AMD Targets 64-Bit Desktop, Game Boxes

AMD is hoping to extend its lead in the race for desktop
64-bit x86 compatible processors with four new chips and some help from a
few friends.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker launched its Athlon 64
FX-53 processor and the AMD Athlon 64 processors 3800+, 3700+ and 3500+ are
ready for purchase for desktop, gaming and mobile platforms.

Each one includes AMD’s Enhanced Virus Protection (EVP), which will work
with the pending Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2, officials said.

Microsoft is teaming with chipmakers Intel, AMD and Transmeta to provide a
hardware/software combination that reduces memory buffer overruns that many
hackers exploit to insert malicious code into Windows.

“A fundamental piece of next-generation computing is driving 64-bit chips
into the mainstream, where you don’t have to think of high-end computing and
consumer PC computing as two separate things,” Chris Jones, vice president,
Core Operating Systems Division, Microsoft, said in a statement.

HP is leading the charge in supporting the new 64-bit
x86 compatible Athlon chips. The systems vendor said it will use
the FX-53, 3800+ and 3500+ models in its upcoming Compaq X Gaming PC, expected to debut in the U.S. in July.

The new Athlon offerings also support the outfit’s Cool’n’Quiet power-management
technology as well as its Direct Connect Architecture. Direct Connect
bridges the memory controller and I/O to the central processor unit. The
company said the technology also helps eliminate the bottlenecks inherent in
older, competitive technologies that feature a front-side bus.

The FX-53 processor, as well as the 3800+ and 3500+ models are the first
in AMD’s new recyclable Processor-In-a-Box (PIB) packaging, which the
company hopes will cut down on waste. In 1,000-unit quantities, the FX-53
wholesales for $799. Models 3800+, 3700+ and 3500+ are priced at $720, $710
and $500, respectively.

AMD is also garnering support for its 64-bit products with the help of
sometimes rivals Broadcom and Taiwan-based VIA
Technologies. VIA said its VIA K8T800 Pro chipset has been modified to
support the latest 1 GHz+ AMD Athlon 64 processors with the 939-pin
interface. Motherboards highlighting the relationship are expected to be
available from manufacturers before the middle of this month.

In its separate statement, Broadcom said it has agreed to a strategic
partnership that will let it build server chipsets that support AMD’s
Opteron processor family.

The arrangement, which has caught the attention of
companies like Sun Microsystems, is expected to produce its first round of
samples later this fall.

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