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AMD Brings Back Athlon K8 Designer as Chief Architect

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the alpha-king-of-architectures dept.

AMD 63

MojoKid writes with exciting news from AMD. From the article: "After more than six months of high-to-mid profile executive departures, AMD has major news to announce on its new executive hire — and he's a welcome addition. Starting today, Jim Keller will serve as a Vice President and the company's Chief Architect for CPU Cores. Keller has spent more than thirty years in the semiconductor business, including a few at AMD. When AMD brought members of DEC's Alpha team aboard in the late 1990s, Keller was one of the CPU architects that came along. Having worked on Alpha's EV5, Jim was lead architect on the first K8 project. Keller moved on and eventually became one of the core members of PA Semi which was bought by Apple in 2007."

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From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843377)

Let's hope he will guide the development team to squeeze as much performance per-core rather than slap more and more cores....

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844063)

I think you need both. You need both, good multi-core, scalable chip *and* efficient cores.

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#40844299)

The question is, can he turn the company around? I've seen a noticeable gap in the offerings from AMD in recent months, and given past performance, have wondered WTH has been going on. I say this is someone who is running on a FX-8150: where is my upgrade path when Intel bangs out something new?

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844349)

^ +1
A large number of efficient, well-managed cores per CPU would put AMD back in a spot to compete with Intel's hyper-threading technology (I can dream, right?) Let's just hope he leaves the Apple culture behind...

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (2)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#40845619)

Poo on efficiency; I want to be able to use my computer as a space heater, like I did with my Athlon XP!

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40846653)

Intel Pentium IV's should be cheap these days, they're even more efficient. If you've got money to burn, there's always the Itanic. See, Intel takes care of their customers.

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40851853)

Yes, because the P4 was so much more efficient. Oh, wait...

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40852093)

NetBurst was way better for BTUs

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#40844233)

rather than slap more and more cores....

Yes, more performance per core is always good since some imporatne tasks are inherently serial, and almost certainly impossible ti parallelize.

However, if your workload is parellelisable, then AMD provide some very good options. If you're buying a dual or quad socket machine, then you're going to get at a mimumum 8 cores, (probably more like 12, 16, 24 or 32), which means that you expect your workload to be quite parallel (if not, you'd be best off dumping all the money into a single socket overclocked i7 of some sort).

For nicely parallel solutions, AMD often provide better bang for the buck, (even if you include 5 year cooling and power costs).

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40853947)

Yeah, it was all YO DAWG! for a while there...

Re:From "more cores" mantra to "smarter cores" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40856599)

Or cranking up the clock rate. Right now they deserve to eat crow and take some Pentium 4 style jokes...

I'm waiting for the next version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843381)

The K-9, I hear it's a real dog!

Re:I'm waiting for the next version (4, Insightful)

thsths (31372) | about 2 years ago | (#40843893)

Haha, the K10 is long out, and while not bad, it is no where near as revolutionary as the K8. Of course the K8 was competing against the P4, which could be called a dog or an easy target.

If he can repeat what he did with the K8 (and if it was indeed due to his leadership), than AMD again has a chance. If not, they will end up like VIA and all the other Intel competitors, somewhere in a niche market.

Re:I'm waiting for the next version (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about 2 years ago | (#40843985)

*wooosh*

Re:I'm waiting for the next version (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40845227)

Meet K-9 [evtrib.com] ...

good post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843507)

my classmate's step-sister makes $69/hr on the internet. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her payment was $15154 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web site http://nxy.in/1dvsl

Re:good post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844817)

69/hr? What is she, a cam whore?

Re:good post (2)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 2 years ago | (#40846067)

At $69/hr she would have worked 11hr/day 5 days per week to earn that money. That's not really a few hours.

