x86 domination of the server market will not last, it will be supplanted on the low end server market by ARMv8 Custom designs, and x86 in now in very deep dudu, with IBM's OpenPower foundation's ARM style Licensing of the Power8 IP. IBM has been very busy in the last few years seeding the market with advanced 14nm process IP, and Samsung has been a recipient of IBM assistance, through IBMs many technology foundations, and GlobalFoundries is also a beneficiary, indirectly, through its licesning of Samsung's 14nm process technology. If you want to talk about SMT on the high end, the Power/Power8 has Xeon beat on that and other metrics that count in the high end server sphere. With IBM getting out of the Chip foundry business(its world class research fabs not included) maybe Samsung, and Globalfoundries will provide the foundry capacity for IBM's Power8 server parts. We know where IBM makes its money, and hardware has not been IBM's main source of income, its is IBM's OS/Software/Services that bring home the bacon for IBM. The Power/Power8 IP/ISA is going to be Licensed out ARM Holdings style, and IBM will benifit from this by being able to have a steady supply of competitively low priced Power8 parts, to go in IBM's server products, IBM is losing money on hardware, so it is strategically seeding the market with Power IP, and fab Process IP, and hoping for the ARM style economy of scale to take place around its Power/Power8 ISA/IP and CPU Power8 parts.

This is equivalent to what IBM did in requiring Intel to Cross-License the x86 16/32 bit ISA to AMD and Others, way back when the PC was the IBM PC. Power8 eats Xeon for lunch, and if AMD, Nvidia, Samsung, Others, can get licensing access to Power8, and it is up for licensing, then Intel is danger of losing relevance in the server market, as x86 is rivaled By Power/Power8 in performence. It is good that AMD will get its x86 house in order, and AMD will be in the ARM/ARMv8 ISA camp also, but AMD needs to get in the Power8 camp most of all, and Nvidia is already there and Integrating its GPU IP, as an accelerator for IBM's server parts. AMD needs to be more than ARM and x86, especially where its SeaMicro server division in concerned, and servers make a great deal of money, and AMD needs Power8 for its SeaMicro server offerings, as well as SeaMicro's other offerings, Opteron(ARMv8, x86), and strangly enough Xeon too, SeaMicro offers Xeon options for its servers. AMD needs to forget forever just being a one ISA, company, as That will be Intel's downfall, But AMD get ARM and Power8 to go along with your x86, and have it all.

NOTE: Power/Power8 Is NOT to be confused with PowerPC!
4 3 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 05/10/14 09:07:56 PM]
- collapse thread

I want what you're smoking. ARM taking over the server market is a fantasy. It will have its place as every CPU architecture does, but when customers want power they will go with x86. Now that Intel is heavily focusing on power consumption things are going to get better for them.

ARM, SPARC, POWER, and all the others require a massive effort from a software standpoint to make them functional. You can debate which architecture is better all you want at the end of the day, but if you don't have the software to back it up it's a paperweight of specs.

With massive delays on their current Bulldozer architecture and successors they already did what they said. Compete they care not. Until we see otherwise. Highly doubt Excavator is going to shake up the market at this point and 2016/17 is too far away. Intel plans 3 generations out. We've known about Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake, and Skyview since Sandy Bridge dropped.
2 4 [Posted by: Bruce Regael  | Date: 05/11/14 11:47:44 AM]
The "massive effort" to which you refer to is mostly a recompile, and is trivial. None of those architectures are particularly new or novel, and have been supported by linux for ages. Most server workloads do not require single threaded performance, or depend on x86 in any way.

It isn't about which architecture is better, but freedom from the abuses of a monopolist. Options from ARM and OpenPower will be embraced, and much of the server market abandoning x86 would be welcome and well deserved. It would be best if Intel was merely another competing fab, allowing architectures to thrive on their merit alone.

Intel may excel at fabrication, but they are still bound by the laws of physics. Out of order hardware consumes significant power, and removing that removes Intel's performance advantage. Similarly, wider ARMv8 cores will lose some of their power advantage, but without the burden of x86 and obscene Intel markups, they should still be more than competitive.

Longer term, I look forward to conventional CISC/RISC being antiquated by the Mill Architecture. It offers such a multitude of clear architectural advantages that it (or something like it) feels like an inevitability. If nothing else, it is a reminder that the evolution of architecture is not finished, and that far from being irrelevant, it can enable dramatic improvements in software quality as well.
3 1 [Posted by: x  | Date: 05/12/14 12:12:30 AM]
You Are not reading what I wrote! ARM custom ISA based SKUs will be doing web page serving, and other server workloads that do not need high powered analytics ability, The Power8s will be doing the high powered analytics part of the equation, in the new mixed CPU/ISA server systems that Google and others are designing!

