Just before the lights were turned off at CES until next year, we wanted to catch up with one of the stand-out companies in our eyes and find out about their plans for the tablet and laptop market coming into 2015. As in previous coverage, Advanced Micro Devices’s roadmap includes a new System on Chip which has been codenamed Carrizo, accompanied by a lower-power version the Carrizo-L. Both of these chips will share motherboard design, platform, and common form factors, and are anticipated to hit the market by mid-2015.
There is still some uncertainty in the build of these new cores with speculation surrounding the use of either 28nm or 20nm technology. AMD had previously spoken of introducing a 20nm die shrink of the larger 28nm Puma Plus processor in relation to move towards a single platform for both the Ambidextrous Computer Roadmap (ARM) and x86 processors under Project Skybridge. The Puma Plus being a spinoff of the Jaguar which was launched back in 2013.
Lisa Su, AMD’s Spokesperson, General Manager, and Senior Vice President of the Global Business Unit, revealed that AMD firmly believes that these two platforms will be the leading architectures from their release onward.
Both instruction sets are projected to be lucrative, which supports the development of the 64-bit ARM technology by a CPU manufacturer. AMD is of the belief that although the market for x86 processors has dropped off in recent times, it is expected to level out, while the deployment of the ARM chip will continue to escalate.
Earlier this year, AMD partnered with GlobalFounadries to manufacture the socketed Kabini Accelerated Processing Units, which now makes a lot of sense. AMD was able to buy some time in moving the core to GlobalFoundaries, which enabled them to shift their design to fit in with their new partner’s manufacturing processes. This supported the building of the second version of the core within a Carrizo compatible socket.
Holding their ground with their beliefs about Carrizo’s power consumption and efficiency, AMD still hasn’t revealed much about Carrizo-L, nor provided an insight on variances with the Puma Plus core.
With a lot of talk about the uncertainty surrounding Project Skybridge, the plans are still in place to launch in early 2015. However, without a mobile platform capable of leveraging the 20nm chip, there is a lack of clarity about the expected success in the uptake that AMD is holding out for.
Another area of concern for those watching AMD from the outside was seen, or maybe not seen, in the Cortex-A57 CPUs that were supposed to be shipped out by the end of 2014. This didn’t seem to happen, but then again, if it did, AMD kept the whole thing pretty quiet.
Many would agree that announcements about servers don’t quite draw the same attention in the media as consumer-based goods, but AMD had made a consistent amount of noise about it plans to gain new market share through dense servers. Some would agree that this particular aspect in relation to AMD’s profile is a little puzzling.
At this point, it is pretty safe to say that the Skybridge debut is still on track for 2015, but it now looks a lot like the 20nm Puma Plus core with fully integrated HSA support will find its way into much fewer hands than had been previously expected.