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AMD shoves delayed Barcelona chip out of the door

Arrives six months after official launch

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AMD at last began shipping its delayed quad-core Opteron server processor chips in volume to channel partners today.

The chip, code-named Barcelona, was officially launched by AMD in September last year.

However, a major technical erratum - well, bug - forced the firm to postpone mass production of the processor while it made fixes at the silicon level.

The problem also affected AMD's Phenom processor chips that were touted for use in high-end computers and built on the same architecture as Barcelona. That chip finally received the red carpet treatment last week.

Sunnyvale, California-based AMD was yesterday keen to stress that eight heavyweight OEMs will begin shipping systems loaded with the Opteron processor over the coming weeks.

As we reported last month, HP was the first big name computer maker to bravely step out from the shadows and load its ProLiant G5 platforms with the quad-core chip.

Despite being about nine months ahead of arch rival Intel - on paper - with its quad-core technology, the firm struggled to get Barcelona out the door. It was once thought that the quad-core Opteron part would arrive at about this time last year. The shipping delays have caused AMD to lose gobs of precious server market share, and the company's stock price has lost more than half its value over the last year.

AMD now hopes to turn the sorry mess around with its Phenom and Opteron chips. The company's worldwide market development manager John Fruehe told Dow Jones: "We're off to the races now, and the product is out. All of the fixes are in place, and everything looks wonderful."

Meanwhile, shares in the firm have today fallen nearly five per cent, or 31 cents, to $6.03 on the New York Stock Exchange. ®

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