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AMD's dual-core processors due in 2005

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD plans to introduce dual-core x86 processors for servers and high end processors next year. In a statement released Monday, the chip company said that the technology will mark a jump in processor performance while keeping production cost down.

The announcement of first details of dual-core processors comes as little surprise. AMD has been talking for a while about its architecture plans. Chief Technology Officer Fred Webber mentioned two "x86 engines on a single chip" for Sledgehammer for the first time at the Microprocessor Forum back in October 1999. Jerry Sanders confirmed this statement at the Athlon 64 launch in France in September last year.

AMD said that the dual-core strategy is a direct answer of customer requests for "the day when 32-bit-only systems or 32-bit-only dual-core processors will become obsolete."

"Because AMD has always listened to our customers, we anticipated an industry shift toward multi-tasking applications requiring the scalability that only 64-bit dual-core processors can provide," said Dirk Meyer, executive vice president, Computation Products Group, AMD. "That is why years ago we designed AMD64 technology from the ground up to be optimized for multiple cores."

The current processor roadmap indicates that the first dual-core chips will be available for the server and workstation market. The first 90 nm SOI processors including the dual core will be the Opteron 800, 200, and 100 series (code-named Egypt, Italy, and Denmark), which are scheduled for release in mid of 2005. Sharply on the heels of these chips, AMD will launch high-end desktop processors with dual cores in the Athlon 64 FX line (code-named Toledo). Tape-out of first chips already has been achieved, AMD said.

"Dual-core, industry-standard processors are perhaps the most important direction as customers require the best price-performance in their systems going forward," said John Fowler, executive vice president of Network Systems, Sun Microsystems, in a prepared statement. "Since we first carefully reviewed AMD's plans in 2000, we have been impressed with their focus on high-performance, efficient computing and commitment to chip-level multiprocessing." Sun uses AMD processors in its entry-level servers.

AMD also announced that it will shift its production process from 90 nm to 65 nm in mid of 2005 in its upcoming Fab 36. First 65 nm products are expected to hit the market in 2006.