London (England) – The Inquirer has posted a potential preview of what AMD’s Barcelona logo might look like. Sporting the traditional Opteron name, Barcelona is expect to ship at 1.9 GHz and 2.0 GHz exactly two weeks from today on September 10, 2007. Barcelona is the code-name for AMD’s native quad-core processor which, with new BIOS and motherboard support, will be able to independently clock CPU cores within its single package, thereby reducing power consumption. Barcelona is also AMD’s latest core redesign with internal changes to achieve greater compute parity with Intel’s Core 2 architecture.
The new logo is black with a variously shaded green/yellowish circle shown in semi-translucent 3D perspective. It has a type of gear looking appearance in that the inner portion of the circle has four “teeth.” If the logo proves authentic, it will be one of the few practical things we know about Barcelona due to an unusually tight-lipped AMD. Generally speaking, the two-week before launch timeframe usually sees several leaked benchmarks and pictures of the Barcelona in operation by third parties. So far with this launch the pre-reviews and views have been rather thin.
AMD has had troubled times with their 65nm process technology, Dirk Meyer revealed during the Technology Analyst Day 2007 event. AMD is working through these issues which have taken longer than expected to resolve. Barcelona was expected to hit the streets at 2.5 GHz. Due to the delays and problems with their 65nm technology, we will only see 1.9 GHz and 2.0 GHz part at lauch with 2.3 GHz special edition models expected by the end of the this year. AMD’s 65nm technology has also caused their current AMD65 architecture to also see clock issues. The fastest current AMD64 chip on 65nm technology is the 5000+ at 2.6 GHz and a 512 KB L2 cache per core. The 90nm CPUs are clocking as high as 3.2 GHz with the 6400+ and 1 MB L2 cache per core.
Much concern is growing over AMD’s ability to succeed with Barcelona. Many analysts are revisiting the significance of the native quad-core design which, unlike Intel’s current quad-core offering which uses two dual-core dies in a single package, offers a single die with four cores. There is little doubt that AMD needs Barcelona to succeed. And whereas a fancy new logo will not do it for them, the ability to follow-through on their architectural promises would. If AMD can continue to work out the issues with their 65nm process technology, achieving the originally planned 2.5 GHz clock speeds (which were initially due out several months before now), then Barcelona might just be the chip to carry them through.
Barcelona respresents AMD’s first major redesign of their AMD64 core since the original Opteron was released. It includes Independent Dynamic Core Technology and CoolCore support, which allows each processor to be clocked independently of the other cores and reduce power consumption/heat. Its power saving featuers also allow a dual-plane power system for its on-board memory controller and cores. It sports an additional HyperTransport channel allowing for 16-way glueless multi-processor support, a new 128-bit floating point support engine (up from previous 80-bits) which does require a source code recompile to use, support for advanced virtualization like Nested Paging and Tagged Translation Lookaside Buffers, as well as new shared L3 cache. Additional cache and memory architectural changes are also present for speed and throughput.
Intel’s quad-core processor was first released in November, 2006. AMD followed-up quickly with their QuadFX design, which was actually a dual-processor, dual-core system which achieved quad-core computing via a “Coherent HyperTransport” bus. Barcelona’s launch on September 10, 2007 will be AMD’s first true quad-core product. At 1.9 GHz and 2.0 GHz there is much speculation about how well it will be able to compete with Intel’s current products, as well as those 45nm products which Intel will ship later this year.