View Full Version : AMD-ATI R700 GPU speculation + future direction of AMD CPUs & GPUs

May 19th 07, 10:13 PM

R700 is 55 nanometre
Written by Fuad Abazovic
Thursday, 17 May 2007 07:21

We got confirmation that the R700, a chip that is scheduled for the 1H
of 2008, is going to be manufactured at 55 nanometre. The 55 nanometre
process is an optical shrink of the 65 nanometre process and it is the
logical step for the graphics guys. The CPU guys will go from 65 to 45
nanometre instantly, but the CPU guys didn't use 80 nanometre either
as they decided to go from 90 to 65 nanometre.

Our knowledgeable sources also confirmed that R700 is a multi core
design and DAAMIT calls it Multi Core Unified Architecture. This
sounds like a couple of cores stitched together in a high end chip and
a single core for a small chip.

On some previous roadmaps the R700 was scheduled for Q1 2008, but the
way ATI has been delaying its products, I think its safer to say first
half of 2008. This is what AMD uses for years, so the little ATI will
have to fit in.

If the R700 can go up against the G100 remain to be seen.


Beyond3D forum discussion on AMD's R700 GPU





AMD CTO Summit Editorial

Here are some thoughts that we want to share with our readers as to
the direction of AMD.

After recently attending AMD's CTO Technology Summit I came away with
a much better understanding of its direction in the CPU market as well
as the GPU market. While many of the specifics cannot be discussed in
detail due to non-disclosure agreements in place, we can certainly
share our thoughts and feelings about what has been presented to us.
This editorial will also act a follow-up in some ways to the recently
published State of the Silicon Union editorial.

Phil Hester, AMD CTO, gave a presentation that helped me understand
AMD's direction since it acquired ATI. He was stern in his statement
that, "Extending homogeneous cores is not the way to go." He outlined
his vision of the CPU and GPU coming together. He was also very direct
to the point that the most important benchmark to AMD is customer
experience rather than metrics which you know is something that is
near and dear to our hearts here at HardOCP. A true desire of taking
care of their customers' needs was expressed to be their mission.
Issues such as excellent backwards compatibility with current software
sets was described to be a must with all of their products while
pushing forward with emerging technologies such as stream computing
models and multi-core processors.

He also described the merging of CPUs and GPUs in detail. His vision
sees AMD's GPU technology being totally integrated into the CPU, much
like we saw the floating point processor integrated into our current
CPUs. This obviously begs the enthusiast question, "What about my
video cards?" Undoubtedly there are many of us that have no desire to
have our main display controller integrated into our CPU as it simply
does not jive with our hardware upgrade paths. While we will very
likely see the "ATI" logo go away with the next-gen R700 technology,
high-end discrete graphics is not falling off of AMD's road map. Phil
Hester repeatedly explained that AMD is not moving away from the high
end GPU business. The CPU/GPU merge model mentioned above simply does
not cater to the high-end gaming market, but will likely be comparable
to integrated sets of technology we see today. These models obviously
appeal to the mobile markets and as AMD merges CPUs and GPUs, we
expect to see them move towards a system-on-chip model where AMD will
be supplying much of the silicon needs of mobile and business use
systems. Don't think of these solutions as being poised to be weak
though. AMD sees these configurations as being able to run HD video
conferencing and handling multiple applications at the same time.

Interestingly enough, Bob Drebin, CTO of the graphics product group,
brought up the point that ATI clearly saw the need of the merging of
their GPU with a CPU. Bob explained how ATI was seeing the need for
some type of sequential processing to be brought along side their deep
parallel GPUs. Anand Shimpi asked Bob what exactly their plan was to
deal with those needs had AMD not acquired ATI. While Bob responded,
we never really got the answer to the question.

As we earlier posted, Barcelona technology was shown off in the form
of Agena FX desktop processors running live demonstrations. Agena FX
processors are basically the Barcelona server quad-core CPU that has
been fitted with a non-registered DDR2 memory controller for desktop
usage. High definition video encoding was shown being run while using
a currently available application and all four cores of the Agena FX
being utilized. Also shown was the new two processor "4x4" platform
that is now truly a 4-core by 4-core system with the Agena FX. The
same HD video encoding demos were run showing to take advantage of all
8 processor cores in the system. While not exactly a demonstration,
AMD did allow us some hands on with newly produced 45nm process
technology in the form of a 300mm wafer as well.

While I left the AMD CTO Technology Summit with a enthusiastic overall
vision of where AMD wants to take their business, it does not change
the fact that AMD currently has its back against the wall. The company
is in a situation where it must execute flawlessly. Barcelona must
make its "mid 2007" launch date into the server arena. Doing this will
allow AMD to gain back some of the market share it has recently lost
to Intel. I think that Barcelona will be a superior product compared
to what Intel currently has in the space. Any Barcelona tardiness is
going to push it out closer to Intel's upcoming Penryn, and that will
put Barcelona on a much more level playing field with its competition.
I am unsure which is going to be faster, but I do not think there will
be a huge performance differential in the server market once Intel's
Penryn makes it debut. Barcelona must push into the server space while
it can exhibit dominance and leverage that performance benefit, and
that firmly depends on AMD's execution being without error for the
remainder of the year.

AMD's internal vision is clearly defined and it seems to be very much
on track. If it is able to clear the hurdles immediately in front of
it, it seems to be very much back in the position to innovate and lead
the industry in design and user experience.