AMD’s Ruiz: ‘Let’s Get Real’

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Tuesday continued its quest to unseat rival Intel with a strategy focused on 64-bit computing and networking.

CEO Hector Ruiz has said that AMD is “dead serious” about becoming ousting Intel to become the No. 1 player in the “computational processor market.” Part of that strategy involves focusing on the growing number of mini-computers that power cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital television and automotive telematic systems.

And even though the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker cannot match Intel’s sales numbers (Intel controls some 80 percent of the market), Ruiz told COMDEX show attendees in Las Vegas that making smaller, faster processors is not the only brass ring in IT.

“All of us here today must make a choice,” said Ruiz. “We can continue to do business the old way, or we can choose a new direction to move the technology industry as a whole forward. I urge you to demand that those companies who are currently serving you today begin developing technology not for its own sake. Not in isolation from the real world. But in line with what you are really trying to do.”

Still, the company asserts that it can take chinks out of Intel’s armor. That vision includes the movement towards what AMD calls a, “connected business model” in which success is determined by the number and quality of partnership relationships. Ruiz argued that Metcalfe’s Law – which says the overall value of a network increases exponentially as devices are added to it – is the new rule of engagement that will set the standard for excellence in the industry in coming years.

“In my view, Metcalfe’s Law will set the standard for excellence in our industry and for our customers in the years to come” said Ruiz.

Ruiz was also agog about getting the word out about AMD’s upcoming processors based on its “Hammer” technology. The company Tuesday said it has renamed its upcoming ‘Clawhammer’ processor as the ‘AMD Athlon 64’. The chip is specifically designed for desktop and mobile PCs. AMD’s Sledgehammer server chips have already been branded with the Opteron name. Ruiz has been quoted as saying the Opteron is a “Xeon-killer,” referring to Intel’s server processor.

To show how well they work, AMD profiled one of its unreleased 64-bit AMD Athlon microprocessors running versions of Epic Games Unreal Tournament 2003 and IBM DB2 software.

When it does debut, Hammer-enhanced chips will include the AMD-8111 HyperTransport I/O hub, the AMD-8131 HyperTransport PCI-X tunnel, and the AMD-8151 HyperTransport AGP3.0 graphics tunnel. HyperTransport technology helps reduce system bottlenecks, boost efficiency and increase system throughput by reducing the number of buses.

But, one problem is that production on the Hammer-based chips have been delayed and may not show up in networked, computer devices until as late as the summer of 2003.

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