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Thursday, November 30, 2006
AMD Demonstrates Its First Native Quad-Core X86 Server Processor

To accompany the launch of its dual-dual-core Quad FX platform, AMD on Thursday demonstrated its first native quad-core x86 server processor, achieving four x86 processing cores on a single die of silicon.

At the annual AMD Industry Analyst Forum, a server powered by four upcoming Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors (codenamed Barcelona), manufactured on 65nm silicon-on-insulator process technology, was shown utilizing all 16 cores. By delivering a consistent thermal envelope while adding two more processing cores, along with micro-architectural enhancements, AMD expects to significantly advance the performance-per-watt capabilities of AMD Opteron processors. AMD claims that Barcelona offers an overall performance increase of around 70% and a floating-point performance increase of up to 40% compared to current dual-core Opterons?and all within the same power envelope.

"We discussed quad-core requirements with our customers and their end users, and determined that, as we did with the introduction of dual-core x86 processors in 2005, only a native quad-core x86 server processor would excel in the broad set of dimensions that matter to our customers. With the introduction of native quad-core x86 processors in the second quarter of 2007, AMD plans to again deliver exceptional technology based on the same customer-centric design principles that steered the development of our award-winning AMD dual-core server, workstation, desktop and mobile processors," said Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, AMD.

Upgradeability from dual- to quad-core processors is expected to be as straightforward as it was from single- to dual-core with AMD, with unchanged thermal and electrical envelopes. The demonstration was an example of this. The reference server platform was upgraded to quad-core by replacing the server's existing DDR2-based AMD Opteron processors with the new Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors and updating the BIOS.

The upcoming AMD Opteron processors are based on AMD's Direct Connect Architecture, which reduces bottlenecks found in legacy front-side bus x86architectures and includes AMD's proven Integrated Memory Controller. These processors are designed to enhance I/O throughput and CPU-to-CPU communication, and to deliver increased performance with low power consumption and low memory latency.

Current DDR2-based AMD Opteron processor-based platforms should upgrade to native quad-core AMD processors without compromising performance, power or heat - helping to meet the changing and escalating demands of the enterprise customer.

Native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are also planned to feature enhanced AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology with nested page tables, promising world-class performance and advanced leadership in x86 virtualization, as well as energy-efficient DDR2 memory support.

AMD expects to begin shipping native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors that incorporate four processor cores on a single die of silicon to customers in mid-2007. The first AMD quad-core processor line-up introduced will be for the two- to eight-socket server and workstation market.

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