With ARM and Power/Power8 in the server room, there will not be as much need for Intel's high priced brand of x86, and that will leave AMD the more attractive(in price) choice for any server workloads that may benifit from x86. The Power8 CPUs, that will come from any company the licenses the Power8 ISA/IP from IBM, will far and away beat Xeon in High end data analytics, at a larger economy of scale, an Arm Holdings like licensed IP business model economy of scale(low price), built around Power/Power8. With everyone and anyone able to license IBM's Power8, and sell it at a much lower price point than IBM could, how long do you think that it would take the Samsungs of the world to begin producing low cost Power8, and server/big data companies(Google et all) will switch to power8 on the high side, and ARM on the low side. The utility of using servers based on different CPU ISAs more closely matched to the workloads at hand, is the next big innovation in the server market, and with Power8 at commodity prices, like ARM is produced at commodity prices in the mobile market, the x86 only ISA market, is a thing of the past.
2 1 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 05/12/14 12:24:17 PM]
In 15 years.. sure.. tomorrow. NOPE, next year NOPE, 5 years.. NOPE x86 will wind down, but not hit that sub50% market for at least 8+ years. it costs to much money to move code from x86 to anything else.
1 3 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 05/14/14 02:10:09 PM]
x86 will wind down fast, if everybody and any body licenses the Power8 IP/ISA from IBM, and they will, to remain competative in the high end server market, where Linux/red hat/Debian/others are already ported and the open stack software is up and running. Linux/Linux VMs and the LAMP software stack is the major software stack in the server/big data market. Red Hat on power7, and now Power8. Red Hat and SUSE, and many others. Google has motherboards developed for Power8, and probably some fab space lined up/contracted out, along with other OpenPower Foundation members. AMD will get some Power8 if that's what SeaMicro's(owned by AMD) customers want. AMD will sale ARM, x86, and be behind if they do not get a Power8 license and go for the triple play, and they are not fools, Power8 eats x86 is the server room. With all those Samsungs of the world getting their hands on a more powerfull ISA/IP than x86, those open hardware based Google, and Facebook server farms can swap and drop ISAs in a New York nanosecond, when they can get Power8 from multiple suppliers, at commodity prices, no Intel highway robbery Xeons will stand a chance. Things wind down much faster in the multi-billion dollar server/cloud business if the Price/performence ratio says big gigabucks will be saved, x86 will get 86ed if the bean counters say No Bean Soup For You, Xeon!
0 1 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 05/14/14 08:13:40 PM]

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2 6 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 05/11/14 06:40:47 AM]

AMD don't wanna be revealing the new architecture in late 2015 but progressively rolling it out every 6 months for their CPU portion of the APU and get this dam single & multithread problem solved.
0 0 [Posted by: albert89  | Date: 05/12/14 08:44:18 AM]
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Excavator will be the last iteration trying to sort out single threaded performance, but what this is essentially admitting is that the CMT design of bulldozer is just fundamentally flawed and that they will head in a new direction that does not have the bottlenecking flaw built in.
0 0 [Posted by: KeyBoardG  | Date: 05/12/14 09:43:13 AM]

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0 4 [Posted by: amdzorz  | Date: 05/14/14 02:11:32 PM]
- collapse thread

Actually it is even worse: P4 was hotter but at least almost eaqually fast.
Bulldozer was hotter and way slower, and had way higher production cost (die-area) with a way older process.
1 0 [Posted by: Rollora  | Date: 05/26/14 07:08:17 PM]
amd piledriver cpus don't go over 45-55C with the stock cooler.. my fx 6300 doesn't go over 52C on full load with p95, while my i5 3570k reaches 70-80C with the stock cooler... and the intel stock cooler is better than amd's fx 6300 stock cooler.
0 0 [Posted by: Crazy Psycho  | Date: 09/01/14 05:11:22 AM]

Waiting desperately for AMD to get back to the game and make something real good in terms of PC in order to finally throw away this Intel Core shit from my life.

And I know there are people waiting for some more consistent tablets running Windows so AMD should create a solution in this niche, I mean a new AMD APU with great mobile attributes for x86.
0 0 [Posted by: Sby  | Date: 05/23/14 12:41:21 AM]

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time

Intel: NetBurst....and now i5/i7

AMD: Bulldozer...and then...hopefully something good! :--)

I agree with the general sentiment here though: Power8, ARM, maybe even MIPS or other RISC - an increase in diversity and competition can only be good for consumers.
0 1 [Posted by: GlenWalker  | Date: 06/02/14 04:57:10 AM]

Ok I've got to admit I'm curious about the different CPU architectures. ARM, AMD & Intel + the rest of the world. So which is the best to handle say the windows OS ?
0 0 [Posted by: albert89  | Date: 06/18/14 09:24:34 AM]


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