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AMD: Ready for a comeback

Posted: 07 Feb 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CPU? embedded processor? reference design?

AMD demoed three tablet wins using its existing Zacate processor, two from Acer and one from Taiwan's MSI. All three were relatively thick systems shown running a range of Android 4.0 and Windows 7 and 8 OSes.

Rounding out the 2013 client processor road map, AMD will roll out two other 28 nm parts. Kaveri is a high end notebook/desktop chip using a new version of AMD's Bulldozer core called Steamroller; Kabini is a mainstream notebook chip using the Jaguar core. Both will also include versions of AMD's next-generation 28nm graphics core.

AMD's server road map looks sketchy, limited to 32nm parts shipping mainly this year.

It is rolling out this year lower-end versions of its 16-core Interlagos. Later, it will debut versions for the same CPU sockets upgraded with a new core called Piledriver. Interestingly, the 32nm Piledriver core does not appear on the client road map where parts are quickly shifting to 28nm technology.

Nevertheless, Su promised disruptive server products based on targeting specific workloads in the fragmenting data center market with integrated markets. "It is not one size fits all and that plays into our strength," she said.

In graphics, AMD is already shipping its first 28nm chip, the Radeon HD 7970. It plans to ship a follow-on version later this year and another new 28 nm graphics core in 2013.

The company is anticipating significant growth in the gaming segment in 2012. It's not clear if that's because it expects to win share in traditional PCs with the new high end graphics chips or has a new design win in the console market that could be shipping in the holiday season.

What is clear is AMD is putting graphics into new process technologies first, recognizing it as the sector where it has a performance advantage over both Intel and Nvidia.

In terms of x86 cores, AMD showed a road map where today's Bulldozer is followed by Piledriver, Steamroller and Excavator, but it gave no details on the architecture or time frame for those cores. Presumably each core is targeted to a new process node with Excavator geared for a 20 nm bulk or SOI technology that AMD has yet to choose.

AMD will more aggressively market its processors at select embedded markets, especially ones that can use its graphics, Su said. She called out digital signage, medical imaging, gaming and thin clients as likely targets.

Trinity design

Orange = 28nm, Blue = 32nm, Green = 40nm

32nm offerings

It's all 32nm on a mainly 2012-focused server road map.

High-end cores

Sketchy details for AMD's high-end core futures.

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