Skip to comments.AMD cuts 800m transistors from Bulldozer spec
Posted on 12/06/2011 8:37:55 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
AMD told extremetech.com that its Bulldozer core does not feature 2 billion transistors as previously reported, but rather 1.2 billion. The die size remained unchanged, at 315 square millimeters, so it turns out AMD is only counting transistors actually used by the chip. It seems the other 800 million are looking for work on craigslist and dreaming of moving out of their mom's basement. AMD attributed the whole issue to a simple error, but the move raised more questions than it answered.
On one hand, it means AMDs new architecture doesnt really need 2 billion transistors to attain decent performance, on par with mid range Intel chips. However, the chips die size and transistor density indicate that it does have shedloads of unused transistors. Exactly how and why a few hundred million unused transistors ended up on the chip is another question. Extremetech believes they are the result of a fully automated design process gone amok, resulting in an unusually high degree of overhead.
The difference is quite significant and the site worked out that each of Bulldozers eight cores consists of 60 million transistors rather than 91 million. AMD did not comment the issue which is already proving somewhat awkward.
However, we believe it is essentially a positive development for AMD, as it shows Bulldozer still has a lot of room for improvement, 800 million transistors more to be exact. Future iterations could feature a lot more efficient design on the same die size, provided AMD irons out its design process. Yes, we are looking at you Piledriver.
Are there just unused transistors...or are they there to slow things down?
Probably an honest mistake.
AMD’s big problem is moving all their production fabs from GF to TSMC. Vastly different design rules on the same 32nm process. 28nm is even worse.
If they don’t execute perfectly, they are going to be in serious trouble.
Maybe they want to take new RISCs in their line of business!
If they aren't being used, they won't slow things down. They will increase power consumption a bit, but power is mostly consumed by active gates that are actively switching.
Didnt they move away from GF because of yield issues?
Ya, I know, but it had to said! LOL!
from my desk at Intel
It is amazing how much they have shrank things, and with new tech to lower power consuption/heat generation and 3D transistor chips....
I dunno if there will be a wall that will be hit anytime soon....
As Carver Mead pointed out in the early 70’s, a regular array of transistors in a state variable machine is much, much easier to 100% test (and inspect/build) than a spaghetti logic layout.
The penalty is some percentage of unused transistors. The benefit is the darned thing works even with untested input signals.
Running bittorrent 24 hr days.
Yep. We actually do use transmutation as an industrial process.
The conversion of one chemical element into another.
Traditional alchemists turned lead into gold.
They were pikers.
From my desk at Intel in Fort Collins.
re: yield problems. I suspect so.
Contrary to advocates on all fronts, moving past 45nm is not trivial and until EUV lithography arrives (just before fusion power) :-), it will be hard for everyone.
Hehehe ... Chandler