AMD's Fusion construction project takes shape

Bulldozer and Bobcat are the code names for AMD's Fusion processors, which will integrate the PC processor and the graphics processor in 2009.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
2 min read

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--AMD's Fusion chip will come in two varieties, one for PCs and servers and another for consumer electronics devices.

Bulldozer is the code name for the Fusion chip that will be designed for everything from servers to handhelds, said Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer. Bobcat is the name for a sub 10-watt x86 chip that AMD believes can power ultramobile PCs, cell phones and existing consumer electronics chips using the ARM or MIPS architectures.

You call in a bulldozer when you need a lot of earth moved in a short amount of time, Hester said. That's the idea for Bulldozer, in that it's the design that AMD wants to form the basis of its server and PC chips by the end of the decade. Bulldozer will be part of the "Falcon" PC platform that also includes an integrated memory controller, a graphics processor, cache memory and a PCI Express controller.

Bobcats, however, can be found in back yards and smaller spaces where you don't want to use a shovel, but you can't get away with a bulldozer. (I've always wanted to tool around in a Bobcat for a few hours.) These chips represent AMD's hope for getting x86 chips into handheld devices.

While x86 chips rule the PC market, it's really hard to find one in a smart phone. Both Intel and AMD are very interested in figuring out how to get their silicon inside this fast-growing part of the tech industry, and Hester thinks x86's time will come as software for handsets grows more powerful and the chips themselves become more power-efficient.

Hester also revealed a few more details about Sandtiger, the code name for AMD's 2009 server chip disclosed earlier in the morning. Sandtiger will use between 8 and 16 Bulldozer cores, but AMD might build smaller versions to take advantage of certain cases in which 4 cores make more sense, he said.