SUNNYVALE, Calif. Ė Advanced Micro Devices has started shipping its Fusion processors that merge graphics and x86 cores on a single die. The company also rolled out at its annual analyst day its 2012 road map which includes 20-core server processors.
But the x86 core wars could end by 2013, predicted AMD fellow Chuck Moore told EE Times.
Clock rates of multicore processors are already trending down as engineers split the available power budget among more cores. Somewhere just north of 20 cores per chip, data rates will slow to something approaching 2 GHz and the core wars will end.
The next big step will be integrating I/O such as Ethernet into system-on-chip processors. In addition, both server and client systems will need these processors to be stacked with DRAM die to get optimal memory bandwidth and performance, Moore said.
AMD started shipping today its first production Fusion chips, said Rick Bergman, AMD's general manager of products. The 18W Zacate and 9W Ontario use one or two of AMD's new Bobcat cores and a DirectX 11 GPU core to serve a variety of desktops and notebooks.
The chips will enable systems with more than ten hours battery life show up in systems at CES in January, Bergman said.
The Llano processor which will use four older generation cores and a DX11 GPU will ship by June. Bergman showed it simultaneously running an HD video and DX11 game.
Bergman also demoed Zambezi, AMD's high-end desktop processor for 2011. The chip uses four or eight of AMD's new Bulldozer cores and a next-generation GPU called Cayman.
"This will be the system to have in 2011," Bergman said.
On the server road map, AMD will ship in 2011 Interlagos with eight to 16 Bulldozer cores, 4x Hypertransport and four DDR3 channels. In 2012 it plans Terramar, a 32nm server chip with up to 20 Bulldozer cores.
Zacate and Ontario are AMD's first Fusion chips.