HP Gives AMD's Phenom a Boost

HP is giving AMD a helping hand by offering a consumer desktop with the quad-core processor.

After a bruising month where it had to admit a series of missteps with its quad-core microprocessor strategy, Advanced Micro Devices got a boost Jan. 3 from Hewlett-Packard.

On Thursday, HP announced that it would begin selling a consumer desktop - the Pavilion Media Center m8330f - that will use AMD's new quad-core Phenom processor. The new desktop is one of several new PCs that the Palo Alto, Calif., company plans to display at the 2008 International CES, which kicks off Jan. 7.

While AMD still has a number of issues to work through in 2008, including delivering its chips to its partners on time, the announcement does give the chip maker access to customers through one of the globe's top-tier PC vendors. Although HP is offering AMD's quad-core chip in one of its new desktops, the rest of its desktops and notebooks and that will be on display at the 2008 CES will use a combination of dual-core and quad-core Intel processors.

At a December meeting with Wall Street analysts, AMD admitted to a series of mistakes with its quad-core desktop chip and its quad-core processor for servers. Some of the problems included a bug within the chips' translation-lookaside buffer, which caused problems from data being transferred from the Level 2 to the Level 3 cache. This meant that AMD had a much harder time getting its products out to its partners.

AMD officials said the problem has now been corrected. However, until the HP announcement Thursday, most of the top-tier OEMs have avoided announcing new hardware based on AMD's quad-core chips.

Although the HP announcement will help AMD within its PC division, the chip maker is still working to get its quad-core Opteron processor into the hands of OEMs for new systems. Once again, HP might help as the company has signaled that it will likely bringing out a new server or servers based on the quad-core Opteron processor by the second quarter of this year.

The new HP Pavilion m8330f desktop, which will retail for $959, will use the AMD Phenom 9500 processor, which runs at 2.2GHz and offers 2MB of L2 cache and 2MB of L3 cache.

All the new HP desktops will be available later this month through the company's Web site and various retail stores.