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HP is rumoured to become a new partner for AMD in the server field, according to a report from CNET’s News.com. Following Sun Microsystems and International Business Machines, HP will be AMD’s third largest Opteron customer, if the information is correct.

Unveiled in April 2003, AMD Opteron processors have been receiving pretty warm welcome of the industry, but did not manage to catch up with Intel Itanium or Intel Xeon in terms of units sold. According to estimates by Smith Barney analysts, Sunnyvale, California-based AMD supplied 40 thousand of AMD Opteron chips, while Santa Clara, California-based Intel shipped around 100 thousand of Intel Itanium 2 processors and millions of Intel Xeon CPUs.

This year should be far more favourable for Advanced Micro Devices and its Opteron chips because it has design wins with a lot of second-tier server and workstation makers, as well as contracts with first-tier companies, such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu Siemens. Furthermore, this year more software that takes advantage of AMD64 technology is projected to emerge, including highly-anticipated Microsoft Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems as well as Sun Solaris for AMD64 machines. With wider availability of AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron-based computers and richer software portfolio, AMD effectively has more chances to sell its 64-bit chips that also allow running conventional 32-bit software without performance hits.

Basically, everything seems to be positive for AMD. In case potential design win with HP materializes, AMD may celebrate a huge victory – three out of four largest server makers in the world. The only company unlikely to adopt AMD chips at all is Dell, who uses only Intel CPUs.

HP and Compaq have been long-time adopters of AMD processors. HP currently offers a number of desktops for home or business use powered by AMD Athlon XP chips and even Athlon 64-based systems for gaming under Compaq brand. According to the report, AMD Opteron CPUs will be shipped in HP’s ProLiant servers that contain from one to four microprocessors.

Neither HP nor AMD spokespersons commented on the news-story.

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