AMD goes native with quad-core demo

AMD has demonstrated its ‘Barcelona’ native quad-core x86 server processor at its annual AMD Industry Analyst Forum.

AMD goes native with quad-core demo

The company recently unveiled the dual-CPU Quad FX platform, which comprises a pair of dual-core FX-70 parts and is AMD’s response to the Intel Core 2 QX6700 Extreme CPUs, which have four cores per part.

Intel’s offering in the server and workstation category is the new Xeon 5300 series. These, however are ‘dual die’ architecture (two separate dual-cores packaged together) as opposed to a native design with four cores sharing the same silicon substrate. The Barcelona design has four cores on a single die.

The significance of this ‘native’ design’ versus the packaged cores? AMD claims it’s a question of optimising bus communications and access to shared cache. The 65nm process-based quad-core parts will include 2MB of a new Level 3 cache, which will be shared by all the cores on the die.

Additionally, as AMD executives have previously outlined, the company’s ‘native’ design will be compatible with the existing Socket F (1207) architecture and share the same 95W thermal envelope. What this means, AMD’s Giuseppe Amato pointed out, is that there will be an easy route for organisations to scale up performance.

In the demo yesterday, reports AMD, a server powered by four Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors was shown using the full total of 16 cores. The software platform was the 64-bit Windows Server 2003.

Intel’s take on AMD’s ‘native’ approach is to cite a much reduced time to market (its quad-core parts are already available), improved yield and lower manufacturing cost for its approach of using two dual-core dies on one physical package. At IDF Fall this September, Intel’s Pat Gelsinger was adamant that the company’s approach was ‘the right way to do quad-core on 65nm’.

AMD is scheduling the introduction of Barcelona processors for the ‘second quarter of 2007’.

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