Processors based on AMD's Bulldozer architecture might ship sooner rather than later. When we discussed the architecture last month, we noted that AMD already had Bulldozer chips up and running internally. Now, TechEye quotes AMD's John Fruehe as saying the chipmaker will "start to sample Bulldozer cores in the fourth quarter of this year."
If I'm not mistaken, that means AMD will begin to send out Bulldozer-based engineering samples to its partners for testing and validation. In turn, that schedule implies the first Bulldozer designs must be pretty far along.
How far along? That's hard to say for sure, but we can extrapolate based on past releases. With AMD's Magny-Cours 12-core design, for instance, Fruehe told The Register in November of last year that samples were already out, and we saw the first chips officially released at the end of March. Bulldozer could take a little longer to hit the streets, since it's, after all, a whole new architecture—but a launch by next summer wouldn't surprise me.