Three years ago AMD told me about two architectures that would be the future of the company: Bobcat and Bulldozer. Here are some excerpts from an article I wrote after that meeting with AMD.

“Due out in the first half of 2009, AMD's Bulldozer core is the true revolutionary successor to the K8 architecture. While Barcelona and Shanghai are both evolutionary improvements to the current core, Bulldozer is the first ground-up redesign since the K7.”

“If Bulldozer is the architecture that will compete with Nehalem, Bobcat is what will compete with Silverthorne. Bobcat is yet another ground up design from AMD, also due out in the 2009 timeframe, but it will address a more power constrained portion of the market. Systems that require a 1 - 10W TDP will use Bobcat, while Bulldozer is limited to the 10 - 100W range (obviously with some overlap between the two). “

Well, 2009 didn’t happen. Nor will 2010. Bobcat is the closest with production in Q4 2010 and system availability in Q1 2011. Bulldozer is strictly 2011. The long road to a major redesign isn’t unusual and although we’re no where near the point of measuring performance of these parts, we’re getting closer.

AMD has Bobcat and Bulldozer silicon back in its labs and things apparently look good. Later today at Hot Chips 22, AMD will present further details on both of its next generation architectures. What we have here now is a sneak peak of what AMD is going to unveil at the conference later today.

The Three Chip Roadmap

While AMD is committed to a two architecture roadmap going forward (Bobcat and Bulldozer) we’ll see three fairly different chips addressing the various market segments in 2011.

Bobcat will do low end/low power (think netbooks and nettops), Llano will do mainstream notebooks (e.g. MacBook, HP Envy equivalent) and Bulldozer will be used for high end desktops and servers. Llano actually uses a Phenom II derived core so it’s technically a third architecture but I’d expect its market to eventually be split between Bobcat and Bulldozer based designs.

I’m going to start with Bobcat first as it’s the closest to production.

It’s an Out of Order Atom
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  • SuperiorSpecimen - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Let's see some competition outside of the price game! Reply
  • mrmojo1 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Awesome article, can't wait to see their release :) Should be very interesting! Reply
  • crawmm - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I drooled on my laptop reading this. Thank you, Anand. Good overview. And fun reading after a day of tedious (and mindless) work. Reply
  • lothar98 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    "In many ways the architecture looks to be on-par with what Intel has done with Nehalem/Westmere."

    I truly hope that this does not end up to be how things roll out. It has been far too long since we have seen good competition throughout the range of consumer CPU lineup. Currently we have options and competition in the mid-low end giving us exceptional bang for our buck. While one would never say you can get the best bang for your buck in the mid or high end everyone can still appreciate having options as well as getting value.
    Reply
  • Freddo - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Bobcat seems very interesting to me, I hope it won't take long until we see a good netbook with it, with good build quality (metal, no plastic toy), a HDMI port and 2GB RAM. Reply
  • Mike1111 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I'm wondering: what about AMD powered notebooks? And I don't mean netbooks or CULV notebooks. Looks like bulldozer won't come to notebooks until 2012, which would mean that AMD would most likely have to compete with Intel's 22nm Sandy Bridge successor, Ivy Bridge. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Llano APU, it's briefly mentioned. It's where we're at. Basically K10-based 4-core with integrated DX11 GPU. Better then today but not much of a competition. Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    The GPU in the is supposed to be at least 5x the speed of current IGP performance.

    Basically you get a "discrete" GPU for a price of IGP ...
    Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I can see Bobcat scaling upward in notebooks. It's multi-core capable, and is a fully-functional CPU. A quad core Bobcat with better-than-Intel graphics should be a very fulfilling product for notebooks in the mid-range, while providing good battery life (thank you, power gating). Anything above that could be handled by low-voltage Bulldozers as a premium offering. To me, that seems like a better solution than Intel's, where the Atom to Core increase is so severe. Reply
  • Kiijibari - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Ehh guys ...

    MMX is depracated in 64bit mode together with x87 and 3Dnow!:

    --------
    The x87, MMX, and 3DNow! instruction sets are deprecated in 64-bit modes. The instructions sets are still present for backward compatibility for 32-bit mode; however, to avoid compatibility issues in the future, their use in current and future projects is discouraged.
    --------
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee418798%2...

    Why on Earth should AMD build in 2 special MMX pipes in a brand new µarchitecture ?

    AMD just announced that they got rid of 3Dnow!, MMX pipes make no sense at all.

    You probably mean XOP, dont you ?
    Reply

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