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AMD's 2012-2013 Roadmap Unveiled

AMD has released the roadmap for its processors - central and graphic - for the next couple of years, showing how discrete graphics as well as accelerated processing units (APU) will evolve.

The release came in three panels, the first titled "Client and Graphics roadmap." This one shows off how performance APUs, as well as Low power APUs and Ultra low Power APUs will be moved over to the 28nm platform by 2013. There's also a lot of talk about AMD's future twinning of the parallel processing of graphics processors units (GPU) with standard scalar processing of central processing units (CPU).

This is known as Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), and is the open platform that AMD plans to use as a replacement for its current Fusion architecture. It marries the GPU and CPU more than ever before and is expected to bring better performance with a reduced power output over current generations which vary from 40nm to 32nm at the smallest.

The biggest announcement on this slide though is that the new Southern Islands GPU was just the first of at least two revamps that the company's graphics line up would be going through. Sea Islands is coming in 2013 and it will bring another complete overhaul. To put this in perspective, before the 7000 series, the last comparable upheave in graphics design was with the 65nm 2000 series.

Hexus has copies of each slide, with the second titling itself as "AMD 2012 Client Roadmap." This one shows off how the chip maker's desktop and mobile processors will be evolving in 2012. Fortunately for Intel - which plans to release its 22nm Ivy bridge hardware sometime around April - AMD won't be getting past 32nm this year, leaving that until 2013. However, it will be offering reduced power requirements on mobile chips as well as releasing a line of performance desktop processors known as Vishera. These will feature 4-8 piledriver cores a piece. For AMD's sake I hope they have better single core performance than the first generation of Bulldozer chips released late last year.

The final slide shows off 2013. The high end FX Vishera CPUs will be maintained, but mainstream chips with 2-3 Steamroller cores will be introduced. Known as Kaveri, they will cut the die size to 28nm and feature a graphics core next GPU as well. These features are mirrored in the mobile option, known as Kabini, though it won't have the HSA support of Kaveri.

Throughout each slide it seems obvious that AMD are focusing heavily on open platforms in an attempt to increase the uptake of its new designs. This makes sense as the chip giant needs all the help it can get to recover some of its reputation in the mainstream and performance sectors, which took a hit with the botched release of the first Bulldozer chips.

However, even by 2013 AMD will still be lacking in terms of die size as 28nm is still a short jump behind Intel's Ivy Bridge 22nm chips. It'll be interesting if those few nanometres make a big difference in power and cooling requirements.