AMD Releases Enhanced Server Chip

At 2.133GHz, the Athlon MP 2600+ is AMD's its most powerful high-end server and workstation chip to date.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Tuesday rolled out its most powerful high-end server and workstation chip to date, the Athlon MP 2600+.

The chip, aimed at such environments as high-performance computing sites and research institutions, comes two months after the Sunnyvale, Calif., company unveiled the 2GHz 2400+.

The 2600+, which runs at 2.133GHz, outperforms Intel Corp.s 2.6GHz Xeon by 18 percent in single-processor benchmark tests and 7 percent in dual-processor tests, according to AMD officials. Key features of the Athlon MP line—which also includes the 2000+ and 2200+—include QuantiSpeed, an architecture that offers a full-speed cache, and 3DNow! Professional for increased digital capabilities.

The 2600+, built on AMDs 0.13-micron process, is available now for $273 in 1,000-unit quantities.

AMD is pushing an aggressive rollout of products this year in hopes of chipping away at Intels dominance. Opteron, the chip makers long-awaited 64-bit server chip, will be released April 22 at an event in New York. The 64-bit chip is designed to compete with Intels 64-bit Itanium processors and 32-bit Xeon chips.

On Feb. 10, AMD will release the Athlon XP 3000+ processor, and the 3200+ will be rolled out in the middle of the year. Both chips are based on the companys Barton core, whose features include a faster 333MHz front-side bus.

However, AMD said it would again delay the release of its 64-bit Athlon 64 chip for desktop PCs and mobile devices. Originally scheduled for release last year, it was delayed until the first quarter of this year. However, last week the company said it was delaying it again, until September. A spokeswoman cited the release of the 3000+ and 3200+, saying they gave users plenty of performance capabilities and that by delaying the release of Athlon 64, it would be better aligned with the rollouts of upcoming 64-bit operating systems and applications.

But company officials did admit to some problems in using new chip design technology in making the Athlon 64, though they said it wasnt a significant problem.