Update 1: AMD gets more aggressive, announces next-gen CPU cores

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Update 1: AMD gets more aggressive, announces next-gen CPU cores

Sunnyvale (CA) – There are very few options for AMD other than moving into the offense these days: The company’s chief technology officer today revealed at a meeting with analysts more details about the first Fusion processor “Falcon” as well as processors succeeding Barcelona: Bulldozer and Bobcat. And: The company plans to catch up with Intel’s production process in 2009.

In Pictures: AMD’s updated roadmap (07/26/2007) …If there is change going on at AMD that is visible to the outside world then it clearly is a decisively more open communication about future products. We have long waited for this change, which began to show up first at the firm’s CTO Summit a few weeks ago and today continued at the company’s financial analyst meeting. The company released code-names as well as early product features that provide an outlook from today to 2009 and early 2010. So let’s have a look.

Mobile and ultra-mobile

This segment is targeted by AMD with processors that will consume between 1 and 10 watts of power in the ultra-mobile segment as well as slightly more for notebooks. We already knew that 2007 will see a refresh of the Kite platform, which consists of Turion X2 processors with  virtualization support, the M960 (SB600) chipset and ATI Radeon X1200 series graphics (or dedicated graphics processors) such as the Mobility Radeon HD. In 2008, AMD will release the Puma platform with the Griffin dual-core CPU, in combination with the RS780M chipset and the SB700 southbridge, which will support DX10 in integrated graphics. There will also be a new 55 nm discrete mobile GPU, codenamed M8X.

We have been waiting for more details on Fusion and the first offspring of this integrated CPU/GPU approach will be Falcon, a quad-core mobile processor based on the “Bulldozer” core with DX10 or DX11 capability.

In the ultra-mobile segment, AMD will offer the Bobcat processor, which will be offered against Intel’s Silverthorne CPU. Bobcat will aim to attract customers in the 1-10 watt segment, which includes products such as ultra mobile PCs or mobile Internet devices. AMD did not say when this CPU will be available.

Mainstream desktop 2007, 2008

The dual-core mainstream and entry-level segment will see the Pinwheel platform in 2007 (Athlon X2 CPU, Hypertransport 3, 690 chipset). The processor will carryover to 2008 into the Cartwheel platform with a 45 nm Athlon X2 in the second half of the year. The chip will integrate 1 MB L3 cache, run in combination with the RS700 chipset, support PCIe2 and is likely to be offered in PC systems with a 55 nm “DX10+” graphics processor.

Performance desktop 2007, 2008

The Barcelona-based Phenom processor will dominate AMD’s roadmap for performance desktops in 65 nm versions in 2007 and in a 45 nm version in 2008. The 2007 Spider platform will include dual-cores (X2) and quad-cores (X4) with 2 MB L3 cache, while the 2008 Hardcastle platform will see an upgrade of the processor to 45 nm and 6 MB L3 cache.

Concerns about the scalability of the upcoming Phenom processor were addressed by the company with a 3.0 GHz Phenom X4 CPU.

Server and desktop beyond 2008

Following Barcelona, AMD will release the Bulldozer core in 2009. The first server processor to be released with this core is code-named Sandtiger and will debut with 8 – 16 cores, according to AMD. This next-generation platform will include DirectConnect2, chipsets developed by AMD, HT3, four HT links, DD3 memory support, the recently announced G3 memory extender, as well as support for DDR3 memory modules.

Bulldozer will also make its way into mainstream and performance desktops in 2009.

For mainstream desktop systems, Copperhead will bring a “native quad-core” 32 nm processor in an AM3 package. This is particularly interesting, as AMD intends to release 32 nm CPUs only one year after the release of 45 nm chips to catch up with Intel, which also plans to release 32 nm processors in 2009. The Copperhead platform will be AMD’s first desktop platform to be compatible with DDR3 memory.

Also based on the Bulldozer core will be the Python platform, which will include a 32 nm Fusion-based processor in an AM3 package to replace Phenom.

Stay tuned for more information to come.