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AMD to Launch Opteron in April

Chipmaker AMD will launch its 64-bit server and workstation processor, the AMD Opteron, on April 22 in New York City. The launch date synchronizes the alternative to Intel's 64-bit Itanium family with the first general release of a 64-bit Windows server operating system.

AMD's Opteron processor is built to use the same x86 instruction set that AMD and Intel 32-bit processors use. The approach contrasts with Intel's decision to use an entirely new instruction set for its Itanium processors. AMD's chips will perform better with 32-bit applications, which Intel must run with an emulator that extracts a performance penalty. Intel's 64-bit processors have been on the market since mid-2001. Shortly after AMD's launch of its first generation of 64-bit processors, Intel is expected to roll out its third generation of Itanium chips.

AMD's April 22 launch date fits with AMD's promises in the middle of last year that it would launch Opteron in the first half of 2003.

The Opteron launch will precede Microsoft's launch of Windows Server 2003 by two days. That server operating system release includes the first general releases by Microsoft of 64-bit server operating systems. Windows Server 2003 will have a 64-bit Datacenter Edition and a 64-bit Enterprise Edition. Microsoft has previously put out 64-bit operating systems as limited releases.

AMD on Friday disclosed a few other elements of its processor roadmap. The AMD Athlon 64 desktop processor and mobile Athlon 64 processor will launch in September. The company will introduce its AMD Athlon XP processor 3000+ on Feb. 10 and the AMD Athlon XP processor 3200+ in the middle of the year.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.