IBM Pumps Up Opteron Launch

At AMD's Opteron launch, IBM makes a hardware endorsement, announcing Opteron-based servers.

NEW YORK—On this cold and drizzly Manhattan morning Advanced Micro Devices Inc. got a warmer reception for its brand new than anyone had expected: a hardware endorsement from IBM.

From the time AMD began discussing its x86 64-bit "Hammer" architecture ideas, industry observers and IT administrators said that for the chip to succeed, it would need the support of top-tier OEMs.

AMD got that support when IBM took the stage here and announced plans to ship in the second half of the year servers based on the Opteron, citing increased performance and streamlined and "seamless" migration from 32-bit to 64-bit computing. It will also offer Opteron-based supercomputers as part of its Supercomputing On Demand initiative that will provide customers with access to huge supercomputer clusters on demand, said Mark Shearer, vice president of IBMs eServer products group.

IBMs announcement came moments after Fujitsu Siemens Computer said it is building workstations based on AMDs much-anticipated chip.

"At IBM we believe Opteron offers compelling performance at an affordable price," Shearer said.

"Opteron provides customers with a natural evolutionary path for todays 32-bit computer environments ... into the 64-bit world," he added.

The news set the tone for an upbeat press conference that included speeches from company founder and Chairman Jerry Sanders and company CEO Hector de Ruiz.

"We are so pumped!" exclaimed Ruiz during his opening comments. For his part, Sanders jumped on the sheer muscle of the Opteron, repeating several times that "100 million transistors is an awesome number."