AMD reveals Barcelona performance, future plans

AMD held a four-hour presentation for analysts today during which it revealed a fair amount of new information about its upcoming Barcelona and Phenom processors as well as their successors. To begin with, AMD stated that production wafers of Barcelona are out and yields are “ahead of plan.” The new Opterons are still on track to roll out later this quarter, just as AMD said back in June. That update isn’t exactly earth-shaking, but AMD had much more in store, including a new sneak peak at Barcelona performance. AMD said a 2GHz Barcelona gets a 28.7% higher score than an Intel Xeon E5345 at 2.33GHz in SPECfp_rate2006.

AMD still has no intention of releasing Barcelona chips clocked higher than 2GHz before the fourth quarter of this year. The company says the combination of low-power Barcelonas clocked at up to 1.9GHz and regular Barcelonas at up to 2GHz should take care of 94% of the market at launch, and that it will address the remaining 6% of shipments with Barcelonas running at “2.3GHz and above” in the fourth quarter. To convince those doubting its ability to scale to higher clock speeds, AMD showed off a desktop system powered by a quad-core chip (presumably of the Phenom type) running at a cool 3GHz and outfitted with three Radeon HD 2900 cards. The machine ran a Call of Juarez demo loop, although unfortunately, no benchmark numbers were provided.


Source: AMD.

Once Barcelona finally rolls out, AMD has no intention of twiddling its thumbs. That sentiment was exemplified by a roadmap the company showed depicting its server and workstation core launches for the next year and a half. Those upcoming cores will include Budapest, which will power future quad-core Socket AM2 Opterons, as well as Shanghai, Barcelona’s 45nm offspring. Budapest isn’t too exciting (think a server/workstation variant of Phenom) but Shanghai definitely is. The chip should be AMD’s first 45nm endeavor, and it’s still scheduled for mid-2008. Compared to Barcelona, it will pack 6MB of L3 cache and “continued [instruction per clock] improvements,” but it will fit into the same Socket F motherboards as existing dual-core Opterons.


Source: AMD.

One apparent side-effect of Socket F’s longevity is that both Barcelona and Shanghai will have three HyperTransport 1.0 links. We’ll have to wait until 2009 and AMD’s “Sandtiger” 45nm octal-core platform before HyperTransport 3.0 makes it into the multi-socket server space. Interestingly, AMD says Sandtiger will include new AMD-built chipsets, marking the company’s return to the server/workstation chipset space.

On the desktop front, AMD had a couple of roadmaps to share for upcoming performance and mainstream Athlon/Phenom platforms.


Source: AMD.

Unlike Barcelona and Shanghai, Phenom chips will enjoy HyperTransport 3.0 support from the start courtesy of the new “AM2+” socket and AMD’s RD700-series chipsets. (Other chipset makers are bound to produce HT3.0-compatible offerings, of course.) AMD also has 45nm Phenoms with 6MB L3 caches planned for 2008. Those processors will be accompanied by new R700-series graphics processors, which will have “DirectX 10+” support and will be based on 55nm process technology. It looks like support for DDR3 memory—be it on the desktop or in the server/workstation markets—isn’t part of AMD’s plans for 2008, however.

Comments closed
    • ACS
    • 12 years ago

    One thing that everyone seems to be overlooking with the opteron vs. the xeon is:

    Part of the reason AMD is not attempting to reach higher than 2Ghz right now is power consumption. If their CPU is out-performing the competition at a lower clock speed. Then they can work more closely on perfecting it and making it more server safe. Take into account that with a lower consumption of power, they can also reduce heat, which in turn increases CPU life. Remember, stability is far more important in server construction than speed. A server is no good to any company if it fails and has to be down for any amount of time. Also take into account, that regardless of how fast a server is, it still is restrained by network bottlenecks and bandwidth, along with being limited by the connecting workstation/pc.

    Absolute Computer Solutions, Inc.
    Andrew Sanders/ Owner

    • IntelMole
    • 12 years ago

    One thing that is often missed by the people who pander to “zomg Intel is @ 4 GHz already!” crowd is this:

    Given that they are already producing these as fast as they can to get some kind of inventory together, they’ve probably produced a million chips – including duds, previous samples and previous runs.

    In order to showcase the “amazing power of the Phenom processor” at 3 GHz, they need 1 processor out of that million.

    The chances are pretty high that of that million processors, one will run at 3 GHz and higher. You bet your bottom dollar that it’s the very latest stepping, with a ton of process tweaks, and even then they’re not exactly “common”.

    In summary, there are lies, lies, statistics, and presentations.

    • Illissius
    • 12 years ago

    “AMD said a 2GHz Barcelona gets a 28.7% higher score than an Intel Xeon E5345 at 2.33GHz in SPECfp_rate2006.”

