AMD Touts “Pacifica”, a Virtualization Technique

AMD Aims to Offer Alternative to Vanderpool, Silvervale

by Anton Shilov
09/12/2004 | 11:55 AM

Advanced Micro Devices, the world’s No.2 maker of microprocessors, is planning to present its own technology similar to Intel’s Vanderpool and Silvervale that can emulate numerous independent execution machines on a single personal computer in future. The move is likely to ensure AMD-based PCs are able to offer the same functionality as “Intel Inside” computers.


Pacifica is an AMD program focused on enhancing virtualization technology,” said Phil Hughes, an AMD spokesman.

For more than a year now Santa Clara, California-based Intel has been planning to enable advanced parallelism for personal computers in order to increase reliability and add new usage models for end-users. Vanderpool is a hardware tech that splits system into several virtual parts that work independently and use the same resources of the PC. Servers’ central processing units are also likely to get a virtualization tech: Intel calls it Silvervale, but does not reveal any differences compared to Vanderpool.

While the Vanderpool – VT – is said to be a hardware technology, Intel Corp. said at IDF that the tech will require support from operating system, which may indicate that certain OS functionality is required in order to allow virtualization. Currently Intel targets to enable VT when Microsoft releases its Longhorn that is slated to come in 2006 or 2007.

Just like Intel, AMD does not disclose a lot of details about its Pacifica technology that does the same things as Vanderpool and Silvervale.

“We do not comment beyond that at this point, we plan to disclose more details in the coming months,” Mr. Hughes indicated.

It is unclear when AMD plans to add the Pacifica technology into its central processing units. AMD also remains tightlipped whether its Pacifica tech is able to function only with multi-core processors, or may operate on chips with single processing engine. So far Intel Corp. proclaimed its Silvervale and Vanderpool features only in connection with multi-core chips. There is also no information whether pacifica can be enabled with current AMD64 processors or is a feature of AMD's future K9 chips.

Pacifica is a city in California. It is located 12 miles south of San Francisco along the scenic coast of the Pacific Ocean.