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AMD Bulldozer only FMA4 and XOP instructions are supported by GCC

Intel still mute
Mon Nov 14 2011, 16:47

CHIP DESIGNER AMD claims to already have compiler support for the Bulldozer-only instructions in its latest processors.

AMD's Bulldozer Opteron 6200 series chips might be the firm's first 16-core processors but the firm has done a bit more than increase its maximum core count by four, adding two new instructions. Both 4200 series and 6200 series Opteron processors have AMD-only FMA4 and XOP instructions, and the firm told The INQUIRER that popular compilers including the GNU C Compiler (GCC) already support these instructions.

Andre Heidekruger, senior technical consultant for AMD EMEA said "most standard compilers will support FMA4 and XOP instructions", singling out GCC and AMD's own Open64 compiler. Heidekruger confirmed that Intel's compilers do not support the new instructions, which is no surprise since Intel does not support either instruction.

Heidekruger's comments signify how hard AMD has been working to build the tools developers need in order to make use of AMD's hardware. Currently there is no word on when Intel will incorporate FMA4 instructions into its Xeon silicon, but previously it was not included in the firm's upcoming Haswell architecture.

Intel is in the enviable position of waiting and monitoring the take-up of FMA4 and XOP before it decides to commit silicon behind them. AMD however could find itself with something of a lead, at least in vector and matrix multiplication workloads, if they haven't already been moved to GPGPUs. µ


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