AMD to Release Opteron April 22

Release of the long-awaited 64-bit processor will follow AMD's February rollout of the Athlon XP 3000+.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will release its long-awaited Opteron 64-bit processor at an event April 22 in New York City.

The introduction of Opteron will follow the rollout of the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys Athlon XP 3000+ on Feb. 10, the company said on Friday. The Athlon 3200+ will be introduced in the middle of this year, AMD said. Both of those chips are based on the companys Barton core, which will feature a feature a faster 333MHz front-side bus.

Opteron is designed for servers and workstations and will compete with Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium chips as well as its 32-bit Xeons. A key differentiator for AMD is that Opteron is backward compatible in that it can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Because it is a different architecture, Itanium doesnt feature that backward compatibility.

However, AMD also said it will roll out its 64-bit Athlon 64 chip for desktops and mobile devices in September. Code-named Clawhammer, the chip originally was to be released late last year, but was then moved to the second quarter of this year.

Cathy Abbinanti, an AMD spokesperson, said the company decided to delay the release of the chip because of the rollout of the 32-bit 3000+ and 3200+ chips.

"With the Barton core, we are continuing to meet customer demand for the highest performing desktop processors," Abbinanti said. "As a result, we decided to postpone the Athlon 64 processor."

Despite the second delay in the release of the chip, Abbinanti said she didnt expect any negative reaction from customers. She also said that the delay had nothing to do with production issues.

"Were in the position to manufacture and bring the product to market [now]," Abbinanti said. "Were showing that with the release of the Opteron processor."

She also said that by releasing the desktop chip in September, it will be better aligned with upcoming 64-bit operating systems and applications.

"AMD believes the future of computing, from high-end servers to mainstream desktop and notebook PCs, will be based on pervasive 64-bit computing," Rob Herb, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at AMD, said in a statement.