AMD plans 12-core processor for early 2010

Here’s yet another sign that we’ve swapped the megahertz wars for the core wars. AMD wants to double its already ambitious core count from six to 12 on server and workstation processors within the next 12 months.

During this week’s earnings announcement the company revealed that it had not only brought forward the release of its six-core Istanbul processor to June but wanted to ship eight-core and 12-core processors by early next year.

However this 12-core beast known by the oddball codename of “Magny-Cours” will be built by strapping together a pair of six-core Instanbul chips. The following year AMD expects to shift from a 45nm to 32nm process.

On the mobile side of the fence AMD recommitted to its strategy to chase the potentially explosive market for ‘thin and light’ consumer notebooks.

CEO Dirk Meyer said that the company’s Yukon ‘ultrathin notebook’ platform – which aims to partner budget-priced silicon with ATI graphics sufficient for 1080p HD video and low-impact ‘casual gaming’ – would move to dual-core by the middle of this year.

The double-barrel chip dubbed Congo would be offered to notebook manufacturers alongside the single-core Neo.

This sets AMD on a collision course against Intel’s release of its ‘Ultra‘ processor which has the exact same market in its sights. The processor and several ‘thin and light’ Ultra-class notebooks from leading brands including Asus and HP are tipped for the spotlight at Taiwan’s Computex trade show in the first week of June.