Monday, December 3, 2007

AMD Abandons Plans for Dual-Processor Enthusiast Platforms

Advanced Micro Devices said on Thursday it currently has no plans to develop its dual-processor (DP) platforms for enthusiast. The decision essentially cancels any efforts in regards of the well-advertised FASN8 platform and forces the world’s second largest supplier of x86 microprocessors to leave the market of the so-called extreme enthusiasts.

“[…] AMD has discontinued future planning and development of its eight-core enthusiast platform at this time. […] We will continue to support customers that have an existing Quad FX with DSDC and are also working on an upgrade path for those customers. [The upgrade path] likely won’t be a Phenom-branded product,” Ms. Suzy Pruitt, a spokeswoman for AMD, said in an interview with TechReport web-site.

Following the release of Intel Core 2 Duo and then Intel Core 2 Quad microprocessors by Intel Corp., which immediately become favorites among computer enthusiasts, AMD had to find a way to offer even higher performance. As a result, the chipmaker introduced its Quad FX platform last year with two dual-core AMD Athlon 64 FX-70-series processors to compete against Intel Core 2 Quad. Moreover, it promised that its quad-core processors will be compatible with the Quad FX platform, which would allow end-users to switch processors without changing the rest of the platform.

But Intel was not standing still and shortly after AMD unveiled its Quad FX, the world’s largest maker of x86 chips started to tout its V8 platform that employed two quad-core central processing units (CPUs). As the time went by, Intel unveiled its code-named Skulltrail platform, which is set to employ two specially designed quad-core processors that cost over $3000 alone and feature other enthusiast-relevant capabilities.

AMD did not manage to introduce its AMD Phenom processors at really high clock-speeds to compete against Intel’s products and also had to postpone the release of its higher-price faster CPUs for workstations. Moreover, the company had to delay the release of AMD Phenom FX for enthusiasts. Currently the highest-speed AMD Phenom chip with four processing engines runs at 2.30GHz and cannot be compared against Intel’s Core 2 Extreme processors.

Since the company does not have “FX” parts for performance-demanding customers, it decided to offer AMD Opteron processors and platforms to those enthusiasts, who really need speed, and who needs it badly from AMD.

“While AMD is not actively promoting AMD Opteron processor as a 2P enthusiast solution, we recognized that there are enthusiasts who are looking for two-socket solutions and think an Opteron platform is well-suited to meet that demand at this time,” Ms. Pruitt added.

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