AMD is unveiling today the new processor architecture that will be used in their new CPUs starting in 2011. Codenamed Bulldozer, this architecture is completely different from the current AMD64 architecture that AMD has been using since the introduction of the very first Athlon 64 CPU back in 2003. In this tutorial we will give you an in-depth explanation of how this new architecture looks like and how it works.
For a better understanding of how the Bulldozer architecture compares to the AMD64 architecture, we suggest you to read our Inside the AMD64 Architecture tutorial before continuing.
The Bulldozer architecture will inherit some features introduced with the AMD64 architecture, such as the integrated memory controller and the use of the HyperTransport bus for communication between the CPU and the chipset.
Bulldozer is the codename for the architecture, not for a specific processor. As usually happens, AMD will first release processors targeted to the server market based on this new architecture, then for the high-end desktop market, then for the mainstream desktop segment, and finally for the entry-level market.
Although AMD didn’t say any specifics of the CPUs that will be launched, they mentioned that the first desktop CPUs based on the Bulldozer architecture will require a new CPU socket, called AM3+, which will also be compatible with current socket AM3 processors. Socket AM3+ CPUs, however, won’t be compatible with socket AM3 motherboards.
The Bulldozer architecture will have an equivalent of the Intel Turbo Boost technology, allowing the CPU to overclock itself if you are running CPU-intensive programs and if the thermal dissipation is still within specs.
Before talking about the internals of the Bulldozer architecture, let’s first talk about the instruction sets supported by this new architecture.