There is a lot being talked about small cores at ISSCC 2013, which is still going on. So far some first bits of information have made their way out of it, for example about the voltage regulation and power management in Intel's Haswell MPU. Another presentation gave us many details of AMD's Compute Unit (CU) based on four Jaguar cores. This is especially interesting, as Jaguar cores seem to be an important component of next gen XBox and Playstation rumours. 3DCenter once made a nice overview of these rumours (see link below), which still seem to be changing or popping up on a weekly basis. So if Jaguar is meant to be included in one of the next gen consoles' processing units, this might happen in the form of such a compute unit. Let's have a look at it.
To put that into perspective, I show you these two pictures at original scale (as long as your browser is at 100% zoom and has the correct info about the screens DPI):
The left image shows a collection of several well known cores (made by Hans de Vries):
The second image is an photoshopped version of the 4 core Jaguar Compute Unit as depicted at AMD's ISSCC presentation:
Update: This CU with four cores, 2 MB L2 and additional logic measures 26.2 mm˛ (excl. the logic in the upper left), which is less than the area of a 32 nm Piledriver Module. According to leaked quad core Kabini models with TDP ratings of 15 to 25 W (which might result in 8 to 15 W SCP according to Intel's definition) these CUs might consume around half of this power with no turbo mode or power distribution engaged. For such a rumoured next gen console with 8 Jaguar cores, two of these CUs would have to be included. This could go with additional memory channels to remove any potential bottleneck. Those CUs might be memory channel agnostic to allow their use beyond planned Kabini/Temash (not Tamesh!) SKUs.
AMD "Jaguar" Micro-architecture Takes the Fight to Atom with AVX, SSE4, Quad-Core
Jaguar - The New Low Power CPU-Core From AMD (translated)
AMD presents Jaguar Quad Module at ISSCC (translated, with galleries containing ALL slides)
A nice collection of Kabini/Temash information by user vain at SemiAccurateForums
At the Sony PlayStation event tomorrow, we might hear a bit more about what they will actually include into their next console. To be prepared, there are some links covering these rumours:
More rumoured details by Xbitlabs
Raw GPU performance (submetrics) of current and next gen consoles
Overview of many of the recent next gen console rumours at 3DCenter.org:
A lot of background information about stacked memory, AMD, etc. at Neogaf forums
More on that regarding AMD, PS4 by the same poster
BTW, in my personal opinion I see the possibility to get enough gaming performance out of 8 Jaguar cores supported by enough GPU compute power and memory bandwidth (stacking and/or huge caches). An unchanged hardware spec over the life cycle of a console also helps here develop optimized code for a fixed platform. This also worked in the past. But if there is a need for high single or low thread count performance, other CPU cores might fit better here, even Steamroller. But this should be the topic of a different blog posting.