COMPUTEX - Server makers show first Barcelona systems

Some of the first servers based on AMD's Barcelona processor are on display at the Computex exhibition in Taiwan.

Server makers are showing their first systems based on Advanced Micro Devices's upcoming quad-core Opteron chip, known as Barcelona.

Barcelona servers from Supermicro Computer, Tyan Computer and Uniwide Technologies are on show at Taipei's annual Computex exhibition, which started Tuesday. The appearance of the chips, which are scheduled to ship later this year, signals they are getting closer to the market.

Detailed specifications of the chips and servers on display were not immediately available.

AMD is counting on Barcelona to boost its sales, and market share, in the face of heated competition from rival Intel.

Barcelona, which is manufactured using a 65-nanometer process, contains four processor cores on a single piece of silicon. By comparison, Intel's quad-core chips use two pieces of silicon, each containing two cores, strapped together inside a single package. AMD claims its design gives Barcelona a significant boost in performance -- as much as 50 percent to 80 percent -- over its current Opteron chips.

Uniwide and Supermicro are showing Barcelona systems that take advantage of a power-saving feature of the chip. Called Dual Dynamic Power Management, this allows the processor cores and on-chip memory controller to draw power separately, which AMD said allows better performance and power management.

AMD also promised an easy upgrade path for existing Opteron customers. Motherboards that support current Opteron chips can be upgraded for the quad-core chips by updating the BIOS. Dual-core chips can then be swapped for quad-core Barcelona processors, which use the same chipsets and processor sockets.

Tyan and Asustek Computer are among the companies making upgradeable motherboards.

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