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12/14/2006
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AMD Updates Opteron, Turion Road Maps

AMD already had announced that its first native quad-core offering will come out in the middle of next year. That will be followed by Shanghai in the first half of 2008, which will feature HyperTransport 3.0.

AMD on Thursday updated its Opteron rollout road map, announcing a quad-core processor for one-socket servers and workstations, and putting a release date on the follow-up to its initial quad-core release, as well as its new mobile processor core.

AMD already had announced that its first native quad-core offering, code-named Barcelona, will come out mid-year in 2007. The processor will be aimed at two-socket and four-socket platforms.

At the company's annual analyst day in New York, Marty Seyer, senior VP of AMD's commercial business unit, laid out plans for filling out the Opteron product line, as well as adding to the company's mobile processor offerings.

That initial quad-core release will be followed in the first half of 2008 by the launch of Shanghai, its quad-core successor, according to Seyer. Shanghai is a code name for a processor that will feature HyperTransport 3.0, which provides high-speed chip-to-chip and board-to-board communications. Right now, the company's processors are using HyperTransport 1.0.

Shanghai, according to an AMD spokesman, also will have shared L3 cache, a third bank of memory on the processor for storing instructions. He said it also will have DDR2 (double data rate) options, which is a memory industry standard.

The spokesman said Barcelona and Shanghai, which are both members of the Opteron family, will have dual and quad cores.

Budapest will be a quad-core Opteron offering for one-socket servers and workstations. It also will offer HyperTransport 3.0. It's scheduled for release in mid-2007, as is Barcelona.

"We are, in fact, unleashing the processing powerhouse," said Phil Hester, a senior VP and chief technology officer at AMD.

Seyer also noted that Hawk, the code name for the upgrade to the Turion mobile processor, will feature DDR2 800, which will offer longer laptop battery life. It is slated to be released in mid 2007.

Griffin, a new mobile processor core, is set for a launch date in 2008, according to Seyer.

This new mobile processor is being designed to run at a lower voltage. It will have split power planes, which switch features or cores on the mobile CPU on and off in order to save power. For example, if a mobile worker is writing e-mail messages during a cross-country flight, the split power planes will power down parts of the CPU that aren't needed to lengthen the laptop's battery life.

Editor's note: Story was changed on Dec. 15 to correct the type of memory options the Shanghai chip will have.

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