AMD Invites Users, Developers to Set Their Own 64-Bit Pace
The launch of Opteron puts the spotlight on the almost trivial difference between AMD's and Intel's strategies, but the companies are really just placing different bets in the same casino of complex and costly designs.Its not an easy time to be either Intel or AMD. The launch of puts the spotlight on the almost trivial difference between their strategies, but the companies are really just placing different bets in the same casino of complex and costly designs. Its a gaming hall that both of these chip makers were forced to enter by the relentless pressures of semiconductor fabrication progress. Given the option, we wonder if both companies would rather just spend a quiet evening at home knitting memory chips and mobile processors. But that choice is not on the table, at least not at the margins that both companies need to support their present business models and future growth ambitions. Instead, both companies hope that the mass-market economics of high-volume processor production will draw resource-limited server manufacturersand cost-conscious enterprise buyersinto their 64-bit game. Server processing power is clearly a buyers market. Intel has been almost embarrassed by its own success in continuing to squeeze higher clock rates, if not proportional performance gains, from the aging Pentium architecture and its Xeon server-optimized configurations.
The question, though, is how much opportunity remains to analyze an ever-more-rapid flow of Pentium-style instructions, on the fly, in search of opportunities to transform them into entwined (but not entangled) streams of concurrent operations. Two different answers to that question define the difference between Itanium and Opteron as the next logical step for server CPUs.