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1/25/2006
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AMD To Demo Quad-Core Processors On Current Server Platform

Advanced Micro Devices is promising that no platform change will be required to move to its next-generation quad-core processors. And to prove it, AMD plans to demonstrate the technology in the middle of this year.

Advanced Micro Devices is working to ensure that no platform change will be required to move from its next-generation dual-core processors to quad-core processors.

When AMD rolls out dual-core processors with built-in virtualization hooks midyear, the company also aims to show that quad-core processors can also run on the same socket on that platform, said Marty Seyer, senior vice president of AMD's Commercial Business and Performance Computing, Microprocessor Solutions Sector unit. AMD executives said the chip maker is working with its third-party vendors to ensure that the same socket that will be used for its forthcoming dual-core processors supporting DDR2 memory will also work for its quad-core processors, expected to be released in 2007.

AMD previously used the same platform to move from single-core processors to dual-core processors. As in that transition, solution providers will need only to flash the bios to run quad-core on the new dual-core motherboards, Seyer said.

AMD grabbed the attention of solution providers and their corporate customers last year when it introduced Opteron dual-core processors, months before market leader Intel. The processors, with their built-in memory controller and lower power requirements than competing Intel chips, have received high marks from solution providers. SuperMicro, a white-box server maker and long-time Intel partner, picked up AMD for the first time in 2005 and this week joined AMD's Validated Server Program.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, AMD's x86 server market share rose 29 percent to 16.4 percent, according to Mercury Research.

AMD is slated midyear to unveil its next-generation dual-core processors, which will include virtualization hooks and support for DDR2 memory. Intel also is slated to unveil its own offering--server CPUs and a new platform--during the same time period.

At a recent financial briefing with analysts, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini suggested that the chip giant will regain market share it lost to AMD when it releases new processors in the second half of the year. Those processors are expected to run at lower power thresholds and will include hardware-supported virtualization. Intel's virtualization technology is already shipping now in some dual-core processors.

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