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AMD hits Intel with Shanghai surprise

Game, chipset and match

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AMD plans to dish up a server platform based on a new chipset in the first half of 2009 - meanwhile, its 45 nanometre Shanghai processor will be released in the fourth quarter of this year.

The chip maker made the announcements on Friday, just before the Intel Developer Forum kicked off in San Francisco.

The new chipset is aimed at servers with multiple sockets to plug in additional server chips. AMD claimed the platform would improve performance through new virtualisation resources and support for HyperTransport 3.0 bus technology.

Shanghai is AMD’s answer to Intel’s Nehalem processor, and the company’s first chip using the 45nm manufacturing process.

AMD trails far behind Intel in shipping 45nm processors, and this announcement, ahead of IDF, was a clear attempt to score some big ink before Intel muscles its smaller rival out of the picture.

Presumably, AMD OEM chums can expect to start punting early server systems based on the firm’s new line of processors by the end of 2008, if the chip maker delivers on its promise. The chips will go into its forthcoming chipset and can also be slotted into Nvidia and Broadcom chipset offerings.

AMD’s senior computing solutions veep Randy Allen said desktop-based systems loaded with Shanghai will follow shortly after, according to reports. Importantly though, no shipment schedules have been finalised with server vendors as yet.

Nehalem chips are expected to appear in desktops next month. But there's no word from Intel on whether it will offer two-socket or four-socket server versions. That lack of info from Chipzilla probably explains the motive behind AMD's cat-and-mouse decision to spin out news about its processor aimed at the server market first. ®

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