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8/22/2005
02:59 PM
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AMD Challenges Intel With New Opterons

AMD plans a fall release of two new multiprocessing-capable versions of its dual-core Opteron processor. The processors will compete with an upcoming Intel chip, called Paxville.

On the eve of the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), which begins Tuesday in San Francisco, the dual-core duel between Intel and AMD shows no sign of cooling off.

In what looks like a stab at IDF counter-programming, AMD on Monday put out the word that it's planning a Fall release for two new multiprocessing-capable versions of its dual-core Opteron processor. The processors will compete with an upcoming Intel part, called Paxville.

"Before they're able to even get Paxville out, we're going to get the next highest performing Opteron dual core parts out in the third quarter," said Patrick Patla, AMD's director of server and workstation marketing. "Those are going to be Opteron models 280 and 880."

Both processors will run at 2.4 GHz. Two Opteron 280s can be used together to create a four-way multiprocessing system. The Opteron 880 can be used in either a four- or eight-socket configuration, enabling eight- or 16-way multiprocessing, respectively.

Intel last week moved up the availability date of Paxville from 2006 to something later this year. Paxville is a version of Intel's Xeon server processor family, fitted with dual cores and, like the new Opteron, capable of powering multiprocessing systems.

It's possible that Intel may nail down that date further Tueday at IDF. Intel officials in transit to IDF hadn't responded to a request by TechWeb for comment at posting time.

AMD officials clearly expect Intel to emphasize Paxville at IDF. "They [Intel] need to make a big deal about dual-core and Paxville, because they need to make it sound like they invented dual core," said Patla. "We're going to remind the market very heavily that they did not, and that we own the performance crown."

"The Opteron solution definitely has a lot of advantages," said Kevin Krewell, editor of The Microprocessor Report. "I would say that Paxville is still holding to Intel's traditional infrastructure of a front-side bus and an external memory controller. While that's good, it's getting a bit long in the tooth. Everyone else has integrated the memory controller on-chip, a la Opteron."

However, Krewell expects Intel to move to an on-chip memory controller in its next generation design, which will likely be available by 2007.

Separately, AMD on Tuesday announced two new 64-bit mobile processors. The new Turion 64 mobile parts are denoted the MT-40 and the MT-37. The two devices join an existing lineup consisting of 10 Turion 64 devices. The MT-40 and MT-37 are priced at $359 and $268, respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities.

AMD said the two processors are already available in the Envy Featherweight and Envy Middleweight notebook computers from VoodooPC.

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