AMD Preps Low-Power Opteron for Blades

New processors, which will run at 30 watts and 55 watts, will launch in the middle of 2004.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is readying low-power versions of its 64-bit Opteron chip that will run in such products as blade servers and certain storage devices.

AMD made the announcement on Tuesday at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. The new processors, which will run at 30 watts and 55 watts, will launch in the middle of 2004.

In a prepared statement, Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMDs Microprocessor Business Unit, said the new chips illustrate the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys continued push to expand the reach of its 64-bit technology.

"With mid- and low-power AMD Opteron processors, AMD will now enable an enterprise to employ a common infrastructure based on AMD64 technology at all levels of its computing environment—from high-performance clusters to blade servers," Seyer said.

AMD already offers numerous models of Opteron, last week rolled out two new models, the 146 for workstations and the 846 for four- and eight-way servers.

At the same time, Intel last week launched Deerfield, know as Low Voltage Itanium—which also is aimed at two-processors systems such as blade servers—and what the chip maker is calling the DP-optimized Itanium 2. The latter is targeted at dual-processor systems used for high- performance technical computing and entry-level, front-end systems, such as proxy servers and network edge systems.

The key difference between Opteron and Itanium is the formers ability to run 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Itanium 2 offers a 32-bit emulation layer, but runs 32-bit applications with the relative performance of a Pentium 4 chip.

At an event next week in San Francisco, AMD will launch Athlon 64, a 64-bit chip designed for desktop PCs. At its Intel Developer Forum 2003 in San Jose, Calif., this week, Intel executives have said that they dont expect demand for 64-bit desktop computing to grow for several years.

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