Steamroller Core in 2013 Doesn't Mean New AMD Opterons
4/1/2013 by: Marcus Pollice
Recently, AMD released a set of slides targeting investors. Following the release, we started to see a lot of speculation began circulating in the form of coverage at various websites. Most of them revolving around slide number 10. This is the familiar Bulldozer architecture roadmap, which in this case strains that Steamroller is scheduled for 2013. In this article we present our view on the topic and try to clean up some of the confusion.
The slide in question on the AMD Architectural roadmap - Steamroller stays in 2013. Is it coming as an Opteron?
First of all we would like to strain that this is basically business as usual. Steamroller was originally planned for 2013 and AMD is committed to hit that target as the investor presentation confirms. Now it is important to understand that Steamroller doesn't denominate a specific product, but rather a CPU architecture which in turn will be included into a whole range of products. Just like Piledriver, the current iteration of their high performance CPU architectures, is employed in Trinity and Richland (Mobile/Desktop APUs), Vishera (AMD FX) and Abu Dhabi (Opteron 4300/6300).
For now we only know the codename of one Steamroller-based product, which is the next mainstream APU called Kaveri, scheduled for late 2013 as per a client roadmap AMD publicized around CES. This is also the most likely cause for the slide aimed at investors stated that Steamroller will ship 2013. The main confusion stems from the fact that the slide was titled "AMD Opteron technology" which to some people implied this must related to Opteron products. This, however, is only a very basic assumption. One we can't find any additional indication for at this point.
So for now it would be smart to assume that the 2013 roadmap mention of Steamroller is simply referring to the fact that the architecture is scheduled to debut this year which is AMDs official stance until this day. It doesn't imply that any desktop or server products based on Steamroller are to be expected in this year. Those are still only going to launch in 2014. This is in no way bad for the company as their flagship product of the year – Kabini – got a lot of momentum after they announced the major PS4 design win and everyone expects them to announce the next major design win with the successor to Xbox 360 at the E3.
AMD Focus Plan on Execution in 2013
Now there is one additional possibility, but this is where we chime in with speculation of our own. AMD occasionally hinted at moving APU technology into the server space. Fujitsu design win is based around the Temash-based APU branded as FirePro, as well as you can purchase FirePro branded Trinity APUs. Kaveri-based product branded Opteron for the server space would actually fit the bill of those who insist this must be related to Opteron. We still believe this is unlikely and that AMD will rather move a Kabini-derivative into this market. We actually discussed this at length after AMD's Andrew Feldman, responsible for the Data Center Service Division (DCSS) at AMD, threw us a bone regarding this in an interview.
Furthermore, we all need to wait and see how AMD will integrate its newly found GPGPU focus into its product stack, with Radeon Sky debuting last week at the 2013 Game Developers Conference.
AMD, Advanced Micro Devices, Radeon, Radeon Sky, Opteron, Steamroller, Excavator, Kabini, Kaveri, Temash, Vishera, Abu Dhabi, APU, CPU, GPU, GPGPU, Bulldozer, GPU Computing, Data Center Service Division, Andrew Feldman, SeaMicro, Sea Micro, microserver
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