Re:good post (1)

willy_me (212994) | about 2 years ago | (#40848247)

They're worried because their web server can't handle much traffic. This filters the prospective suckers based on mental ability ensuring that only those deemed worthy will apply.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843611)

They're getting the band back together.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40843659)

*Chicago* They're on a mission from God */Chicago*

Re:Obligatory (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40847009)

Protip: if you want to make a <Chicago> tag, use &lt;Chicago>

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843851)

Just as long as it doesn't suck like Blues Brothers 2000 did...

adv (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40843779)

as Joseph replied I am amazed that some one can profit $7826 in one month on the computer. did you see this site link http://goo.gl/UUZFR

interesting loss from the other side (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40843825)

Keller didn't just accidentally end up at Apple as the result of the purchase of PA Semi; the consensus is that PA Semi were specifically bought to acquire the team led by Keller, moreso than Apple caring about the company itself (i.e. it was what startups these days like to call an "acquihire"). Keller headed the A4/A5 design at Apple (the system-on-a-chip in the iPhone and iPad), so there's now a noticeable staffing gap if they plan to continue in-house development of their mobile chips.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (3, Interesting)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40844295)

Besides that this guy designed the K8, one of the most under-rated chips of all time, and set the direction for AMD that led to the AMD64 chip that had Intel flubbing about looking for an answer for nearly two whole years from a company that at the time was struggling to stay afloat.

AMDs entire cash-on-hand balance can be nearly directly credited to this man.

I'm not what you'd call a fanboy, but I am a fan of AMD products(in particular since they acquired ATI). Lets hope this guy can bring some of the bang back.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

GungaDan (195739) | about 2 years ago | (#40844413)

Wasn't that the K6 and K6II that preceded the AMD64 and early dual-core Athlons? K8, IIRC, was the disappointment known as "Phenom."

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#40844567)

Phenom is the K10.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844607)

The k8 was athlon64. Personally I'd argue there was a period from around k6 where AMD were the better buy, but I believe there is a consensus that k8 was significantly ahead at the time, possibly beause they were amazing, possibly because Intel just wasn't executing. I'm not sure if one man will change the game, but heres hoping AMD rise to the challenge sooner than later.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844631)

K8 is Athlon 64, Phenom is K10.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844787)

K6/K6-II were "competitors" to the Pentium 2/3 (or, to the Celerons of that era). K7 was the Athlon, the competitor to the P3/P4. K8 was the Athlon 64, the "competitor" to the Prescott Pentium 4 (or, it destroyed the P4 in performance, cost, bang per buck and power usage). The K9 was the Athlon X2, which destroyed the Pentium D and was destroyed by the Core2. Phenom was the K10.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40846581)

Officially there was no K9. AMD eventually skipped that number because of the dog jokes. However before work was started on K10 they used to have a K9 design by called Greyhound in the pipeline. Supposedly Greyhound was cancelled.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (3, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40845229)

Besides people correcting you, the Phenom and Phenom II chips were by no means "bad" excepting a few pricing faux-pahs where they priced new parts too high for their relative performance out of the gates.

There are actually very few(nearly none) video games out there that max out any CPU these days. Its all GPU now. The physics engines pretty much do as much as they are going to and all thats left is to make it shinier.

I bought my FX4100 purely because of how quiet I can make this thing run. The loudest thing in it is the 800 RPM PSU fan and the computer is overclocked.

Which actually brings me to a pet-peeve about bulldozer. They've underclocked these chips by a LOT. Its actually ridiculous what they've done to themselves. This computer idles at room temp and hits maybe 40 Celcius under load on chip temp, and its overclocked about 600 MHZ which yields something like a 25% total increase in performance. In other words its competitive with an I5 or low end I7s for $100 or more less cost. The best part is any idiot can overclock it with one of these new UEFI boards from Asus, they don't even have to know how to install software or navigate a bios by keyboard.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848473)

You fail to take into account how overclockable Intel chips are. They regularly hit 4.5-5 GHz with decent air cooling.

No AMD chip in the same price range come close to matching them when overclocked.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

mellyra (2676159) | about 2 years ago | (#40849317)

There are actually very few(nearly none) video games out there that max out any CPU these days. Its all GPU now.

