April 7, 2005 8:10 PM PDT

AMD's dual-core Opteron due this month

Advanced Micro Devices is expected to launch new Opteron chips later this month that combine dual processing engines on a single slice of silicon, CNET News.com has learned.

AMD will announce at an event on April 21 in New York that the first dual-core Opteron processors are available, months ahead of schedule, sources familiar with the situation said. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker also is expected to announce its dual-core chips for personal computers will go on sale in June.

In an attempt to encourage rapid adoption, AMD will sell some of the new chips at the same prices as the corresponding single-core models they'll replace, a source familiar with the products said. The company is expected to first release its high-end and more expensive 800 series Opterons, which are geared for servers with four or eight chips, with lower-end 200 series models coming in May.

The Opteron availability date is ahead of the company's summer launch schedule, but AMD Chief Executive Hector Ruiz hinted that manufacturing was going well, saying in February, "Sometimes things happen and you might do better."

AMD didn't immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.

AMD has historically followed Intel in the market for x86 processors such as Pentium. But with Opteron, AMD has led its larger rival in some important ways. Opteron was the first to bring 64-bit extensions that make it easy for x86 chips to accommodate more than 4GB of memory, a feature that only arrived in all Intel's rival Xeon processor models in March.

The chipmaker is trying to press its advantage with dual-core technology, which increases a chip's processing power considerably as long as software has been optimized to take advantage of the feature. Intel's dual-core chips for high-end and low-end servers are scheduled to arrive in early 2006, though its first dual-core desktop chips are slated to ship by the end of June.

Taking on Intel is tough, though. Despite Opteron's head start of more than a year, sales of Intel servers with 64-bit Xeon processors quickly surpassed those of Opteron machines in 2004, according to Gartner. And Intel persuaded a major partner, Dell, from slipping into the AMD camp.

AMD may have lost Dell, but things are looking up when it comes to the three other major server manufacturers--in particular with IBM, which was the first of the big four to endorse Opteron but which lately has promoted the chip far less aggressively than Hewlett-Packard or Sun Microsystems.

At the launch, IBM is expected to announce a new blade server using the Opteron processors, sources familiar with the plan said. Previously, IBM has used only Intel's Xeon and its own PowerPC 970 in its thin blade servers. IBM didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Expected pricing for the processors ranges from $851 for the Opteron 265 to $1,299 for the Opteron 275. For more powerful chips in the 800 series, prices range from $1,514 for the Opteron 865 to $2,649 for the Opteron 875.

3 comments

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Won't outsell them, but will annoy them.
AMD might not outsell Intel, but the lower price will put pressure on their counterpart. Intel cant be happy about AMD pricing any duel core the same as a single core chip, it undercuts what they must have hoped would be a boost to their bottom line.

But then Intel hasnt held the imitative for several years.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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Pls check your facts before posting
Facts you might want to check again:

1) Intel has priced their Dual core chips on par with their single-core chips. AMD is just following Intel's lead on the pricing aspect.

2) AMD has done such a good job with Athlon, that the price disparity between Intel and AMD has pretty much evaporated at this point - because the demand for those chips are just that high! So I don't think AMD "keeping" Intel's price down - because if they did, the would be releasing these chips at discount - which they aren't.

If you have to give AMD credit, give them credit for:
1) Pushing the adoption of 64bit X86 computing mainstream - ahead of Intel's artificially slow schedule.
2) Releasing a truly integrated dual-processor core ahead of Intel. Intel's part is really two cores packaged as one - though a more integrated one is coming out soon as well.

What remains to be seen is if AMD can match Intel's level of discipline in manufacturing and quality control. AMD has a good track record of covering up manufacturing, packaging and QA gaffe's in the past.

Either way, if you should give AMD credit, give them credit where it's due - rather than writing a boring, re-treaded fan-boy post. This is a no-nonesense tech forum.
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
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AMDer
Not that I have any problems with Intel, but it amazes me that people still think Intel is king of the hill.

I was talking to a computer store owner about Intel and AMD and he still clings to the idea that AMD is slower, hotter, and less reliable than Intel. Of course I don't buy computers from him, but it just amazes me that someone who sell computers still thinks that way. AMD is as reliable, if not more than, as Intel. Comparing the P4 to Athlon 64, AMD runs cooler (although there is some room for argument there). As far as speed goes, we all know AMD is kickin' butt and taking names. And you can't beat the price.

To be fair though, when Intel desides to move the Mobile Pentiums into the desktop market full blast, I think we are really going to see some fierce competition between AMD and Intel. By that I mean the previous comparison probably won't hold any water at all. It will be a more apples to apples comparison.

However compititon is good. So I say keep up the good work to AMD, Intel, IBM, VIA, and Transmeta. Someday we may have lots of viable choice in hardware and software.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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