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Thursday, April 21, 2005
AMD Launches Dual-Core Processors

The new Opteron processors are the 1.8GHz Model 865, the 2GHz Model 870 and the Model 875, which will have a clock speed of 2.2GHz.

Although the performance of dual-core systems is expected to be significantly greater than that of comparable single-core boxes, dual-core Opterons will have lower clock speeds than single-core chips. AMD's fastest single-core processor, Model 852, runs at 2.6GHz. If AMD had wanted to run its dual-core processors at a similar clock speed, the chips would have required much more power.

Instead, the dual-core chips will draw a maximum of 95 watts, the same amount of power used by single-core Opteron processors, said Ben Williams, vice president of AMD's server and workstation business. In fact, the dual-core Opterons are designed to be completely compatible with components designed for single-core processors.

The new 800 series processors will be available in volume as of Thursday, and AMD plans to begin shipping three dual-core 200 series processors late next month. These chips, which are designed for 2-way servers, will be followed later this year by 100 series processors as well as a number of low-power dual-core Opterons designed for the high-density server and embedded markets.

A dual-core processor for desktop users, called the Athlon 64 X2, will be launched in June, AMD said. It will ship in four models and will have clock speeds between 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz, the company said.

AMD and Intel have run a tight race to beat each other to market with their dual-core chips. The marketing blitz behind dual-core has turned out to be one of the more interesting aspects of this technology, said Kevin Krewell, editor-in-chief of Microprocessor Report.

Cray, Global supercomputer maker, announced that Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors would be an available option for its Cray XD1 supercomputers, as of this July.

They would also be supported by Cray XT3 supercomputers later in 2005. AMD?s 32- and 64-bit dual-core technology fits two processor cores on a single die, giving users of these Cray systems double the processing capacity in the same amount of space, with minimal increases in power consumption and heat levels.

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