    With some clever multiplication, this appears to translate into almost exactly 50% better IPC… in that benchmark.

    • Ryu Connor
    • 12 years ago

    q[

    • SVB
    • 12 years ago

    Am I missing something here? I would have thought a demo of a 3GHz quad core would have everyone drooling. Most of the reaction seems to be a big yawn.

      • accord1999
      • 12 years ago

      Maybe if AMD provided a few relevant benchmarks…

    • melvz90
    • 12 years ago

    It’s not just a shrink… there are core enhancements too… besides Intel isn’t just gonna slack around… for all we know, Intel may already have cooked up something by the time these products are launched by AMD.

    • evermore
    • 12 years ago

    100MHz is all that separates “low-power” from a standard CPU? They couldn’t squeeze that extra 100MHz in without breaking the voltage bank?

    • herothezero
    • 12 years ago

    As ever, the issue is whether or not DAAMIT can really execute this plan effectively.

    • packfan_dave
    • 12 years ago

    I hate to summon Shintai’s ghost, but…

    y[

      • Voldenuit
      • 12 years ago

      y[

      • maroon1
      • 12 years ago

      AMD said that AMD is faster than Intel !! LOL!

      • CS_Phanatic
      • 12 years ago

      im not exactly the brightest when it comes to CPU tech, but i believe that an AMD chip only has 13 steps VS Intel’s 20+ steps. this means intel processors pump data thu its CPU quicker but it has more steps. AMD w/ less steps could perform as fast or faster than an Intel w/ more steps and higher clockspeed

      BTW, intel has been selling clockspeed as “true performance” for a long time. clockspeed isnt the only determining factor in performance.

    • zqw
    • 12 years ago

    Yawn, wake me for the hexadeca-cores. ๐Ÿ˜›

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    Since HT3.0 offers the option to split each link into 2x8b (rather than 1x16b), that means Sandtiger with its 4 ccHT links will be able to do directly-connected glueless 8S servers, for 32 cores (or more, if they go above quads at 45nm). With an IOMMU and nested page tables, that’s going to make for some pretty compelling server offerings, especially for IT depts looking at consolidation.

      • ew
      • 12 years ago

      Or 256 socket non-directly connected glueless servers. 1024 cores. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • tempeteduson
    • 12 years ago

    No mention of EE for Phenom X2 in 2008? I recall hearing about the GE-6×00 series chips (with 45W TDP) said to be appearing in Q1.

    • pluscard
    • 12 years ago

    AMD is saying 2ghz will take care of 94% of the market…

      • Shobai
      • 12 years ago

      Are you disagreeing?

      how many machines would you buy, compared to all the businesses etc that would buy? what sort of percentage are you talking here?

    • Spotpuff
    • 12 years ago

    I was expecting benchmark figures or something (real ones, not the simulated kind).

      • DaveIsFera
      • 12 years ago

      Ya, it was definitely a misleading title.

        • Spotpuff
        • 12 years ago

        Yeah I’m still trying to figure out what performance they unveiled. A performing computer? Weeee!

      • blastdoor
      • 12 years ago

      Indeed — it’s the same old benchmark they’ve been “unveiling” since last January — specfp_rate. Big deal. Opteron already beats Xeon on that one.

    • pluscard
    • 12 years ago

    Exciting stuff. Looks like Intels simple shrink won’t nearly be enough!

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      We’ll see.

      • NIKOLAS
      • 12 years ago

      How do you work this out?

      They have overclocked this chip to the buggery, an actual released 3.0Ghz version is nowhere in sight on any of their roadmaps.

      • flip-mode
      • 12 years ago

      Why would you say something like that before any concrete performance metrics are known? Then there’s price/performance metrics to contend with. The chip may even win on IPC but availability might be a huge problem; price might be a huge problem. So far all that we have are some power point slides, a screen grab of clock speed, and a picture of a heatsink fan. In spite of the popular phrase, it is entirely possible to have smoke without fire.

      Besides, the only thing that interests me is whose quad core gets below $150 first. AMD says 45 nano at mid-2008, but what does that mean – initial production starts, “shipping”, “volume production”, or parts on the shelf? Intel’s 45nm will be on the shelf before the new year. That gives Intel either a huge price advantage or a huge profit advantage; both bode ill for AMD’s well being.

      • tfp
      • 12 years ago

      Dude what the heck are you talking about, intels next chip isn’t JUST a shrink. Where the heck do you get your info?

    • Boissez
    • 12 years ago

    Wow a Phenom @ 3 ghz – that should give existing C2D/C2Q a run for their money (even OC’ed). But I doubt it will hold up against Penryn :-/

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      Only time will tell

      • Spotpuff
      • 12 years ago

      Yeah and a 3.4 GHz P4 will blow everything else out of the water too cause it’s FAST.

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