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On the eve of the Intel Developer Forum, at an August 15 press conference, AMD Senior Vice President Randy Allen said these 45-nm processors will ship in the fourth quarter of 2008, which means that some of AMD's OEM partners could have early systems for sale by the end of the year. AMD has not specified their shipping schedule for Shanghai processors before. They only claimed that they would start shipping within H2 2008. They also stressed that launching Shanghai this year will let AMD compete successfully against Intel in the server segment.

True, Intel has not specified when the first of its Nehalem chips for servers will ship to partners. The first of these processors will appear in high-end desktops. But it is clear that Intel will want to counter what AMD has to offer, especially in the high-volume, two-socket server market. This could mean Nehalem-based chips for two-socket servers will appear in the fourth quarter as well. The leaking company roadmaps confirm this information, too.

Nevertheless, AMD is extremely optimistic. "They [Intel] won't be factoring our 45-nanometer Shanghai product and be making shipments of that by the end of the year," Allen said. "I think some of the questions that should be asked are, What is their [Intel's] specific schedule for their two-socket offering around Nehalem and when is that going to make its way into the four-socket platforms?"

While AMD is looking to compete with Intel in the two- and four-socket server space, there was a notable absence of details about Shanghai during Allen's talk, including specifics on performance improvements.

AMD has previously said Shanghai based on K10 micro-architecture will contain 6MB of Level 3 cache compared with the 2MB of L3 cache in the company's current crop of quad-core Opteron processors. AMD will for the first time use 45nm production technology for these quad-core processors. Something AMD has in its favor is that the Shanghai chips will be compatible with existing Socket F server mainboards. With BIOS update, users can upgrade their systems fairly easily, which should help AMD move the products into the marketplace. For Intel, an upgrade to a Nehalem chip will require a new chip set, which means OEMs will have to engineer new systems.

Tags: AMD, Opteron, Shanghai

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