MMOs are more popular than ever and are very CPU heavy - RIFT has to be one of the worst CPU hogs I know (my 2.8 GHz Phenom II x4 is at the very bottom-end of acceptable processors and even WoW did profit from going 64bit in benchmarks (definitely not due to memory but 32bit WoW does not require SSE2 iirc - so the performance gain is probably a mix between being able to rely on more modern instruction sets and having more registers available).

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40850235)

Rift was running at 60 fps on my 3800+ AMD Athlon X2 with a 4890 Video card attached on pretty high settings, all I had to do was turn shadows down. As such, I find your claims incredibily hard to believe, and I keep that board and processor around purely because of folks like you. It may say that on the requirements for the game but the game itself in no way requires that.

WoW after updates runs the same.

EVE Online is BY FAR the biggest CPU hog out there because largeish portions of its GFX engine still run on the CPU and a 3800+ can still handle it, DDR400 and all. The only thing it can't handle are the new Shogun II game and a few others like it. Things with shedloads of physics calcs.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40850471)

Yup. They were designed for high clocks and run very well at high clocks. It's purely TDP that keeps AMD from spec'ing them for much higher clocks.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40853885)

See, I wouldn't think TDP would be a problem. If I was willing to let the proc run at 50 celcius under load, which was previously the norm for AMD I'd probably have it cruising well north of 4 ghz.

Is it just that an unacceptable amount of the chips due to some manufacturing flaws wouldn't be able to sustain those clocks?

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40857649)

The 8-cores are thermally limited. I have an 8150 that has high leakage, i.e. runs HOT. It's a GloFo process issue.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40862669)

They've sold themselves incredibly short on their 4 core chips then. Very few(if any) apps make use of more than 4, and those that do see very limited benefit from increasing the number of cores.

They could have had a dazzler on their hands in their 4-core line. I'm saying the business-marketing assholes caused this because "But but 8 cores obviously has to be faster than 4!!!! We need to limit the 4 core so the 8's are faster... mhmmm."

Its either that or an incredibly inept design dept. Either of these things Keller would be a solution to.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40845653)

Dang, boy! For someone with such a low UID, you must have been around in the days of Socket 7! How'd you fuck that up?!

Re:interesting loss from the other side (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#40844765)

K8, one of the most under-rated chips of all time

You misspelled "kept from market dominance by illegal abuse of monopoly by intel".

Re:interesting loss from the other side (4, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40845097)

I did. Thank you for fixing that for me.

If it wasn't for pre-existing exclusivity deals and pushes against it by intel at the time Intel probably would have been forced to burn through their entire cash-on-hand supply to catch up rather than just half of it.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40853991)

I'm not sure AMD would have been able to supply that many CPUs. If I remember correctly AMD started pricing them quite high and didn't go for marketshare.

I doubt AMD could have burnt off Intel's cash back then. If AMD can survive so long against Intel, Intel would be able survive even longer against AMD.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848329)

Kanye voice:

" I know your good Intel 3930k, but AMD K8 was the best chip of all time!"

  However the guy is a god. People knew back when AMD aquired the DEC alpha team he was a god. Hes a rockstar in the semiconductor world. Time to buy AMD stock.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#40849229)

Thank you for injecting a random bit of allegation into the conversation. Out of interest (sincerely), can you back that up?

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40852119)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-20011430-64.html

There ya go

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40847083)

I'm not what you'd call a fanboy, but I am a fan of AMD products(in particular since they acquired ATI). Lets hope this guy can bring some of the bang back.

That's funny. The ATI acquisition is the exact moment I stopped being a fan of both AMD and ATI products. Not because of the acquisition directly, just seems both product lines went downhill around this time.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 2 years ago | (#40847803)

The A8-3850 plays The Old Republic at medium settings at 1920x1080 at around 40-50 fps, with 8GB RAM. The whole buildout cost a couple hundred bucks, using the on-processor video card. I'd hardly call that "downhill". Uses tiny amounts of power compared to what you get out of it. No stutter doing just about anything. Now, granted, I can't play Skyrim at max settings, but it provides solid performance at a good price.

