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.
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.
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.
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.