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AMD's Opteron Gets Boost From Sun, Microsoft

Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor family received two breakout developments Monday as Sun Microsystems and Microsoft rolled out products based on AMD's high-end 64-bit processor.

Sun announced Opteron-based servers and workstations running Sun's proprietary Solaris OS and Linux while Microsoft unveiled SQL Server 2005 support for the Opteron family.

The products are available immediately -- three configurations from Sun and a Beta 2 version of SQL from Microsoft. "If you're a small to medium-sized business, you can be well satisfied with the 64-bit SQL database running up to 64 GB memory with Sun's four-way processors," said Terry Shannon, publisher of Shannon Knows High Performance Computing, in an interview.

While the two firms -- Sun and Microsoft -- didn't link their Monday announcements, Shannon noted that taken together the two show a roadmap for the future of 64-bit computing. Shannon said the Sun announcement came as no surprise as the firm has indicated in the past that it "would take the Opteron as high as possible."

How high is that? "For sure, 8-ways," said Shannon, adding that he didn't know how high a configuration beyond that could be, although theoretically it could go to 128 ways, which he said would represent a very large enterprise system.

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