For the second time in past two years, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. today will take the lead in transforming the industry-standard, mainstream computing market with the release of the first dual-core x86-based microprocessors for servers.
Top-tier vendors Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems all have announced plans to introduce new servers and workstations based on the dual-core Opteron processors. But questions remain whether this latest technological advance by AMD will enable it to finally achieve large-scale success.
"Clearly they have a lead in another technology over Intel, but what's hard to answer is what kind of benefit will they reap," says Mike Feibus, an analyst with TechKnowledge Strategies Inc. "They've been ahead of Intel on several fronts, but it hasn't really helped them crack into that Holy Grail of big enterprise."
Two years ago today, AMD released its first Opteron processor, which enabled it over the ensuing 24 months to launch a transformation of the 32-bit x86 market to 64-bit computing, dragging along a reluctant Intel. With Thursday's availability of the first dual-core Opteron processors, Intel again finds itself months behind the innovation curve, although Paul Otellini, Intel's president and chief operating officer expressed little concern when he announced record first-quarter revenues and profits last week.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Otellini told analysts. "People pay a premium for Intel products, and we're outselling our competition by a large measure."
Pat Patla, director of server and workstation marketing for AMD, says that with the dual-core Opteron offerings, AMD is repeating a successful strategy. "We brought 64-bit computing to the masses, and that's exactly what we are going to bring to dual core,"0 Patla says. "We're enabling the next level of performance without users having to change their power infrastructure."