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Next-Generation AMD Opteron Paves The Way For Quad-Core

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday made the first major upgrade to its successful Opteron server processor. The change will include a shift to a new socket the company says will carry it through next year's conversion to quad-core processors while providing users with hardware-assisted virtualization and use of second-generation double data rate memory for the first time.

The introduction of Opteron Rev-F provides AMD with an enhanced processor platform to battle the gains made by Intel with its recently introduced Woodcrest sever platform, which uses that company's new Core architecture.

In addition, announcements from major server vendors Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems of new systems based on the next-generation Opteron is expected to significantly expand the total number of server platforms using the AMD processors.

According to Mercury Research, AMD currently has a 26% share of the x86 server processor market, up from 22% in the first quarter. Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64, says AMD should increase that share again in the third and fourth quarters.

To date, HP has led the way in volume shipments of Opteron-based servers. But Sun has seen its AMD-powered server volumes increasing, and IBM has announced five new servers based on the Opteron Rev-F. Dell has also said it will introduce an Opteron-based server for the first time later this year.

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