updated 06:10 pm EST, Wed November 11, 2009
AMD plans unified CPU/GPU by 2011
AMD in its annual analyst event provided details of some of its future processors and platforms. The highlight for the semiconductor firm is "Bulldozer," a major revision for both desktops and notebooks that should be much more efficient at multithreaded codethan existing designs. It will be particularly optimized for pairing with graphics chipsets and will be supplemented by "Bobcat," a variant of Bulldozer tailored to ultraportables.
Most technical details aren't available, but the first implementation of Bulldozer should be "Zambezi," an eight-core processor for high-end but mainstream desktops that should ship the same year.
Also coming is "Llano," another 2011 platform for both notebooks and desktops. The design will be the first to fully match up with AMD's Fusion strategy and will integrate a fast graphics core into the main processor. An ultraportable variant based partly on Bobcat, "Brazos," is also due that year.
Shorter-term plans for 2010 have been reinforced and will focus on notebooks with "Danube;" it will represent AMD's first quad-core mobile processor and, in certain models, should last for up to eight hours on battery. "Nile" will be the third generation of the ultraportable platform used by the Athlon Neo and should net seven hours of runtime on a charge.
The 2010 desktop line is more publicly known and hinges on "Leo," which AMD hopes will be the first platform with a six-core desktop processor. The fastest should be the previously well-publicized "Magny-Cours" chip, which will add eight- and 12-core Opterons to servers and workstations.
Intel's first non-server six-core processors aren't due to arrive until its 32nm Westmere-based chips come online in early 2010, when they may initially be limited to Xeons in Mac Pros. However, these should be quickly followed by Core i9 processors for regular users. The chip developer has in recent years beaten AMD in the mobile realm by being the first to offer mobile quad-core and very efficient processors like Atom and the CULV range.