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Is AMD's Barcelona delayed?

Exec responds to rumours of quad-core delay

AMD insisted it would begin shipping its ‘Barcelona’ quad-core Opteron processor in August, rebutting industry rumours that the chip faced manufacturing problems that could delay it until October.

Although AMD has already lined up hardware partners like Sun Microsystems to use the chip in high-end servers, some analysts had predicted that a delayed release could cause AMD to lose business to Intel.

However, AMD insists it is on schedule to produce both standard and low-wattage SE (special edition) versions of Barcelona, in a range of frequencies up to 2.0GHz. The new Barcelona chips will generate the same amount of heat as current Opteron chips, but improve computing performance by 70 percent for database applications or 40 percent for floating point jobs, Allen said.

Future versions of both types will run at even higher speeds, allowing customers to further improve their energy efficiency, said Randy Allen, corporate vice president of AMD's server and workstation division.

Intel competes for those same customers today with the dual-core Woodcrest and quad-core Clovertown Xeon processors launched last year, and plans to up the ante in the fourth quarter of 2007 with quad-core ‘Harpertown’ server chip using smaller, 45-nanometre scale components.

AMD will begin shipping Barcelona chips for sale in August, and expects server vendors to ship commercial products using the chip by September. AMD hopes those new servers are popular enough to help reverse a slide in market share and revenue in recent months. The company has posted losses of hundreds of millions of dollars for the past two quarters as it struggles to survive a price war with Intel.

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