AMD Bulldozer Processor
Development on the AMD “Bulldozer” processor architecture is finally coming to a close. After six years of work, this complete overhaul of AMD’s previous processor architecture will be making its debut in CPUs in 2011.
Until now, a relatively consistent architecture has been used in all of AMD’s processors since they began providing them in 2003. The Bulldozer architecture is very different. Early studies and comparisons suggest it will be up to 50% faster than its current equivalent competitors. Across the board, including media and game applications, the Bulldozer seems to be outperforming all rivals.
The comparisons made are not without controversy, however. AMD based the evaluation on three points of reference, which some say is too few for a fair trial against Intel and Phenom contenders.
Regardless, critics and supporters alike must admit that the Bulldozer architecture has made huge improvements in the area of instructions per clock (IPC). The architecture saves die space by using a “module” approach. The “module” refers to a set of circuitry that can in essence by shared by different processes, saving AMD from repeating one piece of architecture numerous times on the die. By taking advantage of modules, this design should reduce redundancy saving both chip space and power draw, with no negative impact to performance.
It is worth noting that the market has seen some confusion about what exactly the name “Bulldozer” entails. It is not a particular processor that is labeled “Bulldozer”, but rather the architecture on which new processors will be based. Other confusion surrounded the use of “module” as some thought it to be another name for the cores, which as previously noted, it is not.
Highlights of what has been revealed about Bulldozer include Turbo core performance boost and the support of Intel’s future Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) instruction set.
Little besides the integrated memory controller and the communication bus will be inherited from its predecessor’s architecture. AMD also revealed that the Bulldozer chip will contain eight x86 cores, multi-threading technology, and dual or quad channel DDR3 integrated memory controllers, depending on application. AMD has been quoted to say that the new CPU containing Bulldozer architecture will feature “Extensive New Power Management Innovations”
Plans are already in the works for what AMD called “Enhanced Bulldozer”, a next generation scheduled for next year. Little else has been revealed, but the market will be watching for what the next rendition has to offer.
Whether or not AMD has created the processor architecture to surpass all others remains to be seen. AMD has, however, designed something noteworthy and competitive in its market.