AMD Ships Bulldozer for Servers, Desktops to Follow in Q4by Anand Lal Shimpi on September 8, 2011 10:50 AM EST
Yesterday AMD announced that it had begun revenue shipments of the first Bulldozer processors for servers. More specifically AMD is referring to its Interlagos CPU which features two Bulldozer die on a single multi-chip-module package. A single Interlagos CPU features 16 integer cores (8 FP cores) and will work in existing AMD Opteron 6100 series platforms. AMD mentioned that the production version of Interlagos was ready in August, the past weeks have simply been used for testing and validation.
What about the Socket-AM3+ version of Bulldozer? AMD mentioned that it will be shipping Zambezi processors before the end of September and is "tracking to an expected Q4 launch and availability for those parts". Why the lag between server and desktop parts? A look at Bulldozer's architecture reveals that it's clearly aimed at servers - addressing that market first makes the most sense. Secondly, AMD's Opteron parts have traditionally run at much lower frequencies than their desktop counterparts. It's always easier to push out a lower clocked part than to push the envelope of the design and process. Finally, it looks like the desktop part went through one more stepping (perhaps related to clock speed?) than Interlagos which pushed back its launch.
With AMD saying that Zambezi will ship in September but launch in Q4 it's safe to say that rumors of a September launch date aren't true. Q4 encompasses October, November and December. My money is on an early-to-mid Q4 launch.
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Beenthere - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkTo many these are just new chippies but in reality they are a new architecture and a major fundamental change in X86 CPU design, all for the better. I can't wait to start flogging a Zambezi system.
tipoo - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkThis is really their first ground-up architecture since 1999, with K7. Everyone says K8, but that was still based on K7 despite how huge it was. So 12 years since something like Bulldozer. AMD is really betting the barn on this, I hope its competitive!
B3an - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkIt's embarrassing that AMD come out with so few big architecture changes. They need to do a way better job at competing and i doubt Bulldozer will even match Sandy Bridge clock for clock. Theres so little competition in the high-end and it's just plain annoying now as it's hurting consumers.
tipoo - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkWell Intel is using an architecture that they've built upon from the Pentium M in 2003, so AMD's count isn't "embarrassing". I know what you mean about performance though.
JarredWalton - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkNot really... Core 2 went to 4-issue and reworked the functional units, branch prediction, pipelines, etc. It was certainly a new architecture, even if it "learned" from the successes of Pentium M. The Core i-series was also a largely new architecture, bringing back Hyper-Threading and changing the caching structure, along with adding some new instructions, reworking pipelines, etc. To pretend that those are using the same base architecture as Pentium M is a joke. So for Intel we've gone from the P6 (Pentium Pro through Pentium III) to Netburst to Core to Core-i as the major architectures in the past ~15 years.
For AMD in that same span, we had K6, K7, K8 (sort of -- it's basically K7 with an integrated memory controller, which really isn't a new architecture), and then K10 (which is still essentially the same architecture as earlier, only refined). I'd liken K7 to K8 to K10 as being quite similar in principal to the Conroe to Allendale to Wolfdale plus quad-core Kentsfield and Yorkfield. There are changes with every one of those transitions, and even with K10 you have K10, K10.5, and different processes.
If I look at the architectures from a high level, AMD started with a good design on K7 and has continued to use it effectively. Intel on the other hand has had some radical new architectures, but some worked better than others in practice. Even Netburst was effective for what it did -- Pentium 4 chips outperformed Athlon XP chips in most tasks, but they cost more and used more power. It was only with K8 that AMD could clearly beat Netburst, and they did so effectively until Conroe entered the picture.
JonnyDough - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkEmbarrassing? Hardly. It just goes to show that they've designed their chips very well and have been able to focus on business management, process, horizontal/vertical integration, and all without having to run back to the drawing board too much. Intel was borrowing things from AMD, remember all the lawsuits or were you absent the last decade? I'm not sure about what "little competition" you are speaking of, CPU prices are at an all time low and even a Sempron can play most older games. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. You can get a quad core Phenom II or one of the new APUs that will do everything you are likely to ask except make coffee, a solid state disk now at $1 a GB (compare that with original HDDs that didn't even have a GB and cost about a grand), super cheap DDR3 memory, Windows 7 that isn't $200 like XP was (the best yet), a solid ATX board for $130, and very powerful discreet low-power graphics for $100-200 and you might want to rethink "there's no competition" again. Obviously, there is. Maybe you should take all your brains and start up a tech company to compete with Intel, which happens to be about 10X the size of AMD. :)
Mr Perfect - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkI'm sure he meant no competition in the high end space(Anandtech readers generally forget the entry and midrange markets). AMD has nice bang-for-the-buck chips, but they didn't have a high end part to compete with socket 1366.
redraider89 - Friday, September 9, 2011 - link"i doubt Bulldozer will even match Sandy Bridge clock for clock."
You know, anyone can say I doubt this or I doubt that and it not be based on anything. If you doubt it, you need to have a concrete reason. It's best to not to act like you are making an informed opinion when there is not any thing to back it up. I'm just tired of people making pessimistic comments based on nothing.
silverblue - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkCan't say I'm too surprised to see the server part first or a desktop part delay. I did hear of another stepping (C0?) but I don't think anyone cares except for one thing - get it out already!
And, to preempt the trolls (you know who you are), if Bulldozer is competitive then it should mean cheaper Intel CPUs. Win-win.
hechacker1 - Thursday, September 8, 2011 - linkNow let's see some benchmarks of the server parts. I'm sure we can extrapolate potential desktop performance from that.