AMD on Friday said it plans to ship two versions of its Opteron quad-core processor, codenamed "Barcelona," in August: a standard version and a low-power one.
Advanced Micro Devices' Barcelona launch is significant for the chipmaker because Intel already has a strong quad-core presence. Intel is currently shipping at least nine quad-core Xeon processors as part of its 5300, low-voltage 5300, and 7300 series. More introductions are on the way. Intel is also ahead of AMD on the desktop, offering quad-core devices in its Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Extreme families. AMD's Phenom desktop quad-core processors are due to ship later this year.
This summer marks the first time AMD has made both standard and low-power parts available in a new processor launch, the company said in a statement. The quad-core processors will initially work in a range of speeds up to 2.0 GHz, but will be available in higher speeds later this year in both standard and special-edition versions.
AMD said the new processors are expected to increase performance up to 70% on certain database applications and up to 40% on floating point applications. AMD also said its higher-frequency processors are expected to add to the performance boost.
"With our upcoming quad-core processors, we have a feature that will provide improved performance for virtualization. As customers are consolidating servers down to fewer platforms using virtualization, quad-core will give them much better memory access, which is critical to consolidation," said John Fruehe, division manager for the server and workstation group at AMD, in an interview.
While the quad-core Opteron processors will be available in August, systems from AMD's partners will start shipping in September. AMD claims they're the world's first x86 CPUs to integrate four processing cores on a single chip. They're also backward-compatible with existing AMD Opteron platforms.