AMD says Shanghai won't be another Barcelona

Company seeks to reassure customers that the problems that delayed its previous server chip, Barcelona, are a thing of the past.

Fiorano will also work with the follow-on to Shanghai, a six-core processor code-named Istanbul, due in the second half of 2009. The following year, in mid-2010, AMD will release another six-core processor, Sao Paulo, and a 12-core processor, Magny-Cours, named after a motor racing track in France. These are all code names for chips that will become part of AMD's Opteron family.

Sao Palo and Magny-Cours will get another new chipset, code-named Maranello, which will move customers to a new socket design and a faster, DDR3 memory.

Intel, meanwhile, is not standing still. After being late to market with a 64-bit processor that would also run 32-bit applications well, the company recovered ground and in mid-September shipped its first six-core Xeon processor, the 7400 series, also known as Dunnington. Next year it plans to release an eight-core processor dubbed Nehalem, and in the past has talked about working on 80-core processors in its labs.

The challenge for customers is finding software that can take full advantage of the multi-core capabilities. Virtualization is seen as one beneficiary, since virtual machines can be assigned to individual processor cores - hence AMD's push to position Shanghai and Fiorano as a good platform for virtualization.

AMD, which has been struggling financially, is expected to announce a plan soon to spin off its chip fabrication plants in order to lower its capital costs. Patla declined Tuesday to discuss that strategy, which AMD calls "asset smart." It expects to make an announcement by the end of the year, he said.

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service/San Francisco Bureau
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