AMD: Delay of Desktop Bulldozer Does Not Affect Server Plans

Sixteen-Core AMD Opteron "Interlagos" Still Due in Q3 2011

by Anton Shilov
06/02/2011 | 12:27 PM

Although Advanced Micro Devices had to delay its high-performance desktop FX-series microprocessors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture till September, the company is still on-track to ship its sixteen-core AMD Opteron processor code-named Interlagos in the third quarter of the year. While the high-end server roadmap is not affected by the delay, the destiny of mainstream eight-core Valencia server chip is not completely clear.


"We are still on track to ship [AMD Opteron code-named] Interlagos in Q3. We have not provided guidance to date on when specific models such as HE or SE will ship," said Phil Huges, a spokesman for AMD, on Thursday.

AMD Opteron 6200-series central processing units (CPUs) code-named Interlagos will have twelve or sixteen cores based on Bulldozer micro-architecture be drop-in compatible with existing G34 multi-socket server platforms and will bring a number of enhancements. In particular, the new microprocessors will sport a new memory controller with higher bandwidth, dynamic overclocking technology and some other improvements. Just like the predecessor, the Interlagos is a multi-chip-module that incorporated two code-named Valencia dies that contain up to eight cores.

Given the fact that multi-core server microprocessors do not require high clock-speeds, while AMD, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, cannot increase frequencies of its Bulldozer chips above certain levels, it is not surprising that the chip designer can easily start to sell twelve- and sixteen-core flavours for servers despite of postponement of the desktop products on the same design. The spokesman for AMD also declined to elaborate whether eight-core Opteron "Valencia" processors will be available in Q3 2011.

Being on-track with 16-core AMD Opteron "Interlagos" processors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture is crucial for AMD, whose server market share has been declining for many years now. The new Bulldozer micro-architecture is projected to increase performance significantly compared to the previous-generation K10.5, which is why the actual Opteron chips will be more competitive. AMD also cannot risk its reputation among server makers, who either have already started to pre-announce systems with Bulldozer microprocessors or to recommend the machines to their clients with estimated deliver dates. For example, Cray said back in May that its hybrid XK6 systems based on AMD Opteron 6200 "Interlagos" processors and Nvidia Tesla 2000-series compute boards would be available in the second half of this year.