AMD, Intel Eye High End with New Server Chips
With AMD almost ready to launch the six-core Istanbul chip and Intel talking about its upcoming eight-core Nehalem EX processor, the two rivals are on a collision course as they compete for the high end of the x86 server market. AMD officials say Istanbul will touch on the two-, four- and eight-socket spaces, and is coming out six months ahead of schedule. Nehalem EX will start appearing in systems in early 2010. But the high end could prove to be fertile ground for Intel and AMD, as many enterprises are looking to move away from the RISC/Itanium/mainframe space, according to one analyst.Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are both aiming at the high end of the server space with their upcoming processors. Intel officials on May 26 outlined details of its eight-core "Nehalem EX" Xeon MP processor aimed at servers with four or more sockets. Boyd Davis, general manager of Intel's server platforms marketing group, said during a press conference that the chip-which will start shipping to OEMs later this year and appear in systems in early 2010-will give enterprises an alternative to RISC-based environments.
Now comes AMD with the launch of its six-core "Istanbul" Opteron chip, which officials say will compete not only with Intel's Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" in the two-socket space, but also with Nehalem EX in the four- and eight-socket arena.