AMD Adds Virtualization, New CPUs To Desktop Line

The chip maker officially launches its "AM2" socket upgrade and adds two new chips as it ties its microprocessor products to next-generation DDR2 memory and adds support for virtualization technology.

Advanced Micro Devices officially launched its "AM2" socket upgrade on May 23, as the company tied its microprocessor products to next-generation DDR2 memory and added support for virtualization technology.

In support of the launch, AMD also added two new chips: an AMD64 2.8-GHz FX-62 processor, priced at $1,031; and an AMD 2.6-GHz 5000+ processor, priced at $696. Both prices represent lots of 1,000 units.

The new processors represent a true switch for AMD—the socket shift is a top-to-bottom transition made across all of AMDs desktop product lines, and neither the current 939-pin nor the older 754-pin processors will be able to connect to AM2 motherboards. According to David Schwarzbach, a product manager for AMD, Socket 754 chips will be phased out by the end of the year, and Socket 939 chips will be stockpiled until about the second half of the year, mainly for large corporate customers.

"This is really part of our rolling thunder strategy … as we work our way into the [Taiwan] Computex show in the first week of June," Schwarzbach said. The announcement follows the creation of AMDs energy-efficient processor line last week; another announcement tied to AMDs AMD Live! platform is expected before the show.

While the processors do include the first implementation of AMDs "Pacifica" virtualization technology, the chips themselves are just the first part of what AMD sees as an involved, complicated solution. Although the new processors are designed to support the operation of virtualized operating systems, other components, especially I/O peripherals such as disk drives, will need driver and OS support to create a truly virtualized system, Schwarzbach said.

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