Its About Multicore

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2005-11-15 Print this article Print

"Its not about frequency, its about multicore. Its about how efficiently multicore has been implemented," he said. Thus, in order to boost resource utilization, AMD will add features that support virtualization to its chips.
Virtualization technology allows a computer to be divided up to run different jobs.
It will continue to expand the chips virtualization capabilities, for example, while also working to drive up their processors performance per watt of energy consumed. Virtualization is due from AMD in the first half of 2006, whereas the quad-core chips will start arriving in 2007. Click here to read more about Pacifica, AMDs virtualization technology. In the interim, AMD, which already claims an advantage in power consumption over Intel, plans to underscore its point by soon offering a Comparative Power Savings Calculator, via its Web site, where users can log on and compare what they would spend and save by choosing AMD chips over Intels. Based on its successes so far—AMD gained market share in the third quarter across the board, according to a processor shipment survey by Mercury Research Inc.—the chip maker expects its server business to grow more than 28 percent next year, and its client business to grow more than 15 percent, the executives said. AMD, as previously reported, advanced to 17.8 percent of shipments, up from 16.2 in the second quarter and 15.9 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Intel ended the quarter with a smaller 80.8 percent of shipments, down from 82.3 percent in the second quarter and 82.1 percent in the third quarter of 2004, the Mercury Research report said. As part of its expected growth, AMD also expects that the number of blade servers using its Opteron will double as well. Companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Fujitsu Ltd. already offer such blades. Common themes for AMD development, going forward, will be bringing mainframe functionality to the mainstream and an even greater focus on power management. AMD will pursue its power goals by implementing tricks such as separate power management for each processor core and clock gating, which shuts down transistors not in use, the company executive said. Meanwhile, AMD has said little about its forthcoming new processor architecture. However, the company will arrive at quad cores one of two ways. First, it will extend its current architecture, which is already offering dual cores, to four. Its new circuitry, which will also breed quad-core chips in the 2008 to 2009 time frame, will offer more in the way of the ability to scale upwards into big servers, company executives indicated. Systems maker Newisys, at the Supercomputing 2005 show in Seattle this week, is demonstrating a 32-way server powered by Opteron running both Windows and Linux, according to Phil Hester, AMDs chief technology officer and the former CEO of Newisys. Hester said it was further proof that a chip like Intels Itanium—a processor with a new architecture that Intel introduced initially as the 64-bit standard and now as the technology to compete with such RISC platforms as Sun Microsystems Inc.s SPARC and IBMs Power—is not needed. Instead, the ability to scale Opteron to 32-way and more shows that the x86 architecture can compete in the high-end of the server market. Thus, by the 2009 to 2010 timeframe, AMD sees itself leading in mobile and desktop as well as in servers. "Were going to be the preeminent server supplier," Seyer said. But Intel isnt going anywhere without a fight. The larger chip maker also intends to update its chips with virtualization features—it rolled out the first of those chips earlier this week—and to offer quad-core server chips in the form of Tigerton, a four-core Xeon due in 2007. Intel has also stepped up its efforts to cut its chips power consumption with a new processor architecture that will result in the launch of several new dual-core chips for desktops, notebooks and servers in 2006. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel