AMD Unveils Bulldozer, Bobcat Microprocessor Details

The two designs will be integral to the chip maker's next-generation processors that combine the CPU and graphics cores on a single die.
Advanced Micro Devices has released details of two new core designs that will be key parts of the company's next-generation processors that combine the CPU and graphics cores on a single die.

The new core designs, codenamed Bulldozer and Bobcat, are scheduled for release next year within the new combo chips AMD calls accelerated processing units, or APUs. Bulldozer is aimed at high-performance desktops, workstations and servers, while Bobcat is targeted at low-power laptops and small form-factor desktops. AMD released technical details of the upcoming processors Tuesday at the Hot Chops conference at Stanford University.

AMD's new x86 cores are expected to be a company milestone in chip performance as it evolves from a design and manufacturing company to a design-only firm. AMD spun off its manufacturing operation last year into a new company called GlobalFoundries through a partnership with Advanced Technology Investment Co., which was formed by the Abu Dhabi government.

Bulldozer is built on a 32-nanometer manufacturing process. The core is based on a new approach to multithreaded computing that "balances dedicated and shared compute resources to provide a highly compact, high core-count design that is easily replicated on a chip for performance scaling," AMD said in describing one of the new core's highlights.

Bulldozer is the CPU piece of AMD's Fusion products set for release next year. Fusion is the marketing term AMD uses in referring to its next-generation APUs. So far, AMD has committed to offering a 16-core Bulldozer-based server processor codenamed Interlagos, an eight-core server processor codenamed Valencia and an eight-core client processor codenamed Zambezi.

The Bobcat CPU, on the other hand, will be used in APUs targeted at thin-and-light laptops, which require low-power processors. AMD claims the 32-nm Bobcat is capable of powering mobile devices at the sub-one-watt level and can deliver 90% of mainstream PC performance in half the area. Bobcat will first appear in an APU code-named Ontario.


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