AMD reveals more quad-core details

AMD has revealed details of how its pending quad-core chip works at a technical conference this week in San Francisco.

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Advanced Micro Devices has revealed details of how its pending quad-core chip works at a technical conference this week in San Francisco.

The chipmaker is giving the public an advanced look at the chip it says will improve performance and save energy, as well as make up ground on rival Intel.

It discussed features of its quad-core product, code-named Barcelona, at the International Solid States Circuits Conference in San Francisco, a forum for engineers in solid state circuitry and system-on-a-chip processor design.

AMD said Barcelona, due to be released in mid-2007, improves performance and energy efficiency over the competition and over its own dual-core processor, the Opteron, which it introduced in 2003.

Barcelona will feature ‘Enhanced PowerNow’ technology, which will dynamically adjust core frequencies as workloads change in order to power down cores when not needed to save energy, said Brent Kerby, product marketing manager for Opteron.

Under the PowerNow technology already deployed in the dual-core Opteron, the operating system (OS) delivers to the busiest core the power it needs, but if the other core is not as busy, it will still receive the voltage demanded of the busiest core, Kerby said. But with Enhanced PowerNow, while the busiest core will receive the power it needs, the OS will reduce the frequency and voltage of the remaining cores because they aren't as busy.

"We still see power savings with our current PowerNow technology, but it's going to get better with Barcelona because we're going to be able to dynamically and independently adjust the core frequencies of each individual core," he said.

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