AMD unveils microprocessor strategy for 2009

Aside from the Barcelona and Phenom talk, one of the most interesting elements of AMD's Analyst Day presentation was regarding Bulldozer and Bobcat. The two aren't a duo of crime-fighting cartoon animals, but code names for two upcoming AMD processor cores aimed at different markets. Much like the "Silverthorne" processor being developed by Intel, AMD's Bobcat is a low-power core designed to bring the x86 instruction set into devices where specialized or non-x86 chips are currently used. For Bobcat, AMD is targeting devices like HDTVs, handhelds, mobile media players, personal video recorders, and digital set top boxes.

Source: AMD.

Bobcat is scheduled to arrive in 2009. The chip will be built for power envelopes of less than 10W, although AMD says as little as 1W for the CPU core alone is possible. The company didn't mention ultra-mobile PCs explicitly in its presentation, but it admitted in the Q&A session that Bobcat could indeed slip into future UMPCs. There, it would face off directly against Intel's Silverthorne—or its successors.

Source: AMD.

On the warmer side of the power spectrum sits Bulldozer, another new x86 microarchitecture aimed at servers, workstations, desktops, and notebooks. "Bulldozer" cores will enjoy a spot in AMD's future "Sandtiger" octal-core server platform, as they will in AMD's upcoming "Falcon" family of Fusion processors. In Fusion, Bulldozer cores will share silicon (or at least a chip package) with a DirectX-capable graphics processor, a memory controller, cache, and PCI Express logic, according to AMD's diagram.

Source: AMD.

We didn't hear AMD cite a release time frame for Bulldozer, but both Falcon and the Sandtiger platform are expected to roll out in 2009. Thus, it appears both Bulldozer and Bobcat will see the light of day then.

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