AMD Bulldozer due in first half of 2011

AMD could be launching its multi-threaded Bulldozer processors as early as the first half of next year, say industry sources.

According to semiconductor industry rumour-mill Fudzilla, AMD will be looking at shipping the Bulldozer-based processors, designed to find a home in many-core servers, in the first half of next year - despite earlier rumours that the chips wouldn't launch until towards the end of 2011.

AMD's director of servers John Fruehe is quoted as stating that OEMs and programme partners should receive sample quantities of the chips before the end of this year, and that internal testing of the new processor designs has been going extremely well.

AMD's Bulldozer-based Opteron line marks the continuation of an interesting trend in the server market: with the focus now on cloud computing, many OEMs are looking towards chips originally designed for portable devices - like Intel's Atom range and ARM's Cortex series - to cram many lower-powered cores into the same space and thermal envelope as a smaller amount of higher-clock-speed chips.

With AMD having been left out of the game thus far owing to a distinct lack of low-powered netbook-oriented processors - its Geode line for use in embedded computing projects being the closest released so far, but coming in at a significantly higher TDP than its competitors - Bulldozer is the company's attempt to ride the wave and take the battle to Intel with a many-core solution that isn't quite as power-hungry as the company's current Magny-Cours.

More details will hopefully be forthcoming during AMD's analyst conference call in November.