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4/9/2008
03:13 PM
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AMD Makes Quad-Core Opteron Broadly Available

The chipmaker also said that Hewlett-Packard is shipping ProLiant G5 servers powered by the quad-core Barcelona processor.

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

In addition, AMD said Hewlett-Packard 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, 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 personal computers. 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.

On Monday, AMD reported that revenue fell 15% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of last year. The company also said it would reduce its workforce by about 10%, 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 2.3 GHz, Barcelona is slower than Intel's Xeon chips. AMD, however, expects to boost the maximum clock speed to 2.5 GHz with new chips in the second quarter. Barcelona does beat Xeon in other measures.

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