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Advanced Micro Devices recently reiterated its commitment to make a processor with four processing cores in the second half of the decade and even officially marked the target timeframe for the engineering samples. But the date may even be too conservative, it seems.

“I am perfectly confident that we will see engineering samples [of quad-core processors] in 2007,” said AMD’s CEO and President Hector Ruiz in an interview with CRN web-site.

Earlier some analysts expected Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker to actually introduce the quad-core central processing units in 2007. While the comments from AMD’s chief indicate availability of engineering samples in 2007, the claim itself may be rather pessimistic: AMD has already showed that it can be little bit ahead of schedule with its dual-core processor launch.

While there will be hardly any need for multi-core microprocessors in desktops in 2007, server makers are likely to welcome multi-core chips. It is not clear whether multi-core offerings from AMD will feature AMD64 architecture used today or AMD's future processors micro-architecture that is in development.

Answering the question about the significance of dual-core AMD Opteron processor impact on the market, Mr. Ruiz said the impact in general would be “dramatic”, but the high-volume market would only see the dual-core AMD Opteron chips in 2006.

“It will be rather dramatic in that it will force people to rethink their designs, but it will take some time to get things started. So the volume impact for us will probably be next year,” Mr. Ruiz said.

Currently AMD produces its dual-core and single-core processors using 90nm process technology with SOI using the company’s Fab 30 near Dresden, Germany, that operates 200mm wafers. Even though the die size of dual-core AMD Opteron and dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 is lower compared to Intel’s Pentium Extreme Edition and Intel Pentium D chips, some analysts believe it to be too big for really high-volume manufacturing. When AMD initiates commercial production on its yet-to-be-finished Fab 36 using 65nm process technology and 300mm wafers, the die size of dual-core chips will shrink to more economically feasible levels and will allow AMD to increase the output of the products. Intel is also expected to ramp up dual-core production on the 65nm in 2006.

Intel Corp., the arch-rival of AMD, will also have a quad-core processor code-named Whitefield sometime in 2007 or 2008.


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