Feeds

AMD praying ‘Barcelona’ makes up for four-core mistake

Been to Montreal?

Security for virtualized datacentres

Exclusive Bruised by a resurgent Intel, AMD wishes it had tackled the four-core era with a different approach. The chipmaker stands behind the technical merits of pumping out a so-called native four-core chip with all four cores on the same piece of silicon.

It, however, admits that Intel gained a major marketing edge by melding a pair of dual-core processors with a multi-chip module (MCM) when it released the "Clovertown" version of Xeon last year. That four-core chip allowed Intel to claim a server processor technology milestone ahead of AMD for the first time in about three years.

“If I could do something different, I wish we would have immediately done a MCM - two dual cores and call it a quad-core,” said Mario Rivas, an EVP at AMD, during a recent interview in Austin, “because, I guess, the market sucks it up.”

Before Clovertown, AMD enjoyed one of the more remarkable runs in server chip marketing and production. It beat Intel to 64-bit extensions for x86 chips and then nailed the release of mainstream, dual-core chips. Besides hitting these milestones, AMD clobbered Intel’s Xeon on overall performance and performance per watt - two of the server world’s favored metrics.

While a high-end part such as Clovertown misses the mainstream, it has proved popular enough with the most demanding customers and analysts to toss the technology and marketing edge back toward Intel. Recent sales figures show that Intel has regained server processor share from AMD, and Intel has shown leading performance on a wide variety of benchmarks.

So, AMD is going retro with its upcoming release of the four-core Barcelona chip, hoping to tap into the momentum of yesteryear.

“Barcelona is as much of event in the x86 world as Opteron was when we launched it,” Rivas said.

Other AMD executives have used this line in recent months, although we’re not sure the pitch fits.

The release of Opteron, as mentioned, gave AMD the first 64-bit x86 chip. More importantly, it turned AMD into a real contender in the server market for the first time.

Barcelona seems like less of a game changer. At the most basic level, it’s simply a better performing chip than today’s dual-core Opterons. AMD expects the processor to provide a 40 per cent surge on most software loads and a much higher boost on floating point-heavy software. Best of all, the chip slides right into existing systems.

AMD hopes to continue the socket compatibility with the four-core follow-on to Barcelona called Shanghai and the eight-core follow-on Montreal - a tidbit you may consider a Register exclusive.

El Reg: Will the upcoming chips Shanghai and Montreal be socket compatible as well?

MR: Yes. That’s the goal. We have not released detailed specs that I know of on those two devices, but that (strategy) has served us well.

Rivas declined to discuss what might happen with Bulldozer - meant to be a native eight-core chip - but hinted that “we have analyst day coming up, and I don’t want to share any more than I have to (before that).”

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Channel Stuffing

More from The Register

next story
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
Turn OFF your phone or WE'LL ALL DI... live? Europe OKs mobes, tabs non-stop on flights
Airlines given green light to allow gate-to-gate jibber-jabber
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.