AMD SPENT SOME time talking to the press in Singapore today and unveiled some details of its upcoming platform plans for 2011. What we’re looking at are more cores, fusion and improved notebook battery life.
Let’s start with the high-end desktop platform that goes under the codename of Scorpius. It includes a Bulldozer CPU with four to eight cores manufactured at 32nm. It will of course also feature a next generation graphics solution, but AMD didn’t bother to provide any details as to what we might have to look forward to there. So it looks like we have another couple of cores to look forward to over this year’s high-end platform, which will have to make do with six cores at the most.
Lynx will be AMD’s first fusion platform, but there are barely any details to go by here except that it’s meant to offer “optimal balance of compute resources”, “amazing graphics performance” and “outstanding energy efficiency”. That doesn’t really make us yearn for what AMD has planned, but hopefully AMD can put together a vastly better on-package IGP than what Intel has come up with for its current Core i3 and i5 processors. Dorado is the platform for 2010 and it looks like we can expect both an 880G and an 890GX chipset with integrated graphics from AMD this year, if OCWorkbench is correct.
The mainstream notebook platform for 2011 is called Sabine and it makes the same claims as the Lynx platform, which again doesn’t give away a lot of detail. Better battery life is hopefully something we can look forward to, but considering that Intel’s move to put the IGP inside the CPU packaging didn’t really reduce the power usage, we doubt fusion alone will allow AMD to vastly increase the battery runtime. Danube is the code name for this year’s mobile platform, which will feature quad and triple core CPUs, DX11 graphics that was recently announced, and according to AMD the new platform has been “designed for 7 hours of resting battery life”.
In the ultrathin notebook segment we’re looking at Brazos for 2011 which is meant to be “optimized for new form factors” and offer “amazing price-performance”. Brazos is also based on the fusion design and there will also be a version of the Sabine platform that will stretch down into this segment. For this year we have the Nile platform to look forward to, which should offer a performance increase of, wait for it, 11 percent compared to the Congo platform, and it has been “designed for nearly 7.5 hours of resting battery life”.
We’re curious as to what AMD means by “resting battery life”, since if it’s idle, then it’s not much good to anyone in terms of being a measurement of the time you can use a notebook, but if it’s light load, then it seems like AMD is getting ready to take the fight to Intel. The Nile platform doesn’t quite seem competitive with Intel’s CULV solutions, although it’s way too early to draw any conclusions based on a few presentation slides. Battery life is the most important thing for many notebook users and there’s nothing worse than running out of juice when you need your trusty travel companion the most.
It’s good to see that AMD is busy working on bringing out new technology and fusion will be an interesting development next year, since – with the exception of the high-end Scorpius platform – it seems like every single platform solution from AMD will rely on it. Intel has done an okay job with its Core i3 and i5 processors, but we’ll expect to see a lot more advanced solution from AMD come 2011.S|A
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