Roadmap and Industry Support

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Below are two of the features and benefits tables that AMD provided me with that describe how the Opteron will perform in the Server and Workstation market.

AMD Opteron Processor Overview - Processors 10
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AMD Opteron Processor Overview - Processors 11
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Finally, here is the updated AMD roadmap.

AMD Opteron Processor Overview - Processors 12
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There are a couple of interesting things to note here on the roadmap. First, the AMD Athlon based on the Thoroughbred processor has yet to be released, but the successor to it, the Barton core, which now includes 512 k L2 cache, is scheduled to be available late this year. Also, though the Opteron name has been given to the SledgeHammer line of processors, the ClawHammer products are still (currently, at least) going to use the AMD Athlon name. What derivation of that we will see is still unknown.

Did you notice that the Duron Appaloosa is gone? AMD has decided that they are going to aggressively price the older Athlon XP processors to take over the market that the Duron processor once held. They are still going to be selling the Duron into 2003 but now they are focused completely on the Athlon and Opteron family of processors. RIP AMD Duron.

64-bit OEM Support

This topic is going to be rather difficult to write about, simply because at this point, writing before the NDA has expired, I am still not sure of the events on the 24th of April. If what I think will happen, does, Microsoft will announce their 64-bit Windows XP operating system and also that it will fully support the x86-64 bit instruction set that AMD has developed.

What does this mean for AMD? First thing, it means that all of their hard work in the development of the Hammer architecture will have paid off, as the largest operating system producer for the enterprise market will have adopted their specifications over the competing Intel specifications. This would be a huge blow to the long-running PC market king of Intel, and they would be forced to turn their attention to an x86-64 processor of their own, which most believe they already have done. The “Yamhill” is the supposed attempt.

What does it mean for the rest of the industry? Well, over the last few months, many people have been wondering if the Hammer line would even be able to survive with the OEM support from the larger enterprise server manufacturers and operating systems. With Microsoft backing AMD’s specifications, the industry will be forced to do as Intel will do – adopt the AMD Opteron and other Hammer products in their lines. With MS Windows XP 64-bit on the way, the server market will surely want to take advantage of it and they will need to use the AMD Opteron to do so.


While the events of today were not a change to anything in the AMD Hammer line from a technical standpoint, it is a huge change for the stance of the Hammer in the server and workstation industry. With the Opteron name and support from the world’s largest enterprise operating system developer, I see a bright future for AMD.

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