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Tuesday, June 14, 2005
AMD Execs Lay Out Product Roadmap


AMD plans to deliver a package of security, virtualization and lower-power processing to its AMD64 platform by next year, plus a new core, faster Hyper Transport and DDR3 support by 2007, company executives said last week at a meeting with financial analysts in New York.

The chip maker aims to go toe-to-toe with rival Intel on delivering supporting and performance-enhancing technology to its processor lineup. AMD CEO Hector Ruiz told analysts that the company should get a boost by shedding its flash memory business in an upcoming spinoff.

"We believe we are putting together a solid foundation for the company," Ruiz said at the meeting. "It's clearly important in a company that's trying not only to transform itself, but transform the industry, that the foundation be very solid so you have the confidence in the things we're going to build going forward.

"We are sharpening our focus intensely," he added. "Going forward, this [microprocessor business] is the heart of the company."

AMD has struggled over the past two quarters, attributing its lacklustre financial performance to an erratic, price-pressured flash memory business. In the first quarter, the company lost US$17 million. However, AMD has been praised for its delivery of dual-core Opteron processors for servers and workstations, and last month the vendor began shipping the X2, its first dual-core processor for the desktop.

Besides Ruiz, several other AMD executives spoke to analysts, laying out the company's strategy for ramping up the performance and efficiency of its processors. Marty Seyer, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit in its Microprocessor Solutions Sector, delineated much of the company's road map through 2007.

Next year, AMD plans to add its Pacifica virtualisation technology and Presidio security technology to its Opteron and desktop processors. In 2006, the Opteron lineup is slated to begin shipping with Hardware RAID 5 technology and Serial SCSI, in addition to PCI Express 2 and a fault-tolerant I/O. And in 2007, AMD expects to add multicore capability to the Opteron, an L3 Cache and I/O virtualisation.

On the desktop, AMD next year aims to begin shipping dual-core processors with support for DDR2 memory, enhanced graphics technology called Aero Glass and lower-power performance. In 2007, the company plans to bring a new core to the desktop processors, as well as DDR3 support and larger caches.

And looking at the mobile side, AMD executives said they plan to introduce WiMax wireless support and six-hour battery life to the vendor's Turion 64 processor lineup by 2007.

Henri Richard, AMD's executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, also told analysts that the company is working to strengthen its channel.

"We're implementing a comprehensive, direct-marketing support program for our channel partners and [plan] to increase demand generation in support of our distributors," Richard said.


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