AMD Demonstrates Highly-Anticipated Eight-Core Bulldozer Chip at Conference.

AMD Shows Off Zambezi Processor at Analyst Day, Confirms Q2 Launch

by Anton Shilov
11/09/2010 | 10:01 AM

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday demonstrated the operation of its highly-anticipated processor based on the long-awaited Bulldozer micro-architecture. The first ever live demonstration of the processor code-named Zambezi means that the company already has samples of the forthcoming central processing units (CPUs) that are stable enough to run operating system and certain applications.


Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD’s products group, demonstrated a system equipped with AMD's desktop processor code-named Zambezi and AMD's upcoming desktop graphics card Radeon HD 6900 (code-named Cayman). The system ran high-definition video and it was clear that the processor has eight x86 processing cores. Unfortunately, the company shared no actual performance estimates for the new processor and the demonstration itself, fairly speaking, was an easy task for a high-end processor that will cost from $300 and upwards.

Last week it was revealed by X-bit labs that first engineering samples of Zambezi chips that will be available for AMD's partners for testing will be released already in December, 2010. Production candidates should be ready by February 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.

It is noteworthy that AMD's Zambezi microprocessors made using 32nm silicon-on-insulator process technology by Globalfoundries will be available earlier than the company's code-named Llano chips that combine current-generation x86 cores with current-generation DirectX 11 graphics engine on the same piece of silicon.