AMD Preps "Presidio", a Chip Security Technology

AMD Follows Intel with Complex Security Features

by Anton Shilov
09/22/2004 | 12:30 PM

Officials for Advanced Micro Devices said Wednesday the company was developing “Presidio”, a feature to enhance security of personal computers. The claim follows Intel’s plans to offer more secure PCs with its LaGrande technology and industry-wide initiative to implement non-execute bit into conventional microprocessors.


AMD Touts Presidio

“Presidio is an AMD program focused on advancing PC and server security technology,” AMD’s spokesman Phil Hughes told X-bit labs.

The representative remained tight-lipped over the details concerning the technology and did not reveal any direction of Presidio. He declined to comment whether there are any links between Presidio, Intel’s LaGrande technology and Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system.

Earlier this year Sunnyvale, California-based AMD incorporated so-called non-execute bit into its chips. The capability protects certain system memory data regions from insertion and execution of potentially harmful code, that is also referred as NX-bit, eXecute Disable (XD) or AntiVirusNX Technology and works only in conjunction with Windows XP operating systems that feature Service Pack 2.

Central Processing Units Gain Functionality

Intel Corp., AMD’s main rival, is also expected to add non-execute bit functionality later this year, but the world’s largest chipmaker is also preparing a more advanced security technique called LaGrande. LaGrande technology is a hardware-based approach. It is going to be available to the business customers in 1-2 years. It protects the path between the keyboard and the system. It protects visual info, as it uses protected window invisible to hackers’ soft.

“Not much to say [about Presidio] right now. We don’t provide any additional info [at this time],” Mr. Hughes said.

The idea to add security capability into the future chips come into view about a week after AMD announced Pacifica, a virtualization technology. The company’s announcements correspond to paradigm recently proclaimed by executives of Intel Corp., who believe that end-users no longer seek for computational power alone, but pay greater attention to functionality of personal computers.