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Intel Hastens Xeon Development Pace

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Attempting to play catch-up with rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) on the server front, Intel Corp. is accelerating the development of several new microprocessor lines. This includes a new 64-bit Xeon platform that incorporates an integrated memory controller, according to a report from Pacific Crest Securities Inc.

Michael McConnell, an analyst with Pacific Crest (Portland), said that Intel has moved about 200 engineers from its Itanium processor lines to the Xeon in an effort to accelerate the development of a 64-bit chip with an integrated controller. This product is due out in the second quarter of 2007, McConnell said.

In the interim, Intel apparently has a multi-pronged strategy to enhance the Xeon, a 32/64-bit processor for servers, he said in a report.

In contrast to Intel, AMD integrated a memory controller within its own 64-bit Opteron processor line — a product that has gathered momentum in the marketplace. In the second quarter of this year, Intel’s server-based processor sales fell 6 percent, compared to an 89 percent sequential jump for AMD, according to Pacific Crest.

“We believe our findings further validate AMD’s Opteron architecture and its advantages over Intel’s single-bus, discrete memory controller Xeon, and places Intel again in the rare position of playing catch-up to AMD,” he said in the report.

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