UPDATE: Adding details concerning shipments of Intel's quad-core chips.
A vice president for Advanced Micro Devices, the world’s second biggest supplier of x86 central processing units (CPUs) who is struggling to keep its lineup competitive amid unprecedented price pressure from Intel Corp., said in an interview that the ramp of the company’s next-generation server processor with four processing engines will be inline with the ramp of dual-core chips several years ago.
Randy Allen, corporate vice president of AMD’s server and workstation division, said that he expected the company’s partners to transit to code-named Barcelona processors “at a pace similar to the switch from AMD single-core chips to dual-core in 2005”.
“Within two quarters of the [dual-core AMD Opteron] introduction, 50% of AMD’s [server and workstation] shipments were dual-core. I expect the ramp from duo core to quad core to be similar,” Mr. Allen said in an interview with Information Week web-site.
AMD plans to introduce quad-core server/workstation processors in late-Q2 or in Q3, therefore, either by late-Q4 or Q1 2008 about a half of new AMD Opteron processors will feature four processing engines. Given that Intel has not publicly announced proportion of its quad-core chips among shipments this year, rapid ramp of AMD’s quad-core chips may be a tangible competitive advantage for the chipmaker, which has been losing server market share for a couple of quarters now. Still, Intel revealed plans to ship one million of quad-core chips by mid-2007 with the majority being server-oriented, moreover, some sources even predicted that 3% of the company's CPU shipments this year will feature four processing engines.
Earlier this year AMD’s chief executive said that “revenue ramp” of code-named Barcelona quad-core processors will not be very speedy, possibly because server processors do not represent a bulk of AMD’s shipments, whereas chips with four processing engines may be too expensive for mainstream desktops.
The new chips, which are named K8L or K10, are made using 65nm process technology and the family is set to include both dual-core and quad-core microprocessors, though, it is uncertain whether the new lineup includes single-core central processing units (CPUs) too. It is believed that micro-architectural enhancements of the K8L will allow AMD to more successfully compete against Intel Core 2 family of chips.