AMD Road Map Spans Servers To Mobile Phones - InformationWeek

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AMD Road Map Spans Servers To Mobile Phones

With no intention of making major cuts in operations, the company's strategy is to break even by the fourth quarter starting with the release of its quad-core chip, code-named Barcelona.

Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday unveiled a product roadmap it hopes will help turn the company around after nearly $1.8 billion in net losses in the last three quarters.

The chipmaker on Thursday rolled out its plans for microprocessors that meet the needs of hardware ranging from servers and high-performance computers to mobile phones and consumer electronics. With no intention of making major cuts in operations, the company's strategy to break even by the fourth quarter is simple: "We'll sell a hell of a lot more (product)," Robert J. Rivet, chief financial officer for AMD, said during a half-day meeting with technology analysts and reporters.

The first order of business is to make a comeback against its larger competitor, Intel, which through pricing and an aggressive product road map of its own has regained the market share it lost to AMD in 2006. To get back in the race, AMD plans to ship for revenue this quarter Barcelona, the code name for its first quad-core processor. Intel has been shipping quad-core products for a year.

Barcelona will fall under AMD's Opteron server line, and will initially be available in two versions: a lower power, 55-watt version with a clock speed of 1.9 GHz, and a standard edition 95-watt version at 2 GHz, Randy Allen, VP of AMD's Server and Workstation Division, told the gathering. A high-performance version at 2.3 GHz will be available in the fourth quarter.

Also set for release this year is Budapest, the code name for a quad-core Opteron that will find its way into one-socket servers and workstations. For the desktop, AMD plans to ship quad-core Phenom. A sample 3-GHz version of the processor was demonstrated on Thursday.

In the first half of 2008, AMD plans to ship Budapest's successor, Shanghai, which will feature common standard HyperTransport 3.0 technology. The latest version is expected to provide high-speed chip-to-chip and board-to-board communications. Shanghai also will have shared Level 3 cache, which is a third bank of memory on the processor for storing instructions.

Barcelona, Budapest, and Shanghai will have dual and quad cores, AMD said.

In 2009, AMD plans to ship its next-generation platform Sandtiger, an eight-core server processor made with a 45-nanometer manufacturing process. Most AMD chips today are built with a 65-nm process, which is less energy efficient. Intel plans to ship its first 45-nm chips by the end of the year.

AMD early next year is set to release its first processor built from the ground up for laptops. The planned Griffin CPU and chipset are collectively known as Puma, which is expected to place AMD about even with Intel in mobile computer platforms.

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