AMD Barcelona - some official details
AMD Barcelona - Improvements and advantages
Published: 27th July 2007 | Source: CHANGEME |AMD Barcelona
AMD have detailed the following improvements
For AMD's business sector clients. AMD wants to show that they are willing to back platforms with a long life cycle and give their clients excellent return on investment by making their servers perform better for longer.
* Smarter Virtualisation
AMD aims to show how the new features that it is implementing will enable a whole new world of performance in virtualisation tasks based on hardware acceleration.
* Rapid Virtualisation Indexing - bringing Nested Paging & Tagged TLB's into virtualisation and allowing virtualisation to be realised through CPU hardware, rather than through software.
* Smarter Power Efficiency
AMD has enabled several excellent power saving features in it's next-gen CPU's.
AMD also went on to say that whilst they are allowing DDR2 to go ahead in their platform, Intel are using the power-heavy FBDIMM's in their architecture, meaning more expense and a lot more power usage.
* AMD CoolCore Technology - The ability to turn off parts of the CPU that are not needed, again to save power.
* Dual Dynamic Power Management - Individual voltage for core and memory controller allowing memory bus to run at full speed whilst one or more CPU's are turned off.
* Smarter Performance
Performance where it matters, when it matters. AMD has some ideas on this front too.
* AMD Memory Optimiser - allowing double the theoretical memory bandwidth with many improvements.
AMD memory improvements
AMD Technology enhancements
Keeping the same envelope
AMD were keen to make sure we knew that with their Quad Cores they are keeping their processors in the same thermal envelope as their equivalent dual core cousins. If a CPU is in the 65w range, the Quad Core version will again stay in that range.
This would mean that you could theretically upgrade a whole datacenter with new CPU's and have double the amount of cores for the same energy output. Of course it was mentioned that this was something that Intel did not do with their Quad Core release and AMD highlighted that this is again about investment protection.
Something that caught my eye especially on the server side of things was the improvements AMD have made in their virtualisation. AMD claim that building on technology they already had implemented and combined with new technology, they are able to help out virtualisation on a hardware level. The next slides can put this better than I can:
AMD virtualisation diagram
AMD vs Intel on virtualisation
Pretty impressive stuff. AMD have said that they are working with the software industry (including VMWare) and believe that versions of the software supporting the new technologies should be available around the time of the release of Barcelona.
Will it compare to Intel
AMD's Felipe Payer said that they would be "very comfortable" to put their 2GHz Barcelona part up against Intels 2.33GHz part and they believe that it can trade blows with the Core2Duo CPU. Also mentioned was that the release is due around August September time and that AMD would be looking to get a higher powered part out by the end of the year.
AMD also stated that they wanted to make sure that they released their multi-processor platforms alongside their single processor platforms to again ensure investor protection and to make sure their customers know where they are. Dell were mentioned during the talk and Filipe went on to say that AMD's clients are "very happy with what they have seen". This is a good sign, although AMD are hardly likely to say otherwise.
So what does all this mean?
Well for a start it means that AMD's Quad Core's are finally here and they have a whole bundle of features to go with them. AMD said that they wanted to "wait until we were ready with all the features we wante to have in our next-gen part". AMD have proved in the past with A64 that they can come out hitting big so it's not a good idea to discount them right now.
I am hoping that the new Barcelona server chips will give AMD that much needed boost in sales and Barcelona is a chip that can compete with Intel Core2 architecture where once the A64's did so well.
I personally will wait and see what the future has in store and see what the numbers say when we have the chips in hand.
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