Summary: Wondering what AMD's got in store for the next 3 years in terms of new CPUs? If so you'll want to check out this article. Inside we've got AMD's latest CPU roadmap, with analysis of their upcoming desktop and mobile CPUs. Find out what AMD has in store for the future in this article!
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.
Also due in 2010 is Geneva. Geneva is a dual-core, lower power part with 2MB of cache and DDR3.
As we mentioned on the previous page, we’ll see the first APUs from AMD in 2011, a delay of roughly two years from AMD’s original plans due to their decision to wait for 32-nm before producing a CPU-GPU part. AMD actually expects to begin producing 32-nm parts in 2010, although the process won’t be ready for mass production until 2011. If the first 32-nm samples look good in 2010, it’s conceivable that Llano and Ontario could be introduced in the first half of 2011, although AMD wouldn’t provide anything specific here.
AMD’s desktop plans
Earlier this morning AMD revealed the brand name for their first 45-nm desktop CPUs based on their Deneb core, Phenom II. This afternoon AMD revealed one new nugget of info about Phenom II – it’s launching in early January at CES in Las Vegas alongside AMD’s Dragon platform.
This brings us to Dragon, AMD’s new platform for Phenom II. Apparently Dragon doesn’t refer to AMD’s next-generation RD890 chipset, but 700-series chipsets with AMD’s new SB750 South Bridge. RD890 may not appear until well into 2009, perhaps as late as the second half of next year.
For the mainstream desktop CPU segment AMD plans to offer Propos. Propos is a quad-core part with just 2MB of total cache.
According to AMD’s latest roadmap, both Deneb and Propos will serve as AMD’s primary desktop CPUs for 2009 and 2010. In our opinion this is an awfully conservative move on AMD’s part, particularly for 2010. Over that same time frame Intel is slated to offer Westmere (their 32-nm Nehalem refresh part) and Sandy Bridge, which is Intel’s next-generation CPU architecture beyond Nehalem. To put things in perspective, Deneb is expected to bring AMD on par with Intel’s Penryn processors when it comes to performance, so by the time AMD’s next-generation desktop core is ready in 2011, Intel could be two generations beyond them.
Bulldozer, now codenamed “Orochi”, could be a powerful processor when it arrives in 2011 though. AMD plans to outfit the processor with more than four cores and more than 8MB of cache. Little is known beyond that, although we do know it will utilize AMD’s 32-nm manufacturing process.
Combining a new manufacturing process with a new microarchitecture could be tricky for AMD. Both AMD and Intel have learned the hard way how difficult it can be pulling off a new architecture alone, and they’ve both also had their fair share of difficulties with rolling out a new manufacturing process, so if AMD can pull both off simultaneously with Orochi it would be quite a coup for the company. Our guess is Orochi must have some type of game-changing feature that needs 32-nm for it to be worth the risk for AMD to combine both in one processor.
If you’re a hardcore AMD enthusiast holding out for the return of the FX line and AMD’s CPU supremacy, chances are you’re going to be waiting quite a while. 2011 at the very earliest. AMD has repeatedly stated that Deneb is not a performance competitor with Intel’s latest Nehalem processors, instead it’s geared against Intel’s latest quad-core Core 2 CPUs.
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