AMD Makes Embedded Opteron Push

The chip maker plans to announce a program designed to make its 64-bit Opteron processor a viable option in the high-end embedded space.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is aiming its 64-bit Opteron processors at the high-end embedded market.

Citing the chips standard x86 architecture, low power envelope and Direct Connect technology, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company on Tuesday is outlining a program designed to make Opteron a viable option in such areas as storage, digital imaging and media, communications and the military.

The program, which will be announced at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Francisco, doesnt offer new products but incentives to bring attention to the processor, said David Rich, director of 64-bit embedded markets at AMD.

Key features of the program include providing processor longevity of five years standard, with an optional two additional years—giving customers processor and pricing stability—and professional design support services. AMD also is outlining a road map for Opteron in the embedded space, Rich said. The road map, in which embedded offerings will be identical to existing Opteron chips, will give customers a plan to work with as theyre designing their devices.

AMDs Direct Connect Architecture is designed to improve memory and bandwidth by directly connecting memory and I/O to the CPU, and by directly connecting CPUs to one another.

Some Opteron models also offer a power envelope of less than 30 watts and prices of less than $250.

"For AMD, we definitely want to get into the data center [with Opteron]," Rich said. "We now have [Hewlett-Packard Co.], Sun [Microsystems Inc.] and IBM selling servers with Opteron, but this gives us another avenue into the data center."

AMD currently offers its Alchemy and Geode chips for the low end of the embedded market, for such devices as point-of-sale kiosks and thin clients, Rich said. Promoting Opteron for the high end will bring it in direct competition with Intel Corp. and others.


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