I'm actually quite glad that they quit fighting for the "OMG WE HAVE THE BEST $1000 PROCESSOR" slot and started making really solid mid-range gear. Since that's what I buy. And what most people buy.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848853)

Sure you can point to APUs as a positive from AMD, but I think you know I meant their desktop CPUs. Power savings is not an area I really care about in my desktop gaming computer. The only thing I care about is as much processing power as I can get. AMD has not competed with Intel in this area since K8.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Wolfrider (856) | about 2 years ago | (#40861031)

Well, I certainly hope he can help them out - since I remember the K6 was one of the worst abortions I've ever seen for a CPU chip. Honestly, it was pretty godawful. Nothing against AMD the company tho, but I really wish their Linux drivers were at least up to PAR with Nvidia's.

Re:interesting loss from the other side (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about 2 years ago | (#40862871)

The K6-2 was actually a better performer than the Pentium II. The K6's problem was that Intel was already up to their shenanigans in those days and sprung SSE on the marketplace while AMD knew nothing about it but pretty much every other tech company had been told about it and forced to abide by NDAs etc in exchange for access and some kick backs from Intel.

The K6 itself on raw performance metrics and stability trounced the Pentium it just wouldn't RUN certain programs and in particular most games of the day at all thanks to a lack of SSE support. Flubbing of the fallout by AMD in an attempt to tack on software support for SSE further exacerbated the problem and caused a lot of harm to the brand by giving the K6 a reputation as a very unstable processor, which it wasn't, the tacked on SSE was.

Yay! (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#40843953)

Go design some awesome CPU's and bring back the competition between Intel and AMD!

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844043)

Yep, AMD just has chinese people pinching logs off in their boxes and calling them CPUs.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40844461)

I for one enjoy my dropteron.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40850321)

Unfortunately AMD is a few generations behind at this point... Good luck LOL

SWEET! (1)

buggsdummy (2698599) | about 2 years ago | (#40845921)

Do it to it!! The faithful still agree AMD > INTEL

Re:SWEET! (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#40846133)

Disagree. Besides killing amd in the cpu relm, its pretty much killing them in the open source graphics department too. Intel gets their drivers released *before* the actual hardware. Thats good stuff man.

Re:SWEET! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40847365)

How hard is it for Intel to write a driver for a GPU that has a smaller feature set and lower perofrmance standards?

Re:SWEET! (3, Funny)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 2 years ago | (#40847823)

Well, to be fair, Intel doesn't have to write drivers that work at over 15 fps...

Re:SWEET! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#40849417)

Funny, and kind of true. In windows, AMD blows the crap out of intel graphics, always. On linux, well the southern islands Chips from amd still don't work after 6 mounths. With the pre SI chips, Intel and AMD swap benchmark victories. with AMD's varying wildly depending on the exact chip. Intel is just more consistant across the board. Supposedly AMD will do a better job of that starting with the next generation, but we'll have to wait and see.

Semi-Accurate comments (1)

steveha (103154) | about 2 years ago | (#40847929)

All in all, this is a good thing for AMD, and not nearly so good for Apple. The litany of execs leaving AMD of late has caused SemiAccurate to say that nothing good can come of this far too often for our liking lately. This time, all we can say is that a lot of good can and will come of this. Jim Keller is one of the good ones, and you don't leave directorships at Apple without a damn good reason.

http://semiaccurate.com/2012/08/01/apples-cpu-architect-jim-keller-moves-back-to-amd/ [semiaccurate.com]

P.S. I liked the subheading: "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave AMD"

steveha

Now we wait (1)

Ratchet (79516) | about 2 years ago | (#40851903)

The problem now is it'll take 2 or 3 or maybe even 4 years for this guys work to show up. Hopefully he'll help AMD turn the corner, but Intel won't exactly be sitting around waiting for them to catch up.

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