Preview: AMDs Big Bet
Company officials and customers talk about Opteron features, speeds, support, and how well the chip actually handles 32-bit backward compatibility.When Jerry Sanders bet the future of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on the 32-bit Athlon, he won. Now, for the companys current CEO, Hector de Ruiz, and the 64-bit Opteron, its double or nothing. AMD has spent much of the past three years or so discussing the "Hammer" X86-64 architecture, its advantages relative to Intels 64-bit Itanium, and the work AMD and its partners have done in preparing a hardware and software infrastructure to support the chip when it launches. "The announcement of our upcoming AMD Opteron family is perhaps the most important single announcement in the history of our company," said Hector Ruiz, chief executive of AMD, in a conference call with analysts this week. "It is the future of AMD, and its the future of the x86 architecture. We believe its the future of the computing industry."
Over the past few days, AMD and some of its customers have begun to peel back the Opteron wrapping paper in order to give the industry a glimpse into that future.