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Advanced Micro Devices explained X-bit labs some peculiarities of the licensing deal with the Chinese government. Apparently, the firm will not license its core known as the K7, which resembles Geode NX processor family. This clarifies that the deal is limited to Geode architecture, which has nothing to do with AMD’s K7 and K8 architectures.

“While both are x86-based processors, the AMD Athlon XP and AMD Geode processors employ different architectures. Of particular note, the AMD Athlon XP processor is superscalar while the AMD Geode processor employs single pipeline architecture,” said David B. Schlosser, a spokesman for AMD.

“The processors were engineered by different developers and AMD added the AMD Geode processor to its portfolio through the acquisition of another company. However, because both processors are full, unrestricted implementation of an x86 instruction set CPU, they will run essentially the same software,” Mr. Schlosser added.

AMD said that Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will facilitate discussions between AMD and Chinese companies receiving access to x86 Geode technology licenses. AMD will earn revenue from licensing the AMD Geode processor to commercial entities designated by Peking University and MOST. Additionally, AMD will have access to intellectual property derived from the licensed technology and options to invest in businesses that emerge from development of AMD Geode processor-based technology in China.

Potentially, such an agreement can mean significant boost to AMD’s revenues. However, it is unclear how Chinese companies are going to produce processors, as the country lacks advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities. One of the options could be asking certain contract manufacturers, such as ST Microelectronics. AMD declined to comment on production capabilities of Chinese chipmaker.


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