AMD, Intel Look to Extend 64-Bit Offerings

The semiconductor rivals are pushing forward with new processors that expand the companies' footprints.

Semiconductor rivals Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. are pushing forward with new processors that expand the companies footprints.

Intel this week is expected to demonstrate its future x86 64-bit chip line at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. Code-named CT, the technology will be the Santa Clara, Calif., companys first public response to the growing popularity of AMDs 64-bit Opteron chip, according to industry observers.

A spokesman for Intel said executives will discuss the CT technology—formerly known as Yamhill—during the three-day conference.

Intels CT chips, which could appear on the market as early as next year, would address a key criticism of the companys high-end 64-bit Itanium chip: that because its architecture differs from that of the IA-32 processors, such as Xeons and Pentiums, it cannot run 32-bit applications as well as it can 64-bit software, despite emulation software. By comparison, the Opteron can run both.

AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., this week will roll out two low-power Opterons, with one model consuming 30 watts and the other 55 watts. Current models consume an average of 89 watts, officials said. The chips, which will ship within a month, will target high-density systems, such as blade servers.

Expanding the footprint

Chip and systems makers are looking to grow their offerings

  • Intel Demonstrating 64-bit x86 chips
  • AMD Introducing two low-power Opteron processors for blades
  • Sun Upgrading high-end UltraSPARC systems and growing low end with the Opteron
  • Fujitsu Moving its blade technology into the midrange

Users said that they were months away from developing a 64-bit computing strategy but such Intel chips would be attractive. However, Jevin Jensen, director of technical services for Mohawk Industries Inc. and a user of IBMs Intel-based x440 systems, said he is enthusiastic about the possibilities.

"I was interested in the AMD Opteron, but IBM never took it upstream to the x440 or x445 platform," said Jensen in Calhoun, Ga.

Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems Inc., also of Santa Clara, last week refreshed its entire midrange and high-end systems with its new UltraSPARC IV chip. Sun also announced last week that it was buying server technology company Kealia Inc., which is headed by Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim and specializes in server designs for the Opteron.

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp., also of Sunnyvale, this week will unveil a two-way Xeon midrange blade server, the Primergy BX600.