Volume 5, Number 20 -- May 20, 2008

AMD Ships Low-Power Barcelonas as Two More Execs Exit

Published: May 20, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Struggling X64 chip maker Advanced Micro Devices last week said that the so-called HE, short for highly efficient, variants of its quad-core "Barcelona" Opteron processors are now shipping to customers. The announcement came just after AMD has rejiggered its future Opteron roadmaps two weeks ago and two top executives have left the company in a reworking of the engineering positions at the company last week.

The Barcelona HE chips are available in the Opteron 2300 series, for two-socket servers, and in the Opteron 8300 series, for four-socket and larger servers. The HE parts are able to run at a lower voltage than the standard Opteron parts, which is why they have a 55-watt energy rating instead of 95 watt rating held by standard Opterons in any class of chips. AMD will eventually deliver so-called Special Edition, or SE, Barcelonas, which run at higher clock speeds than the standard parts but which also have a 120 watt rating.

As we previously reported back at the September Barcelona launch, there are actually three Opteron 2000 series chips with the HE designation and two variants for the four-socket boxes in the Opteron 8000 series. The Opteron 2347 HE runs at 1.9 GHz and costs $377, the Opteron 2346 HE runs at 1.8 GHz and costs $255, and the Opteron 2344 HE runs at 1.7 GHz and costs $209. The two 8000 series HE variants of the Barcelonas are the Opteron 8347 HE, running at 1.9 GHz and costing $873 and the Opteron 8346 HE, running at 1.8 GHz and costing $698. (Those are volume prices for a 1,000-unit tray of chips, by the way.) These HE chips are less than half the cost of HE variants in the Rev E generation two years ago, and considering that AMD is only charging a nominal premium for HE parts now, it seems likely that the HE chips are going to be the main weapon that the company tries to use against Intel. (Shifting volume production toward lower-voltage as well as dealing with the cache bug in the Barcelona design parts could have been why the Barcelonas were delayed from June or July to September last year.)

AMD also announced last week that Randy Allen, previously general manager of AMD's server and workstation division, has been elevated to the position of senior vice president of AMD's Computing Solutions Group, reporting to Dirk Meyer, AMD's president and chief operating officer. Allen gave the presentations to the press and analyst communities two weeks ago concerning the rejiggering of the Opteron processor roadmaps for servers and workstations, and he has been at AMD for 24 years; most recently, Allen was the chief engineer for the Opteron and Athlon chips.

AMD also announced that it is forming a new Central Engineering organization, to be headed by new employee, Chekib Akrout, formerly vice president of design of the Freescale Semiconductor spinout of Motorola, and Jeff VerHuel, currently corporate vice president of design engineering and a 25-year chip designer hailing from IBM. Akrout was only recently an employee of Freescale, and himself is a chip maker from IBM and was a key technologist involved in the Cell Power chip (used in Sony PlayStation, the Xenon chip (used in Microsoft's Xbox 360, and other embedded PowerPC chips.

AMD also said that it has promoted Allen Sockwell to be senior vice president of human resources and chief talent officer (the difference being not entirely clear), which means Sockwell is responsible for developing AMD's talent pool. Mario Rivas, formerly executive vice president of the Computing Solutions Group, and Michel Cadieux, formerly senior vice president and chief talent officer, have left AMD "to pursue new opportunities."


AMD Revises Opteron Roadmaps, Pushes Out Rev Gs

Server Makers Start Shipping Barcelona Boxes

AMD to Slash 10 Percent of Workforce Amid Sales Shortfall

Intel Talks Up X64, Itanium Roadmaps Ahead of IDF

AMD Says Barcelona Bug Is Fixed, Almost Ready to Ramp

AMD Stalled by a Bug in Barcelona Opterons

Intel Announces First "Penryn" Xeon Processors

AMD Gets Aggressive About Watts with Quad-Core Barcelonas

Chief Marketeer at AMD Quits Before Barcelona Launch

AMD's Chip Roadmaps: Beyond Barcelona

Intel Cranks Out Two More Quads, AMD Sets Barcelona Date

AMD Gooses Dual-Core Opteron Speeds, Cuts Prices

Intel Sets Up 'Tigerton' Xeon MPs Against Future Opterons

AMD Sets 'Barcelona' Quad-Core Opteron Launch for August

Intel Delivers Low-Power, Quad-Core Xeon Chips

AMD: Native Quad Core Opteron Will Best Intel Quasi Quads

Intel Delivers More Quad-Core Server and PC Chips

AMD Unveils Rev F Opterons, Prepares for Quad Cores in Mid-2007

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
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