Leaked roadmap suggests no Steamroller desktop chips next year


— 12:45 PM on November 9, 2012

In August, AMD revealed the first nitty gritty details about Steamroller, the next version of its Bulldozer microarchitecture. Steamroller promises improvements in not only performance per clock, but also power efficiency. However, you may have to wait until 2014 to see the first chips based on the updated CPU design. Turkish site Donanim Haber has posted an official-looking roadmap suggesting that AMD's desktop processors will use current Piledriver cores through 2013. Piledriver debuted in AMD's Trinity APUs earlier this year and recently made its way to the FX family in a new chip dubbed Vishera. According to the roadmap, Vishera's replacement may not come until 2014.

AMD does have some new desktop chips in the works for next year, of course. The roadmap claims we'll see Richland, a new APU designed for Trinity's FM2 socket, in 2013. That chip will purportedly retain Trinity's Piledriver CPU cores but upgrade the integrated Radeon. Expect Richland's CPU and GPU components to cooperate more closely thanks to enhancements based on AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture, otherwise known as HSA.

HSA will also feature in Kabini, the next-gen replacement for AMD's low-power Brazos platform. Unlike Brazos 2.0, which sports the same Bobcat CPU cores as its predecessor, Kabini will be based on a new Jaguar microarchitecture. The roadmap says Kabini is due in 2013 in both socketed and SoC flavors. The system-on-a-chip will have an integrated platform hub, but it looks like the socketed version will not.

If the roadmap is legit, AMD's focus for next year appears to be on APUs rather than traditional CPUs. That makes a certain amount of sense given the shape of the market. The latest numbers from IHS iSuppli claim performance PCs make up just 6.2% of the desktop market, which is otherwise split evenly between mainstream and value systems at 46.9% each. Integrated graphics should be more prevalent on mainstream and value PCs, although IHS appears to characterize systems based largely on price. Performance PCs are typically $1,000 and up, mainstream ones are between $500 and $1,000, and value systems cost less than $500.

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