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Friday, December 16, 2011
Windows 7 Update Boosts AMD Bulldozer Performance

Microsoft has released a hotfix for Windows systems that is supposed to optimize the performance of AMD's Bulldozer CPUs, which have been available on the market some months now.

The update applies to AMD Bulldozer CPUs that are used by Windows 7-based or Windows Server 2008 R2-based computers (x86 and x64).

Without the update, the performance of AMD Bulldozer CPUs "is slower than expected, "according to Microsoft. This behavior occurs because the threading logic in Windows 7 and in Windows Server 2008 R2 is not optimized to use the Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) scheduling feature, which was introduced in the Bulldozer family of AMD CPUs.

Generally, simultaneous multi-threading is the ability of a single physical processor to simultaneously dispatch instructions from more than one hardware thread context. Because there are two hardware threads per physical processor, additional instructions can run at the same time.

Simultaneous multi-threading is primarily beneficial in commercial environments where the speed of an individual transaction is not as important as the total number of transactions that are performed. For example, simultaneous multi-threading is expected to increase the throughput of workloads with large or frequently changing working sets, such as database servers and Web servers.

Workloads that see the greatest simultaneous multi-threading benefit are those that have a high Cycles Per Instruction (CPI) count. Workloads that do not benefit much from simultaneous multi-threading are those in which the majority of individual software threads use a large amount of any resource in the processor or memory.

Microsoft was not explicit about just how much better Bulldozer machines are supposed to run now.

New AMD Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Units

Satying with AMD, the company today announced that Dr. Lisa Su, 42, has joined the company as senior vice president and general manager, global business units. She will report to president and chief executive officer Rory Read. Dr. Su, who was most recently senior vice president and general manager, networking and multimedia at Freescale Semiconductor Inc., will oversee AMD's business units focused on the Client, Commercial, Graphics, Professional Graphics, and Game Console markets.

Dr. Su will oversee the team responsible for driving end to end business execution of AMD's product solutions including strategy, product definition, and business plans. She will also have responsibility for "driving alliances and partnerships with software developers to facilitate the development of a complete software ecosystem that can take advantage of the capabilities in AMD?s differentiated products," AMD said in a statement.

Strategy shift?

AMD's strategy shift has been expected since August, when Rory Read took over as the company's chief executive.

Read spoke at a Raymond James investor conference on Tuesday in New York and hinted that the company might consider including another chip design, talking about ARM with a much more open attitude than any other AMD CEO would have in the past.

"At the end of the day, it has to be market driven and by the customer," Read said. "We have a lot of IP and a lot of capability. We're going to continue to play those cards, but as you move forward, making sure that you're able to be ambidextrous is definitely a winning hand."

Both Intel and AMD have missed the boat getting their chips into smartphones and tablets, where ARM-based chips have become the standard brain chip of choice. Designs from a variety of companies who license the ARM technology have dominated as the processors in mobile devices, with the ARM designs known for consuming less power.

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