AMD Details Early Quad-Core Plans

Advanced Micro Devices executives confirm that the company plans to move to quad-core processors in 2007, adding focused optimizations to manage power and improve throughput.

In a detailed briefing for analysts in New York on Friday, executives at Advanced Micro Devices painted the company as making "irreversible progress" into new architectures, specifically multicore microprocessors and 64-bit processing.

Executives confirmed that the company plans to enhance its Opteron enterprise processor line to four cores in 2007, adding focused optimizations to manage power and improve throughput.

Going forward, AMD executives said the companys progress will be defined by metrics such as "throughput per watts per dollars," backed by specific technologies that it will try to establish as industry standards rather than following rival Intel Corp.s lead.

"We believe the purpose of our company is to reinvent the dynamics of the microprocessor industry," said Hector Ruiz, president, chairman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Future enhancements to the AMD core architecture will include per-core power management, improvements to the HyperTransport specification, secure execution, and even dedicated coprocessors, Chuck Moore, who oversees AMDs core microprocessor architectures, told analysts.

On the surface, AMDs roadmaps bear a superficial resemblances to Intels, in that both companies share a desire to increase the number of cores on the processor die.

Both companies also are developing technologies such as virtualization, which can share system resources among concurrent instances of an operating system. Intel, however, has leaned heavily toward developing platforms, backed with a "grab bag" of supporting technologies, according to Dirk Meyer, president of the processor division at AMD.

"We think at AMD [the move toward platforms] is a good trend; it signals a move away from speeds and feeds … and a random grab bag of features," Meyer said. "Were focused on the end value for the end-user community."

AMD opened its meeting by touting its ties to Hollywood, a strategy that AMD executives said they will increasingly adopt going forward.

AMD ignored flash memory entirely, following the companys decision earlier this year to spin off its Spansion flash business venture. "We are sharpening our focus intensely," Ruiz said. "We are now a microprocessor company."

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