Concerns raised about AMD's Opteron demo

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) will demonstrate a four-way server based on its 64-bit Opteron processor at the Computex 2002 exhibition here on June 3. However, there appears to be some question about the performance of the Opteron chips to be used in the demo, according to a draft media invitation that was inadvertently sent to IDG News Service by AMD's PR company in Taipei.

"The demos we're currently showing are anything but high-performance. They're pretty low-performance right now, and we don't want to invite questions about just how fast they're running," read one unattributed comment contained in the draft invitation.

An AMD spokeswoman in Hong Kong confirmed that the company does plan to demonstrate a four-way Opteron server at Computex but denied that the Opteron chips to be used in the demo are low-performance processors. "This is wrong," said Carol Mui, a company spokeswoman. "It's an eighth-generation processor. How can it be low performance?"

"We definitely will demonstrate a high-performance system," she said.

Mui would not comment on specifications of the Opteron processors to be used in the four-way server demo, including the chips' clock speed, saying the company would release more information on June 3.

Opteron is the brand name that has been given to the server and workstation versions of AMD's upcoming 64-bit processor line, formerly known by the codename Hammer.

The Opteron demonstration at Computex will be the first time that the company has publicly shown the chip running in a four-processor configuration. In April, AMD demonstrated a dual-Opteron server running a developmental 64-bit version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system. When Opteron ships next year, the chips will be available in systems with up to eight processors. In addition to the four-way Opteron demo, AMD plans to unveil at Computex a motherboard for the Opteron, Mui said.

AMD has previously announced details of its AMD-8000 chipset for the Opteron, which includes three chips: the AMD-8111 HyperTransport I/O hub, which is designed to replace the Southbridge chip used in existing Athlon chipset configurations; the AMD-8131 HyperTransport PCI-X tunnel, which offers two PCI-X bus bridges; and the AMD-8151 HyperTransport AGP3.0 graphics tunnel which support AGP-8X graphics. In addition to the AMD-8000, chipset vendors Acer Laboratories Inc., Silicon Integrated Systems Corp., Nvidia Corp., and Via Technologies Inc. are also expected to produce chipsets for AMD's 64-bit processor family.

Computex will be held in Taipei from June 3 to June 7.

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Sumner Lemon

Computerworld
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