Interview with Papermaster

By: AM (, November 12, 2018 8:46 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Caught in a crunch again with no time for RWT left, just dropping in to share AT's interview with Mark Papermaster. I wish it was heavier on details overall, but it does have a few interesting tidbits, here are a few:

IC: With the FP units now capable of doing 256-bit on their own, is there a frequency drop when 256-bit code is run, similar to when Intel runs AVX2?

MP: No, we don’t anticipate any frequency decrease. We leveraged 7nm. One of the things that 7nm enables us is scale in terms of cores and FP execution. It is a true doubling because we didn’t only double the pipeline with, but we also doubled the load-store and the data pipe into it.

IC: You mentioned on stage that AMD has leapfrogging design teams. How do you manage keeping positive aspects of the design if the teams are out of sync with each other?

MP: So to be clear, we have one architecture team but two implementation teams. Best practices of architecture are shared from generation to generation. The implementation teams all work under the same internal organizational team, and we’ve done everything to lower the barrier of best practices and innovation sharing within those teams. If you look in the industry, often at times we see that companies end up with competing microprocessor design teams. I’m not a believer that that is the best way to get the best microprocessor. I think in order to get ahead you need parallel efforts, you have to partition the implementation, but I’m a big believer that you come out way ahead when the teams brainstorm together on the best approaches and microarchitecture changes for performance improvement.

IC: AMD has had a strong relationship with TSMC for many years which is only getting stronger with the next generation products on 7nm, however now you are more sensitive to TSMC’s ability to drive the next manufacturing generation. Will the move to smaller chiplets help overcome potential issues with larger or dies, or does this now open cooperation with Samsung given that the chip sizes are more along the lines of what they are used to?

MP: First off, the march for high performance has brought us to Zen 2 and the ability to leverage multiple technology nodes. What we’re showing with Rome is a solution with two foundries with two different technology nodes. It gives you an idea of the flexibility in our supply chain that we’ve built in, and gives you explicit example of how we can work with different partners to achieve a unified product goal. On the topic of Samsung, we know Samsung very well and have done work with them.
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