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AMD's Ambitious 2010 Product Roadmap

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – AMD laid out an ambitious roadmap for 2010 and 2011 today, involving its much-hyped Fusion products as well as a slew of new processor technologies.

The star of the show wasn't President and CEO Dirk Meyer, who did make some comments on issues ranging from the Intel lawsuit to product news to finances but only spoke briefly. Much of the product news came from Rick Bergman, senior vice president of the products group.

Specifically, Bergman talked up Fusion. Fusion is the combination of a GPU and CPU on one die. The graphics processor is now referred to as an Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). AMD expects to make the first silicon next year and ship by 2011.

"We believe we are changing the game for visual computing. You can get a great experience with the solutions we're providing in the future. You will have to make no more compromises on what kinds of workloads you can do," Bergman told the audience here at AMD's annual analyst's day at the company's Silicon Valley campus.

Normally GPU releases come every two years, a much longer lead time than CPUs, as they have become considerably more complex than CPUs, but Bergman said that will change and APUs will come out as quickly as CPUs.

"I see no reason to do new GPUs every two years. We can do a new APU every year. It won't necessarily be speeds with every release, but it will be something to give users the best visual experience possible," he said.

The first product from AMD will be the "Maranello" server platform in the first half of 2010. It will consist of the new "Magny-Cours" Opteron 6100 processor, which will be a 12-core processor, and a new chipset.

For low-end solutions, there will be "San Marino," which consists of a four- and six-core "Lisbon" Opteron 4100 processor with a new chipset and single- or dual-socket designs. These will be for low-end servers, some running at just six watts.

Bulldozer and Bobcat

In 2011 comes "Bulldozer," an entirely new processor core for AMD. These will be 32nm processors using high-k metal gate technology, which runs much cooler than existing technologies. On the high end, they will be the Opteron 6200 line, codenamed "Interlagos," with 12 or 16 cores. The 4200 series will have six or eight cores.

There will also be a low-end "Bulldozer" line, called "Bobcat." It will be used in ultrathin and netbook form factors and is designed to be extremely small, highly flexible and single-threaded. It will run on as little as one watt of power.

There will be two new desktop platforms in the first half of 2010, "Leo" and "Dorado." Leo will introduce the six-core Athlon, likely the "Thuban," although AMD did not say it by name, while Dorado is a dual-, triple- and quad-core line with integrated graphics.

AMD is raising its performance claims for the notebook market. It launched "Puma," AMD's answer to Intel's popular Centrino mobile platform last year. Puma launched with four hours of battery life under regular use. When "Tigris" came out earlier this year, it was raised to five hours.

The next generation of the platform, called "Danube," comes out in the first half of next year and offers battery performance of up to seven hours of battery life. Also coming in the first half of 2010 is the ultra-thin platform Nile, which will feature a dual-core, 45nm processor and seven hours of battery life.

Here come Fusion notebooks

In 2011, the first Fusion notebooks hit. "Sabine" is the mainstream notebook platform with a quad-core CPU and the "Llano" APU. "Brazos" is AMD's ultra-thin notebook platform slated for 2011 using a dual-core Bobcat processor.

On the GPU side, AMD will launch three new graphics cards codenamed "Cedar," "Hemlock," and "Redwood" in the first half of 2010, offering high definition, high performance graphics for both desktops and notebooks.

All of these will be based on the new 5800 generation of ATI Radeon HD chips. AMD will support the previous generation, the 4800, with three new parts for desktop and mobility called "Broadway," "Madison" and "Park."

So all told, in 2010, AMD plans to sample Bulldozer, Bobcat, and 32nm Fusion products to customers, while launching six new platforms and six new GPU products.