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Computex 2014: AMD ‘ambidextrous’ Skybridge awaiting Intel’s Skylake?

What will a market showdown between AMD’s Skybridge and Intel’s Skylake look like?

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We saw the recent AMD announcements about its plans for upcoming high end “ambidextrous'” x86 and ARM processors. It’s likely, though, that the x86 portion of those developments will see some action in AMD’s mainstream PC APU chips as well. Since the estimated time at the earliest would be end of 2015, what would the much expected AMD’s promised return to the arena face at that moment?

Well, not Haswell that is this year; not Broadwell, which starts end of this year as well — it may be Skylake instead. Rumoured to be the first Intel core implementing 512-bit AVX SIMD extensions (similar to near future Xeon Phi versions), Skylake will be fully optimised for the 14nm process, and also have even stronger GPU portion both performance and die-portion wise, where “GT4” Iris Pro gets dedicated eDRAM L4 cache bandwidth help on many LGA 1151 desktop and mobile SKUs. The memory bandwidth help will be there through DDR4 memory support, except for the ultra low voltage tablet parts, where LPDDR3 will still be supported. And oh yes, there are further power savings compared to Haswell and Broadwell.

Even though desktop and mobile Skylake parts will still top out only at four cores and eight threads, their added CPU and GPU performance, plus net usable bandwidth improvements will make them a pretty tough competitor to fight for AMD’s new cores. Furthermore, since Skylake microarchitecture will likely be launched on everything from  two core tablets to 20+ core server parts during 2016, AMD will have to match that with scaled up parts for the whole spread, and that includes the optimised system level design — something sorely missed in current AMD server parts, for instance.

Nebojsa Novakovic
In the spare time over the past two decades, editor and writer of high-end computer hardware and design features and analysis for European and US media and analyst houses. Reviews of high end hardware are my specialty for 28 years already.

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