Processor architecture designs take years from initial conception to the first shipping CPU sliding out of the fab assembly. So it’s clear that AMD’s new CPU architecture has been in the works for some time. Whether that’s a problem or not vis à vis the competition isn’t yet known, since AMD isn’t yet talking about performance details.
What is known is that Barcelona—as AMD has dubbed this first iteration—isn’t so much a brand-new architecture as it is a highly refined, tweaked version of the existing AMD x86-64. Those tweaks are numerous and significant. It’s probably fair to suggest that Barcelona is to the current Opterons as Intel’s Core 2 is to the Pentium M—designed from the ground up, on a base of the old with a lot of new stuff rolled in. [Read on]