Starting from the second half of the nineties, x86 processors have been crowding out different types of CPUs from server and workstation markets. Yes, now we still see non-x86-based systems around and Intel even released its own EPIC IA64 processor for high-end servers, nevertheless, x86 and its incarnations are indisputably very strong these days. And here is another confirmation of this trend.
AMD, who always used Sun Solaris/RISC flows for taping out its CPUs, said yesterday that it will tape out its code-named K9 chip using entirely x86/Linux systems. At the moment I have no idea which processors are to be used by AMD, but I can suggest that the Opteron CPUs. I fairly do not think Advanced Micro Devices will use Intel’s Xeon chips or its own Athlon XP CPUs since they offer less performance compared to Opteron. Moreover, AMD will hardly tape out the K9 in course of the next couple of years and in three years time AMD Athlon XP will be completely forgotten. So, it is quite logical to assume AMD will utilize its own x86-64 (or AMD64 as the company likes to call this architecture now) Opteron chips for taping out the next-generation product.
Additionally, Fred Weber, the chief technologist at Advanced Micro Devices, told EETimes that a shift to 64-bit computing is about to gain momentum which will lead to a “renaissance” in workstation design and use. He did not say when he expected this to happen.
He also did not specify the timeframes when the K9 will be released. Given a lot of postpones of the K8 aka Hammer architecture due to design and manufacturing issues, we may actually expect AMD to present the K9 relatively shortly after the K8 is on the market.