Sun, HP to Introduce AMD Opteron Servers This Month

AMD Opteron Gains Momentum

by Anton Shilov
02/01/2004 | 06:39 PM

There are two positive events for Advanced Micro Devices to happen in February: reportedly HP and Sun Microsystems, two of the four world’s most notable server companies, introduce their AMD Opteron-based machines this month.


Executive Vice President, Volume Systems Products for Sun Microsystems, the man who denied his company was even looking at AMD Opteron a year ago, confirmed CNET’s the plans to introduce 2P servers using AMD’s 64-bit server central processing unit this month. Separately, there are claims about HP’s intention to debut its ProLiant AMD Opteron servers also in February 2004.

Presumably on the 10th of February, 2004, in San Francisco, California, roughly 3 months after Sun Microsystems and AMD formed strategic alliance Sun announces its 2-way AMD Opteron-based machine called the v20z. The 2P AMD64 server is likely to serve the same markets Sun sells its Intel Xeon-based solutions into. Supposedly, models with 4 and even 8 AMD64 processors may follow this year too, but Sun Microsystems would not confirm or deny this.

“We will start with the [dual AMD64 processor] product this quarter and continue with the product every quarter the rest of the year,” Neil Knox told CNET journalists.

By using AMD Opteron processors, Sun Microsystems, who is one of the oldest and most respected server companies in the world, will give the industry a sign of a fine and reliable technology – AMD64. What Sun probably cannot do is to skyrocket sales volumes of AMD Opteron chips immediately, as the company is not among the Top 10 32-bit server firms now (that means Sun supplied less than 7000 x86 servers in Q4 2003). Still, in the long run there are quite a lot of prospects for AMD and Sun, it is pretty hard to underestimate this alliance. 

HP, the world’s largest computer company and the No.1 server maker, will also bolster AMD Opteron reputation when it unveils its new ProLiant servers later this month. Throughout the fourth quarter of 2003 the Palo Alto, California-based firm sold nearly 443 thousand of x86 servers, all based on Intel Xeon microprocessors, and its partnership with AMD may actually improve AMD Opteron sales very significantly.

With three world’s most respected server companies shipping AMD Opteron servers that can handle both 64-bit and 32-bit operation, there would be quite some pressure on Intel Xeon chips that do not sport 64-bit extensions. This is why there are rumours about possible debut of Intel Xeon CT processors with 64-bit capability in mid-February. If it happens, more pressure will be on AMD, as Intel is known for its ability to quickly create infrastructure for new processors and has fairly more design wins with its Xeon chips than AMD has with its Opteron CPUs.