AMD Launches Latest Opteron

IBM's new eServer 325 is powered by the Opteron 246.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Tuesday released the newest version of its two-way 64-bit Opteron chip.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., companys Opteron 246 is the latest addition to the two-way line of chips. The previous fastest was the 244 model, which ran at 1.8GHz. AMD, which downplays the clock speed in its chips, did not release the frequency of the 246.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., the only major OEM to roll out a system based on Opteron, last week launched the eServer 325, which is powered by the Opteron 246. The system will be the used by Japans National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology to build a Linux-based supercomputer.

The Opteron chips are designed for servers and workstations. On Sept. 23, AMD is scheduled to release its Athlon 64 chip, a 64-bit processor for desktop and laptops.

The company is hoping that the processors will enable it to chip away at the dominating market share held by rival Intel Corp., which is pushing 64-bit computing via its Itanium processors.

A key differentiator is that the Opteron and Athlon 64 chips run 32-bit and 64-bit applications, which company officials say allows for easier migration to 64-bit computing. Intel offers its Xeon processors for 32-bit computing. However, in the release of Itanium 2 6M in June, Intel added a 32-bit emulation layer, allowing enterprises to consolidate 32-bit applications on systems running the chip, though only with the power of a Pentium 4 chip.