Yet To Be Named Roundup

Bulldozer, Llano, and GTX 590

Anton Shilov of Xbitlabs had a really interesting interview this week with AMD’s Neal Robison on what Fusion means for AMD and for the rest of the industry. The interview covers AMD’s ongoing effort to support the development of applications that take advantage of their APUs and then delves into AMD’s strategy for their Fusion based products. The most interesting part though is when Mr. Robison takes a couple of shots at the GPU part of Sandy Bridge and down plays the advantages of a Larrabee style small multipurpose x86 architecture in favor of in AMD’s self described heterogeneous APU architecture. It seems like AMD has a plan and a method, look for some market share changes and entertaining product launches in the coming quarters.

OCZ announced via press release that it had shipped its millionth SSD on Thursday. As the owner of one of their drives it’s gratifying to see that SSDs are slowly working their way out of the niche segments like netbooks and enterprise servers. Editor’s update 7.30 CST: Additional analysis here.

AMD announced that it will be publishing its first quarter results on April 21st and there’s been a slew of Bulldozer and Llano leaks this week. It looks like AMD’s server chip Interlagos got bench marked with showing results for a dual processor 32 core server running AMD Engineering samples at 1.8Ghz. The scores, while respectable, seem to indicate a lack of BIOS maturity and compiler support, and as such the scores are most likely not representative of Bulldozers performance at launch.

HotHardware has a speculative article on a curious announcements from high-end motherboard maker ASUS about AM3+ support in AM3 socket motherboards and German site Ati Forum had a short report confirming AM3+ CPU compatibility, with a reduced feature set, in socket AM3 motherboards. This all come in stark contrast to AMD’s official lack of support for socket AM3+ CPU’s in socket AM3. Without a doubt AMD is preparing on bringing Bulldozer to market, but there still remains quite a bit of doubt surrounding it’s launch date, and the level of legacy socket compatibility, due to conflicting comments from partners.

Adding to the uncertainty of the speculation surrounding the two products exact launch dates was a report from Tiernan Ray of Barron’s on a analyst who believes that Llano will be shipping in April and that Bulldozer would ship in Q3. This is contradictory to recent reports and slides that showed a June date for Bulldozer and a July date for Llano, but still with in the range of AMD’s official guidance of summer for Llano and Q3 for Bulldozer on the server side. Things are happening fast and it seems that industry sources are beginning to corroborate Charlie’s relatively positive story on Llano.

The most interesting tech launch this week had to be Nvidia’s GTX 590. With a teaser video coming two days before launch and the promise of HD 6990 beating performance in the air, I think it’s fair to say that Nvidia’s GTX 590 came off as a bit of a disappointment from Nvidia fans. [H]ard|OCP’s review put it on par with GTX 570 SLI and a bit below the HD 6990 with higher power consumption. The only really interesting features of the card are its relatively low noise output and asymmetrical heat-sinks.  Sweclockers was lucky enough to video tape a GTX 590 emitting a spark, which definitely added to the mythical status of Nvidia’s dual GPU cards.

In the continuing browser wars it seems that Microsoft’s IE9 is taking a beating from Mozilla’s FF4 in terms of usage numbers. But in a rarely seen gesture of civility someone at Microsoft had the good sense to send Mozilla a cake to celebrate the launch of FF4. Now if only review samples came with free cake… or bacon. S|A

Updated: 25 March 2011, fixed typos thanks to our readers.

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Thomas Ryan is based in Seattle, Washington. Thomas first began to appreciate the wonders of the semiconductor industry while doing research on his previous favorite hobby, PC gaming. Having co- purchased his first computer at the ripe old age of 11, with $150 and the help of Craigslist he's been buying and building computers ever since.