AMD has released its product roadmap for the next two years and the company appears to have gone core crazy. Plans for several multi-core chip releases over the next two years will culminate in a 12-core CPU to be released in the first half of 2010.
The first new product from AMD will be code-named "Shanghai," and is expected to see the light of day in the second half of this year. This will be AMD's first 45nm sever processor, and will support HyperTransport 3.0 as well as sporting a whopping 6MB of Level-3 cache. Shanghai will have four cores.
Next at bat will be "Istanbul," due out in the second half of 2009. Istanbul will sport six cores and will be designed for use in multi-processor systems (two processors and up). In early 2010, AMD expects to release its new Socket G34 platform with DDR3 memory support.
The pièce de résistance, however, will be AMD's 12-core, Socket G34-based, "Magny Cours" processor. A six-core version will also be available, code-named "Sao Paolo."
Increasing the number of cores on CPUs is a logical direction, and one that Intel is heading in as well. It has become increasingly difficult to squeeze higher speeds out of processors, so the solution to increasing CPU performance has been to integrate more cores into the chips themselves. While AMD's recently-announced roadmap focuses on server processors, this doesn't mean that desktop and laptop processors are getting the short shrift. Like Mary and her little lamb, wherever server processors go, desktop and laptop processors are sure to follow. Processor designs for AMD's mainstream systems will reap the benefits of the technological advances going into the server processors. The sockets will be different, there will be less on-board cache, fewer HyperTransport links, and no multi-processor support, but the desktop and laptop processors will share the same number of cores and have the same raw CPU power.