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AMD Opteron quad-cores now broadly available

Posted: 14 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AMD chips? Opteron quad-cores? server processors?

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which had been forced to limit shipments of its quad-core Opteron processor because of a technical glitch, this week said it has made the chip broadly available to its sales channel partners.

In addition, AMD said Hewlett-Packard Co. is shipping ProLiant G5 servers powered by the new processors. The chipmaker released benchmarks for the new servers: the ProLiant DL385 G5, ProLiant DL585 G5 and ProLiant BL685c G5.

Code-named Barcelona, the server processor was introduced last September, but the defect forced AMD to make the chip available to only some key partners. The delay prompted questions as to whether AMD would be able to meet promises of maintaining market share against rival Intel Corp., which has been shipping quad-core server processors since last year.

The Barcelona release followed by two weeks AMD's introduction of four Phenom X4 quad-core processors for high-end PCs. The desktop chips are based on the same design as Barcelona.

AMD's delay in fully entering the quad-core server market has worried Wall Street. The company's stock has fallen from a 52-week high of more than $16 to about $6 per share.

This week, AMD reported that revenue fell 15 percent in Q1 from Q4 of last year. The company also said it would reduce its workforce by about 10 percent, which represents approximately 1,600 employees.

Financial analysts and investors will surely be watching Barcelona's performance in the general market against Intel's Xeon server processors. AMD has said during analyst meetings that the introduction of new products will drive the company back to profitability in the second half of this year. AMD has reported losses in the last five quarters.

AMD's Opteron line established the chipmaker as a competitive force in the server market against Intel from 2003 to 2006. AMD missteps, however, have resulted in the company giving up much of the market share it gained against Intel.

With a maximum clock speed of 2.3GHz, Barcelona is slower than Intel's Xeon chips. AMD, however, expects to boost the maximum clock speed to 2.5GHz with new chips in Q2. Barcelona does beat Xeon in other measures.

- Antone Gonsalves

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