Dirk Meyer helped rescue Advanced Micro Devices from a tight spot once before. Now the company is hoping he can do the trick again. In his interview to ZDNet, he talks about the Opteron version of Windows, the Linux support for it, Athlon64 and more.
The Inquirer reports that SuSE is ready to release its full X86-64 version of Linux, version 8.2, quite a time before the official launch, for the AMD Opteron architecture. Additionally, MandrakeSoft released their Mandrake Linux 9.0 version for Opteron recently. However, Microsoft has yet to set a date for Opteron 64-bit support, while it will roll out specifically for Itanium two high-end versions of its Windows Server 2003 operating system, its first major server OS update in three years.
From Ars Technica: "The present article outlines what AMD hopes is the next step in x86's evolution: x86-64. As we'll see, x86-64 is more than just a 64-bit extension to the 32-bit x86 ISA; it adds some new features, as well, while getting rid of some obsolete ones."
According to heise.de and news.com, AMD finalized their CPU roadmap this Friday. Opteron is scheduled for April, Athlon 64 for September. The Barton core will debut on Februar 10th in the Athlon XP 3000+. The Barthon increases the L2 cache from 256 (Thoroughbred-B) to 512 kByte, and will probably run only with FSB333. A Athlon XP 3200+ will probably appear by the middle of the year.
AMD executives reiterated that the company is focusing on the server version of the Opteron processor, but that the 64-bit Athlon 64 will still appear in 2003."You saw our financials; I'm not going to lie to you. It doesn't make a lot of sense to build a new processor for a niche market," said John Crank, senior brand manager for desktop product marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. Although PCs certainly dominate the computing landscape, Crank and other AMD officials said they believed servers and their applications would be better positioned to take advantage of the Opteron's capabilities at launch, rather than PCs.
Chicobaud writes: "The two big companies anounced a combination of efforts in developing new high performance CPU fabrication aiming 65 and 45 nm (nanometers) in order to lower power comsuption and improving performance." Read the press release at the AMD website.
AMD said on Tuesday that it would embrace a strategy of developing processors for a wider range of products outside computers and called on the industry to focus on user needs rather than creating "technology for technology's sake." Our Take: In the last year it has been made clear that AMD could no longer outpace Intel in the MHz, speed and power consumption race of PC CPUs. Even the highest end models of the new AMD Opteron and its desktop version, Athlon64, which are to have a modern 64-bit core, according to SPEC benchmarks they will not be the speed leaders by the time they will come out (Q2 2003), bringing AMD to yet another race against Intel's Xeons/P4s. Oh well, shift happens.
"Microsoft is playing wait-and-see with AMD's 64-bit Opteron processor. The company has no definite commitment to ship a version of its .Net Server operating system for the new processor, though both will be available at the same time, around April of 2003. The stance was laid out at Microsoft's IT Forum event in Copenhagen on Thursday by Microsoft's Windows supremo." Read the report at ZDNet.UK. AMD does have samples of Windows 64bit for their new processors though.
AMD is showing off at Comdex a prototype 64-bit Windows OS running on its upcoming 64-bit Opteron processors. The demo units are running Information Server (IIS), 64-bit Terminal Services and 64-bit Microsoft Internet Explorer. Also they're running 32-bit Office XP over the ProtoWin-64 - the demo shows interoperability between the 32-bit and 64-bit apps, AMD says.
Read the five newly released AMD x86-64 architecture tech documents in PDF format.
AMD tried to re-claim the performance leadership with the release of the 2600+ and 2400+ versions of its AthlonXP CPU. While AMD officials claimed that the new chips outperform other PC processors, ExtremeTech testing doesn't give the AthlonXP a definitive edge. AMD also reworked its "model number" performance ratings to better represent performance, executives said. In other hardware news, Sun released a new, budget-minded Unix workstation on Tuesday, mamed Sun Blade 150. But as its influence grows in the Unix market, the market itself is dwindling, C|Net says.
"AMD's forthcoming Opteron processor--aka Hammer--packs ground-breaking technology: Its hybrid design allows the chip to run 32- or 64-bit operating systems natively. Plus, AMD claims that one Opteron running in its 32-bit mode will outperform two XEONs--the heart of the most advanced 32-bit servers based on Intel technology. But where are the benchmarks? Which system vendors are planning Opteron-based servers? And what about software support? Until some of these pieces fall into place, AMD's gamble looks to be facing some long odds." Read the set of articles at ZDNews.
"AMD fanboys have taken on the characteristics of Apple computer lovers, and are hell bent on destroying the plucky little microprocessor vendor with smothering love, if you can call it love. They're trashing the company. For the love of AMD, let's all stake our claim to independence and run the colonizing freakazoids off the Web before they impose more of their imperious ways on the rest of the PC market. Happy fourth." Read the editorial at TomsHardware.
AMD touts Athlon and Opteron, pointing out that Hammer-based servers don't require different chipsets for systems with one, two, four or eight processors--unlike Intel-based machines. Via will release its first Hammer chipsets in late 2002, the same time the chip will begin to ship to manufacturers. MandrakeSoft will adapt its distribution of Linux to Advanced Micro Devices' next-generation chip platform, the companies said on Thursday.
"Both Microsoft and AMD have taken the unusual step of re-affirming their collaboration on 64-bit computing. The companies issued a joint press release in Taiwan today claiming that future Microsoft Windows operating systems and AMD's K8 family, formerly codenamed Hammer, would be developed closely together." Read the report at the Inquirer.
"AMD signed an agreement with MIPS Technologies Inc. for 64-bit technology, complementing the Alchemy design team already in place at AMD. AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif. said it will license the MIPS64 architecture for an undisclosed period of time, allowing the processor company a growth path for embedded devices. AMD already owns a 32-bit MIPS license through the Alchemy Semiconductor design group AMD acquired in February." Read the rest of the report at ExtremeTech.
"Microsoft Corp. is finally expected to formally announce that it will support AMD's 64-bit "Hammer" line in future operating systems, sources said Tuesday. Sources within AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., said that the company will announce the Hammer support in a press conference tomorrow at 4:30 PM, after the market closes. In a notice sent to press and analysts, AMD described the press conference as one where the company 'answers the 64-bit question'." Read the rest of the report at ExtremeTech. Update: Read more for a leaked memo. Update 2 AMD has renamed its "Hammer" 64-bit server line with the "Opteron" brand name.
"AMD showed off prototypes of its x86-64 Hammer technology yesterday even as Intel Corp failed to dampen speculation that it is developing a similar hybrid technology,Joe Fay writes. AMD's Hammer technology is designed to support both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems and applications and yesterday the vendor for the first time publicly demonstrated Hammer chips running Windows XP and a 64 bit version of Linux. The demonstration was held just a few blocks away from the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco." Read the rest of the report at TheRegister.
"AMD made public some of its details regarding its 64-bit Hammer chipsets, now to be known as the 8000 series of products. The initial members of the 8000 series will feature an I/O hub, a graphics tunnel, and a PCI-X tunnel. The components will use the HyperTransport I/O protocol developed by AMD and are due in the fourth quarter of 2002, AMD said." Read the rest of the report at ExtremeTech.
Two slides of an AMD presentation were leaked to a Czech web site and they show the SPECInt 2000 CPU benchmark performance results of the upcoming AMD 64-bit CPU, Hammer. In the two charts you will see the Hammer scoring best performance among Intel, HP, IBM, Alpha and other CPUs. The Hammer CPU is expected to be released at the end of 2002, after slipping the original release date of March 2002.