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AMD: 12-Core CPUs Coming Early 2010


AMD: 12-Core CPUs Coming Early 2010

AMD has previously released details about its forthcoming 12-core CPU design, codenamed Magny-Cours (a fairly weak pun if you ask me), but details are now being firmed up regarding release schedules. The upshot is that we can expect 12-core processors form AMD in Q1 2010.

AMD is apparently now set to release a six-core 'Istanbul' CPU in June of this year, built on its 45nm manufacturing process and destined for servers. Then in 2010 the 12-core Magny Cours processors will debut, alongside an eight-core model.

Finally 2011 is to see the die shrink to 32nm in the guise of Interlagos, in 12-core and 16-core versions. Intel, meanwhile should have accomplished its 32nm transition - the tick to fllow the tock of Nehalem - before the end of this year with eight-core chips at hand.

To use a different slant: Intel may (arguably if we're being pedantic) have the advantage architecturally, but AMD wants to beat Intel in the race to cram ever more cores onto a single die. Given these chips are aimed at the server market, where the multi-threading ability of many-core chips is of some use, that's not such a crazy strategy as it may seem; even if improving per-core performance is a more 'elegant' solution - in my opinion at least.

When these niche products will result in mainstream products in unknown, but at the proposed rate of progression, we may finally be able to play Crysis by 2015 - hurrah!


Wall Street Journal.


April 23, 2009, 10:05 pm

Hmmmm semi lame pun and a Formula One race track... which isn't used any more. Magny-Cours been replaced, in the 2010 season, for a track in Disney Land Paris. So they've named an upcoming high-end product after a race track which has been shunned for a big corporate theme park.. because the theme park owner has more resources and it'll draw more customers.

Jebus.. do AMD even care at this point? Have they no one working for them with the slightest bit of sense?


April 24, 2009, 2:19 am

I am no programming expert by any means, but this is bordering on pointless " my cpu (d**k) has more cores than yours"

From my admittedly limited knowledge, the main issue EVEN with current four cores is the availability of multi-threaded programs. - To handle this many will need computers to program computers or some very clever people to organise the higher level software, to get the slightest benefit.

Or am I wrong? - is the software on the way to handle these megaliths?..... as they say at Univ., <discuss>


April 24, 2009, 5:02 am

@chocoa Well that's a chicken/egg problem. They have no impedes to code for "many-core" hardware till there are lots of cheap "many-core" systems out in the wild.

Things are already moving along that way and there are lots of uses for 12 or 16 cores. Obviously server applications will spread themselves out.. but if you do video work with the likes of Nuke on After Effects then you that will saturate all those cores. Plus even the likes of paint.net can max out my quadcore cpu and, because of the way it does it, should have no problem doing the same on 12 or even 50 cores. The hardware people definitely shouldn't just stop their progress because some software isn't being updated fast enough.


April 24, 2009, 5:20 am

@Chocoa Yes that software is the OS, multi-threading doesn't need to be in every application to benefit from multiple cores. Parallel processing has been around for decades so this isn't really a new concept - just being done a much smaller, less power hungry scale.


April 24, 2009, 6:07 pm

Chocoa, This is no way pointless. These chips are server chips. More cores means more virtual machines in a smaller space. 2 processors means you have 24 cores, so 1 server with 2 processors could take nearly the same load as 6 quad core servers. This is a huge advantage in datacentres with limited space. Most datacentres run on dual processor quad core, which makes 8 cores, so 3 times the power in the same amount of space. I dont see how this is pointless.


April 24, 2009, 6:45 pm

@Chocoa: OSs have mostly supported multi-core systems a few years now. They'll happily distribute running programs around as many cores as you have (or there are programms) and most computer languages have built in threading support.

The main issue seems to be that for some types of programs nobody knows what would be a good way to split the work up.

As for when cores start getting ridiculous then that depends on how much of the effort of the programs can be split up. If the program always has a chunk that consists of 10% of it's work that has to run together on a single core then you're not going to get any improvements with more than 10 cores devoted to it. (although you may want an extra 1 or 2 for the O/S).


April 24, 2009, 10:15 pm


Thanks for the responses! - In taunting you all I was reminded of a certain 'expert' who stated the world would only need four super-computers... clearly naive. I hope I did not project that or a Luddite mentality!

I feel encouraged that the hardware and software will give us the 'value' you've suggested. I guess, coming from someone who wrote machine code way back, it seems that there is a chicken and egg conundrum as Jopey points out. Now perhaps we can look forward to hardware that will do video editing and encoding with greater ease or, more likely, the cycle of egg and chicken will start over again....

And yes I get the After Effects lag Jopey!

Great to have a debate here folks, thanks to all that replied.

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