Randy Allen, VP of AMD's server and workstation division, told reporters and business partners gathered at a launch party Monday night that a 2.5-GHz version would ship in December. The first version is shipping to server manufacturers at 2.0 GHz. Server makers are expected to bring products to market in the fourth quarter.
Allen had said in previous interviews that the company planned to ramp up the clock speed quickly after the initial launch. But despite the expected boost, the AMD chip would still be behind rival Intel's fastest quad-core processor, which reaches clock speeds of 3 GHz.
The Monday night event was held at the Lucasfilm, the San Francisco production company owned by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. Nearly a dozen AMD partners either appeared on stage or in videos, congratulating the company for its latest milestone. Companies represented at the event included VMWare, Microsoft, Novell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, Appro International, Sun Microsystems, and Dell.
The latest Opteron chip, which had been codenamed Barcelona, is AMD's response to Intel's Xeon quad-core server processor, which has been shipping for about a year. Intel has versions for servers and desktops. AMD plans to ship its quad-core desktop version, codenamed Phenom, by the end of the year.
AMD claims its quad-core chip is more energy efficient and delivers a higher price-to-performance ratio than Intel's competing products. Analysts, however, have said AMD's new product places the company on par with its larger rival.
Initial sales are expected to be strongest among companies already using AMD dual-core processors in servers. That's because the company made sure that Barcelona could be plugged into the same socket, which means server manufacturers don't need to radically change the motherboard.
Because the chip fits into the same platform as the dual-core model, companies can get a significant performance boost on many workloads at the same amount of power consumption. In addition, the new chip has better virtualization features for consolidating servers.
Click here for am image gallery of the AMD launch event, featuring Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, and really cool quad-core chips.
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