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The technical edge of AMD


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. . .or the company's long-term plans for world domination.

In a resent interview with EETimes, Phil Hester, chief technology officer at Advanced Micro Devices Inc, has outlined some hint's as to where AMD's processor architectures are moving to;

Phil Hester: We are evolving to what I'd say are a minimum of two brand-new core design points, new microarchitectures from the ground up. One is aimed at mobile computers and the very low-power space. Another is optimized for the high-end server space.

Our belief is that we have to do an outstanding job on power management across the board. Techniques that applied mainly in the mobile side of things will now apply in the server and desktop space...So we will make these designs modular so that we can adjust the cache and the number of cores, based on what we know about the workloads.

The mobile microarchitecture could be pushed up to the desktop and down to what I believe in the next three to four years is going to be something that lives between your notebook and your PDA. That would be something that also works well in a set-top box or a digital TV.

We'll have quad-core architectures in the 2007 time frame. The challenge on the client side is the software, to see how fast that client software parallelizes. Outside of visualization, gaming and scientific apps, not a whole lot of programmers spend a lot of time worrying about parallel code.

...think about things like powering off the cores that were not being used, and raising the voltages and clock rates of the one or two cores that were effectively being used by those threads.

Shutting down a core is not hard, but you want to be able to do it fairly quickly, with instant on. You need to go from extremely low power, come out of that quickly and preserve the execution environment. That has to happen within a second, so it is on when the user pushes the button. That is under active research right now.

Read Phil Hester's full interview w/EETimes.

. . .and In the News ~ AMD's long-term microprocessor strategy

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