Advanced Micro Devices will launch its highly anticipated quad-core Opteron microprocessor in August and the first of these "Barcelona" processors will run at 2.0GHz, company executives said June 29.
This development, AMD executives said, should end rumors that the companys first quad-core processor had been delayed. While AMD did not offer a specific date for the launch, executives added that they will deliver the processors according to the companys schedule and the first systems to support Barcelona should hit the market by September.
"We wanted to reconfirm our guidance," said Bruce Shaw, vice president of worldwide commercial and enterprise marketing at AMD. "We have stated that we will ship the product by the middle of 2007 and we are confirming that with an August launch. We also wanted to set the record straight, and we wanted to talk with our partners and reconfirm our schedule and put to rest any questions."
Shaw declined to comment on the rumors that Barcelona might be delayed, but he said the unveiling of the quad-core chip will be the "the biggest partner launch" in the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys history.
Since the beginning of 2007, AMD executives have talked about launching Barcelona by "midyear," implying a June date. Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technology Associates, said while the August launch is a "little delay," its better for AMD to get its quad-core processors right, even if that means pushing back the unveiling by a few weeks.
What is more important, Kay said, is looking to counter the impact Intel has had with its quad-core offering.
"With Barcelona, its not only a contribution to the companys bottom and top lines, but it also gives them a psychological victory after being battered around [by Intel] for the last year," Kay said.
More than a display of its technological prowess, AMD is also hoping that Barcelona might boost the companys sagging performance. In the last two financial quarters the company has reported losses related to price cuts and reduced demand for its processors.
In addition, AMD watched as Intel launched its own quad-core processor for both severs and desktops in November, giving it a significant head start in this part of the chip market. That, along with Intels restructuring and its ability to deliver products on time in the last year, has reversed some but not all of the market share it lost to AMD in the past few years.
According to an April 30 Mercury Research report, Intel gained back six points in the overall x86 market and now has an 80.5 percent market share, while AMD has slipped from 25.3 percent to 18.7 percent.
With Barcelona coming in less than two months, AMD now has the chance to talk up some of the technological innovations that helped take away market share from Intel with the launch of the original Opteron in 2003.