Thursday, January 05, 2006

AMD should release quad-core in 2006

AMD's CTO Phil Hester, in his interview by CNET, derided INTEL for sending out development versions of future chips, such as Paxville and Dempsey for review. He said what AMD has in development is two or more steps ahead of current dual core Opteron. AMD is set to release quad-core Opterons by 2007.

The situation is indeed troubling for INTEL. As DELL CEO Kevin Rollins acknowledged, next generation of INTEL server chips will be behind AMD's current generation. I think Rollins was talking about the Dempsey CPU and the Bensley platform. At least today, Rollins seems to be more clear headed than Michael Dell who claimed that INTEL would overtake AMD in dual core performance. The Paxville proved itself to be so bad, it damaged INTEL's image irreversibly. Looking ahead, even the obsolete single core Opteron 246 was able to beat Bensley/Dempsey/Blackford on quite a few tests.

So AMD is far far ahead, no less than 5 years. INTEL's Bensley/Dempsey/Blackford is no more than an imitation of 2001 Athlon MP. However, with this dual FSB architecture, INTEL would buy some time in 2P 4 core area and attain a performance level closer to Opteron 280. Though AMD will still be unmatched in 4P 8 core and above with Opteron 880, 2P server market is the volume market. Apparently, DELL's CEO was counting on Dempsey to bring some parity to the 2P server market and to slow AMD's penetration, after the failure of Paxville.

For it to kill off the Xeons once and for all, AMD must speed up the development of quad-core Opteron. Since Opterons have no problems scaling up to 16 cores and above, and INTEL can't scale above 4 cores even with dual FSB, one single quad-core Opteron will outperform any 4 core Xeon system, and two quad-core Opterons will be like today's 4P Opteron 880, and will be unmatched by any other.

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