AMD’s CPU Roadmap, 2008-2011
While speaking at their annual financial analyst day today, AMD provided members of the press a glimpse of their latest CPU and GPU roadmaps. AMD’s GPU update was rather slim, with the company reiterating previously disclosed guidance from CEATEC
for next year: DirectX 11 and 40-nm are all on tap for release with their next-generation RV870 GPU in 2009.
Because these details were already disclosed last month in Japan, the real news wasn’t made in graphics, rather AMD has made sweeping changes to their CPU roadmap. The following chart quickly summarizes the changes:
As you can see, AMD has totally reworked their mobile CPU roadmap, with four new cores slated for release between now and the end of 2010, “Caspian”, “Conesus”, “Champlain”, and “Geneva”. The desktop roadmap is dominated by Deneb, which we now know has been officially branded as Phenom II. Then in 2011, AMD plans to introduce Orochi for high-end desktops as well as their first CPU-GPU hybrid processors (AMD refers to them as APUs or accelerated processing units) that combine traditional CPU processing with graphics duties. These processors are codenamed “Llano” and “Ontario”.
Previously AMD’s roadmap indicated we’d see the first CPU-GPU APUs in 2009 with the introduction of their Swift processors. At the time of AMD’s ATI acquisition in 2006, the company made the case that their 45-nm manufacturing process was the right time for the CPU to gain graphics functionality, now the company feels that the tech isn’t feasible until they shrink to 32-nm with Llano and Ontario, with the Swift core disappearing entirely from AMD’s new roadmap.
Until we see the introduction of the first APUs however, AMD plans to service the mobile segment with more conventional 45-nm processors.
Up first will be Caspian, Conesus, and Huron, all slated to be introduced in the second half of 2009.
Caspian is AMD’s solution for mainstream notebooks. Like today’s Griffin-based Turion X2 CPUs, the Caspian core will feature two processing cores with 2MB of cache and DDR2 memory. Unfortunately AMD wouldn’t provide further details on Caspian’s architecture (i.e. is the core simply a die-shrink of Griffin or are its origins based on Phenom II), when asked the company declined to answer the question. However, the “S1G3” (socket 1 generation 3) designation in the second chart implies that it’s definitely more advanced than just a simple die-shrink of Griffin, although it may not be quite as complex as Phenom II to keep power consumption and die size down.
Caspian will ship with AMD’s next-generation Tigris platform, which replaces today’s Puma. Tigris will feature a new RS880M North Bridge + SB710 South Bridge. Once again AMD wasn’t specific on details when it comes to RS880M, so we don’t know if it’s derived from RV770 or RV870 technology. AMD also expects manufacturers to offer Tigris-based notebooks with discrete graphics, presumably using upcoming Mobility Radeon 4000 parts.
Moving further down the rung, for the ultraportable/mini-notebook (netbook) segment, AMD plans to offer Conesus in 2H’09. Yesterday, rumors were swirling that AMD would offer a CPU to rival Intel’s Atom CPU. Today AMD reiterated their position on the topic: NO! The company still feels consumers want a more fully-fledged notebook experience with no compromises; as anyone who has tried to seriously game or encode a video on a netbook can tell you, Intel’s Atom CPU really isn’t up to the task for these duties. Rather than offer a dedicated CPU for the netbook segment, AMD plans to counter with lower priced ultraportable systems based around Conesus and Huron.
Conesus is a dual-core part with 1MB of cache and DDR2, while Huron is a single-core CPU. Conesus will rely on AMD’s upcoming Congo platform, which consists of RS780M + SB710 South Bridge, while Huron will ship with Yukon, which will utilize RS690E + SB600. To minimize power consumption we’d guess that these chipsets will be built using TSMC’s 40-nm manufacturing process, although AMD wouldn’t provide specifics on that topic either.