AMD today unveiled more architectural features for its upcoming native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors (codenamed "Barcelona") during a presentation to the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).
AMD estimates that the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors will offer a 40-percent performance advantage over the competition in benchmark testing. in addition, AMD?s redesigned
microarchitecture will enable new power- and thermal-management
techniques. Among the new features are enhancements to AMD PowerNow! technology for dynamic adjustment of individual core frequencies.
AMD is taking a multi-pronged approach to enabling reduced
system-level power consumption for exceptional performance and low
energy costs. Enhancements to AMD PowerNow! technology will enable
systems based on native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors to
dynamically adjust frequencies at the individual core level for
further power consumption reductions.
Another new power management enhancement leverages AMD?s Direct
Connect Architecture and integrated memory controller by enabling
"Barcelona" processor cores to reduce voltage levels even while the
memory controller runs at full speed. This enables the memory
controller to service external memory requests independent from
core p-state transitions, thus enabling p-state opportunities which
can lead to additional power savings.
The system memory interface also includes a feature that powers
down memory logic when not in use. AMD has also made extensive use
of "clock gating" in the "Barcelona" design to enable automatic
shut-down of areas of logic not being utilized for further power
Upcoming native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are designed for
the same power infrastructure AMD offers today - 68,
95 and 120 Watt thermal envelopes.
While special attention was paid to the power-saving design
features in native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors, equal emphasis
was placed on delivering leading performance. Quad-Core
AMD Opteron processors are packed with core and cache enhancements
designed to improve performance on a range of server and
workstation applications. Cache-sensitive transactional
applications such as Web, database and email servers can benefit
from the addition of a 2MB shared L3 cache. Simulations conducted
in AMD laboratories indicate that certain database applications
will see performance improvements up to 70 percent and certain
floating point applications will experience performance gains of up
to 40 percent over platforms powered by current dual-core AMD
Opteron processors. High-performance computing (HPC) applications
can benefit from a doubling of Barcelona?s
floating-point execution pipeline to 128-bit width, which includes
an AMD-only doubling of instruction and data delivery capabilities.
Finally, through enhancements to AMD Virtualization (AMD-V),
including Nested Paging, virtualization customers can enjoy
additional application performance improvements over non AMD-V
Quad-Core AMD Opteron Processors are expected to be available in