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AMD nails IBM to Hammer mast

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AMD is to use proprietary IBM silicon on insulator (SOI) technology in its forthcoming 64-bit Hammer microprocessor family.

The company is to also lean on IBM for some design services and will cross-licence some patents of its own, in a "multi-million dollar" deal, the FT reports.

The use of IBM's SOI design could speed up Hammer chips by up to 30 per cent, making it run faster than the Itanium, Intel's rival 64-bit technology. The technology is also claimed to run at a lower temperature than the Itanium.

AMD is prepping the launch of two Hammer microprocessors, ClawHammer a 1-2 way version, and SledgeHammer, its 4-8 way big brother. The chips are both based on (so-called eighth generation) x.86 technology - the company reckons this technology contiuity supplies it with a big marketing advantage against the Itanium, which is based on a different platform.

In its most recent roadmap, published on March 22, AMD forecasts ClawHammer to go into production in Q1, 2002, with samples hitting the OEMs in Q4, this year. SledgeHammer should see samples out in Q1, 2002 and production lines rolling in Q2, the same year.

With these launches, AMD will at last have the armoury to compete with Intel in all sectors of the market, from mobile PCs, all the way up to corporate servers.
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