AMD Envisions Microprocessors with More than Eight Cores

AMD Predicts 8+ Core Chips, Claims Higher IPC on Shanghai Processors

by Anton Shilov
04/08/2008 | 11:41 AM

Advanced Micro Devices was nearly a year late to market with its quad-core microprocessors compared to Intel Corp., but the firm seems to be optimistic about its roadmap execution going forward. The company says that its octa-core microprocessors are due in 2009, whereas chips with more than eight cores can be made thanks to AMD’s architecture.


Randy Allen, corporate vice president of server and workstation division at AMD, said in an interview that AMD’s new quad-core server processor made using 45nm process technology code-named Shanghai is due in the second half of 2008, whereas octa-core microprocessor code-named Montreal along with new socket G3 platform are set for release in 2009.

The vice president of the world’s second largest maker of x86 central processing units (CPUs) also said that Shanghai microprocessors will be able to offer higher instructions per clock (IPC) throughput compared to Barcelona, which should transform into higher overall performance per clock. Thanks to higher IPC and larger level-three cache (6MB instead of 2MB), the new processors are likely to offer considerably higher speed than existing quad-core chips by AMD.

Following this, Mr. Allen is reported to have said that he expected the demand for chips with cores beyond eight, especially in datacentres, and that AMD’s architecture would be able to expand to accommodate this, reports IT Week wed-site. However, AMD is not really looking forward to enable simultaneous multi-threading technology akin to Intel’s Hyper-Threading, at least with its server chips.

“It is very clear that most server workloads are multi-tasking, not really multi-threaded,” Mr. Allen is reported to have said.

But while the high-ranking executive of AMD seems to be optimistic both about quad-core Shanghai and regarding octa-core Montreal, the actual execution of the plans may be a hard task in the current situation of AMD.

Back in September ’07 Mr. Allen promised that in several months time the company would be able to increase clock-speeds of its quad-core server processors to 2.50GHz from 2.0GHz by December ’07. AMD has not announced any higher performance quad-core server chips since then. Moreover, the company managed to start shipments of 2.50GHz quad-core Phenom chips for desktops only a couple of weeks ago. The firm explained that it could not initiate production of higher-speed quad-core  chips in mid-Q1 since it had to reassign resources on development of more energy-efficient processors with four or three processing engines.

Recently AMD also said that it would reduce its workforce by 10% by the end of the third quarter of 2008. It is not completely clear how AMD plans to continue delivering new products in accordance with earlier announced roadmap while having fewer human resources.