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AMD Hires New CTO

The man who helped lead the development of AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 chips announced his resignation from the company Wednesday.

But AMD softened the blow of Fred Weber's departure by simultaneously announcing that industry veteran Phil Hester will fill the vacancy.

Prior to joining AMD, Hester was founder and CEO of Austin, Texas-based Newisys, which was among the first companies to design and manufacture enterprise-class, multi-processor servers based on the AMD Opteron processor.

Before founding Newisys, Hester spent 23 years at IBM in several strategic management positions, including CTO of the PC division, general manager of the integrated product solutions division and vice president of hardware development for the RS/6000 division.

"I have always been a fan of AMD's technology and design philosophies, going back to my early days at IBM," said Hester in a statement. "Because AMD64 technology was designed and optimized from the start for multi-core processing using its Direct Connect Architecture, we really have only scratched the surface of its true computing potential."

Hester will guide AMD's processor advancements, as well as manage advanced infrastructure strategies where the company said the primary goal is to seamlessly integrate next-generation computing functionality into AMD-powered systems.

Weber, who said he's "an entrepreneur at heart," is leaving to work with early-stage technology ventures. His well-coordinated departure included praise for his successor.

"Phil is a great leader, and a great technologist. He has an incredible depth and breadth of experience in system-level innovation at both the commercial and consumer levels, most of which is based on decades-long relationships with some of our most important customers and partners."

AMD also received some good news from TheInfoPro (TIP). The market research company just released a report that details a significant upswing in interest for servers made by IBM, HP and Sun running on Opteron processors as an alternative to Intel .

Only 20 percent of the server professionals with purchasing influence surveyed said they expected to end 2005 without installing AMD servers. HP was the most-often cited standalone AMD server provider, followed by IBM and Sun. TIP said survey participants were from Fortune 1000 companies.

"Users described interest and excitement over AMD's 64-bit Opteron server capabilities, citing price performance advantages over Intel-based boxes, both for 64-bit Linux installations, as well as running in 32-bit mode running Microsoft Windows Server 2003," said Bob Gill, TIP's chief research officer in a statement. "With the 64-bit version of Windows Server, which is supported on Opteron, beginning to enter the market, users are hoping for even greater performance for Windows Server installations."

In a curious admission last week, Intel itself noted AMD's success in the server market earlier this month. Responding to an AMD lawsuit, Intel cited Opteron's success as proof it has not engaged in illegal anti-competitive practices as AMD has charged.

"When AMD is able to combine competitive products with reliable supply, the market responds," said Intel in a statement.