AMD Spreads Alchemy

Hector Ruiz, president and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is so far keeping his promise of releasing a flurry of new products into the microprocessor market within the coming months.

Over the past few weeks, AMD began shipping its latest Athlon MP 2400+ processor for high-performance servers and workstations, and AMD is also slated to release its Opteron processor, a competitive chip offering to Intel’s Itanium, by the beginning of 2003.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD also formed two new business units this week to push sales within emerging markets for high-density Flash memory products, one of AMD’s biggest cash cows.

But the No. 2 chipmaker is also relying on key partnerships with distributors to tow the line when it comes to bolstering worldwide sales.

AMD announced this week that it is marketing its AMD Alchemy Solutions line of system-on-a-chip (SOC) processors and development board kits through Arrow Electronics , Avnet, Inc. , and Future Electronics, which combined represent hundreds of thousands of accounts worldwide and a solid base of field application engineers trained to answer developer’s questions about AMD’s products.

All three companies are considered some of the most substantial distributors of semiconductor products in the world.

The two-chip Alchemy product combines an integrated baseband processor/media access controller (MAC), with direct-memory-access (DMA) host interface and on-chip hardware acceleration to reduce the host CPU load, and a CMOS RF transceiver with no need for a separate intermediate-frequency chip. An all-digital interface between the two chips helps eliminate the need for an on-chip microcontroller and external flash memory and SRAM.

Headquartered in Melville, New York, Arrow Electronics maintains a supply channel for suppliers and original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, and resellers through 200 sales facilities and distribution centers in 40 countries.

Arizona-based Avnet is considered one of the largest business-to-business distributors of semiconductors, enterprise network and computer equipment, with reach into 63 countries.

And Future Electronics markets and distributes semiconductors and electro-mechanical components out of 155 offices in 35 countries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

“The fact that these industry-leading distributors will be adding our SOC processors and development board kits to their portfolio is significant,” said Phil Pompa, AMD vice president of marketing for AMD’s Personal Connectivity Solutions Group (PCS), where Alchemy Solutions products are created.

PCS formed in February of this year when AMD acquired Alchemy Semiconductor, which produced a line of MIPS (million instructions per second) technology-based processors for the non-PC Internet appliance market, including personal digital assistants, Web tablets, and driver information systems.

By aligning itself with Arrow Electronics, Avnet, and Future Electronics, the strain will be off AMD’s resources to promote and support its own products, a company representative said.

AMD’s distributors are expected to drum up interest in Alchemy Solutions Au1000, Au1100, and Au1500 processors by the first quarter of next year, the company said.

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