by Anton Shilov
11/03/2010 | 01:25 PM
Advanced Micro Devices recently released its conceptual "what if" server roadmap for the next several years or more. Apparently, according to this Fusion plan, the company's next-generation server platform will not only support both Bulldozer and Bulldozer NG central processing units (CPUs), but will also "fuse" microprocessors with input/output controllers, essentially killing the market of server core-logic. In addition, in three to four years server chips will feature heterogeneous cores.
The upcoming Bulldozer micro-architecture from AMD will be the base for the company's servers chips for many years. But the company sees its future not only from a CPU micro-architecture perspective, but wants to gradually integrate more and more functionality into its chips. the holy grail of such integration will be heterogeneous multi-core microprocessors that will contain both x86 processing cores as well as high-performance stream-processors akin to those found inside graphics processing units (GPUs).
A slide from an AMD presentation revealed at WoldhostingDays 2010
AMD's forthcoming Bulldozer microprocessors for servers - code-named Interlagos and Valencia - are projected to hit the market in the second half of 2011, a little later than originally expected, and will be drop-in compatible with the current G34/C32 server platforms that utilize various AMD chipsets.
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. To fulfill the plan, AMD will need to do a lot of work in terms of low-latency/high-speed internal interconnections within chips as well as massively reduce power consumption of all types of compute engines. When does AMD reach its holy grail? Nobody knows for sure, even AMD.