AMD, the No. 2 supplier of computer processors, is close to a deal to buy graphics chip maker ATI for USD 5.5 billion, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday. Any such deal would shake up the processor industry, which is witnessing a battle over market share between AMD and rival Intel.
IBM and AMD are expected to announce an alliance that will lead to mainstream IBM servers based on the Opteron processor. A deeper partnership between IBM and AMD could take several forms, ranging from joint technology development to work on mainstream dual-processor servers. It might even cover the creation of more-powerful multiprocessor machines that could rival IBM's current Intel-based 32-processor, the System x3950. Update: AMD also posted its quarterly results.
AMD executives said this week that they will promote its '4x4' enthusiast platform to counter the Core 2 Duo. AMD also plans to push a sort of 'performance number' into the market to redefine how consumers should think about power. The 4x4 platform will place two physical sockets on a motherboard, connected by AMD's Direct Connect architecture. Mounted on each socket will be an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor, for a total of 4 cores. An eight-core '8X8' program will roll out in 2007.
AMD announced its second-quarter revenue figures ahead of schedule on Thursday, and investors are not going to be pleasantly surprised. AMD's revenue for the second quarter is expected to be USD 1.21bn, a 52 percent increase compared with the same period last year. However, analysts had been expecting AMD to record USD 1.3bn in revenue, according to estimates polled by Thomson First Call.
The world's first commercial one-petaflops supercomputer has been commissioned, Codenamed 'Baker', the 24000-socket, Opteron-based Linux system is due to be installed at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2008.
AMD on Thursday laid out plans to serve 30 percent of the market within the next two years, with new quad-core processor designs scheduled for 2007 and an acceleration of its manufacturing capabilities. The company also talked about plans to build future processors with the ability to mix and match the building blocks of a chip to cater to different needs, and to allow its partners to add co-processors that can link directly to Opteron processors through AMD's Hypertransport links.
AMD may be looking to buy graphics company ATI Technologies, a move that would benefit the overall graphics industry, according to RBC Capital Markets. "The synergies of this seem consistent with the recent announcements by AMD to significantly increase capacity over the next few-years," wrote analyst Apjit Walia in a note to investors Wednesday. "We believe ATI is a rare-buy in the semiconductor space right now given the near-term tie-up dynamics."
AnandTech reviewed AMD's new socket-AM2 in its usual in-depth fasion, and concluded: "And there you have it, quite possibly the most unimpressive launch from AMD (from a performance perspective), but given what we had already seen prior to today there shouldn't be any surprises. The introduction of the Athlon 64 FX-62 means that there is an even faster alternative for those looking to spend as much as possible on a desktop or workstation CPU, but the new 5000+ isn't really all that appealing, especially if you're a gamer."
"AMD today introduced AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology, the first and only family of 64-bit dual-core processors designed for thin and light notebook PCs. AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology allows people to get more from their mobile lifestyle through long battery life and outstanding performance, even when using multiple applications simultaneously, including demanding digital media applications."
Dell will use AMD's Opteron chip. The PC maker has long been an Intel shop. But it intends to change that later in 2006, when it will begin offering a multi-processor AMD Opteron server. Dell, which announced its first-quarter earnings May 18, said in a statement that it would begin offering "AMD Opteron processors in our multi-processor servers by the end of the year offering a great new technology to our customers at the high-end of our server line." The Opteron server, likely to be a four-processor machine, will be sold alongside new Intel-based servers, Dell indicated.
AMD confirmed details of its "Next Generation Processor Technology" today, but it's really business as usual for the company. As AMD heads to four-core country, the company will continue to improve the bandwidth of its processor package, tweak memory and rely on help from partners to compete with an upcoming line of revamped chips from Intel.
Eighteen months after shipping, AMD's Personal Internet Communicator, aimed at lowering the cost of computing so half the world could enjoy Internet access by 2015, apparently still doesn't run Linux. It now appears the design may actually be rigged to block the use of Linux.
"The thing I find most interesting in battle of silicon supremacy is just how unbelievably thick (or perhaps slow) AMD has been lately. For the entire life cycle of the Pentium 4 family, AMD was far ahead. The company made the best processors in terms of performance with cost efficiency in mind. However, it had a nice 1-1.5 years of time span where it could've evolved or innovated enough, but it didn't. Granted that AMD is still leading the desktop and server markets in terms of performance, it's not the point. The point is the lack of evolution and innovation from AMD."
"AMD has developed more details in its cunning plan to counter Intel's Viiv scheme - it provisionally rolled the idea out during the Consumer Electronics Show with a whimper rather than Chipzilla's big bang. Intel finally realised that it should go back to the future with a tweaked Pentium 3 as it performed better than the overclocked Pentium 4 generation. That's whats Pentium M and Merom are ultimately based on and this puts Intel in much better shape than it enjoyed in 2005. AMD plans to embrace the Athlon FX and X2 and to sell them as part of the Live platform." At least this name doesn't require pronunciation advice.
Advanced Micro Devices is working to ensure that no platform change will be required to move from its next-generation dual-core processors to quad-core processors. When AMD rolls out dual-core processors with built-in virtualization hooks midyear, the company also aims to show that quad-core processors can also run on the same socket on that platform, said Marty Seyer, senior vice president of AMD's Commercial Business and Performance Computing, Microprocessor Solutions Sector unit.
Dell's Chief Executive Kevin Rollins said on Thursday that he is open to selling computers that run on AMD chips. Dell, the world's biggest manufacturer of personal computers, currently only uses Intel chips, and is Intel's biggest customer. Rollins said that Dell was always open to change: "We want the very best technology for our customers."
AMD has released its first dual-core Athlon 64 FX processor, the FX-60. The Reg puts it through its paces, and concludes: "AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 is the best consumer processor AMD has ever produced. With effectively a pair of FX-55s sat in the same socket, sharing an efficient memory controller, it's close enough to FX-57 in single-threaded apps that the multi-threaded advantage makes that slender gap moot. Targetted at the well-heeled enthusiast, the new dual-core processor should be a shoo-in for those with FX-57s already, and those with the required readies to drop on the latest and greatest."
If Grand Funk Railroad is on your shopping list, Advanced Micro Devices has the computer for you. The processor maker will unveil its 'Live' brand at the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place this week in Las Vegas. The brand - whose logo will be printed on a sticker on the chassis of a desktop or notebook - will indicate that the computer in question is tuned for home entertainment. Live PCs will come with 7.1 surround sound capabilities, for instance, said Hal Speed, a marketing architect for AMD.
"AMD’s drive to 64-bit processors surprised everyone with its speed, even as detractors commented that there would be little or no performance gain on the desktop without a 64-bit OS and 64-bit applications. Whatever the doubts within the industry, Intel lost little time in offering its own version of AMD64, in the form of the EM64T extensions. Traditionally perceived as the under-dog in the cutthroat world of microprocessors, AMD managed to take the design initiative at exactly that moment Intel was fixated on power consumption and the move to dual cores. DigiTimes recently had an opportunity to discuss AMD’s approach to microprocessor design with Dr. Raghuram Tupuri, Design Engineering, AMD."
In part 1 of this two-part series, ExtremeTech examines the performance of Windows XP Pro x64 and 32-bit Windows on a dual-core CPU. This part features the AMD Athlon 64 model on both operating systems. The next part will feature Intel's best dual-core offering.