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IBM Opts for AMD 195

ExE122 writes "Since the unveiling of the low-cost, low-energy AMD Operton in 2003, Intel has been struggling in the server-grade processor insdustry. Now, IBM has announced their decision to use the AMD Opteron processor in their new line of BladeCenter servers. System x3455, x3655 and x3755 rack-mount servers, two-way Bladecenter LS21, and four-way LS41 blade servers sporting the new AMD processors have already been announced. IBM will continue this transition over the next three months.

From the article:
"IBM's choice is by all means an important victory over rival Intel, which is struggling to sell the remaining deposit of server processors before the general acceptance of Woodcrest X5100 chips. Unfortunately for Intel, at the end of the second quarter, Advanced Micro had 26 per cent of the market for servers built on personal computer chips, more than double its share a year earlier, according to Mercury Research."

Could this be lights out for Intel?"
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IBM Opts for AMD

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  • Odd.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VikingThunder ( 924574 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:57PM (#15836961)
    It's kind of odd how everybody is jumping on the AMD train when Intel is finally having viable products with their new architecture (For instance, Dell finally jumping on board).
  • Not too suprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jjthe2 ( 684242 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:10PM (#15837022)
    You know this switch was coming sooner or later. AMD already does a lot of their serious R&D at IBM. They'll be the same company within 5 years.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:14PM (#15837041) Homepage Journal
    I don't think so, but I think IBM has realized that there is just a big market out there for x86-based server hardware, and if they don't provide it to the customer, somebody else (Dell/HPaq) will.

    My understanding is that their new generation of blade servers will let you mix and match Power and x86/Opteron blades on the same backplane, so that you can mix and match whatever you want, in order to fill your needs.

    Frankly, this might be a good thing for Power if it's true, since it might allow customers who aren't ready to jump to Power completely (as in, buy a system that's exclusively Power based) to get a system that's mixed. Or get a predominantly x86 based system, but pop in a few Power boards to see how they work and really compare them apples-to-apples under whatever their business workload is. If Power is as good as IBM says it is, that can't be anything but a good thing.

    IBM not offering an x86-based blade system would be just suicidal; they have a great brand name but it's not enough to keep people buying their RISC stuff if what they really want is x86.
  • by Dr_Art ( 937436 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:22PM (#15837069) Journal
    I think TFA misses an important point. It's not whether Intel or AMD captures the entire market, or what market share these two players have. With only two major players, I'd say the main problem is that we have too little competition, not too much!

  • My thoughts exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:31PM (#15837109)

    Except I was thinking that even if Intel chucked their whole x86 line, they still make a boatload of other chips. Like XScale [intel.com], for instance. Their previous line of ARM processors (the SA-1100 family) are freaking *everywhere*.

  • by Black-Six ( 989784 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:46PM (#15837182)
    I recently Googled "AMD Quad Core" and clicked on the first or second result and read the article. If this article holds true, AMD could very well blow Intel off the map and into orbit. The article said that the recent buyout of chip maker ATI is part of a grander strategy by AMD to take a bite out of Intel. The article said that the current CPU dye made by any manufactuer contains 18 individual components, minus the cores, to create the CPU dye. AMD's 4x4 quad core slated to launch in early '07 is being rebuilt from the ground up. AMD is going to attempt to modularize a CPU dye to allow for quicker, cheaper, and easier manufactuering. By that they mean that each individual component will be interchangeable and have an on dye socket to be plugged into. A good visual image of this is building blocks. Identically shaped and sized units rearranged to create a new structure. The article said that the only difference hardware wise between an Opteron and an 64 X2 is 3 components. If AMD is successful in modularizing the CPU dye, this article estimates that AMD will have "entry level" 4x4 CPU's in 8000-9000+ range avaliable to CONSUMERS for around $400-$600 and industry quality models at around $1000 on the low end. Only time will tell if this is true, but for me, I hope it comes true as I'm being asked at school by the teachers as to who will have the better CPU in the future and my answer is "AMD of course.".
  • Re:Not too suprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stevesliva ( 648202 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:05AM (#15837278) Journal
    You know this switch was coming sooner or later. AMD already does a lot of their serious R&D at IBM.
    Sort of. They're definitely sharing the Silicon-on-Insulator and some Strained Silicon secret sauce for a few process nodes, and even settling on some process compatibility-- Chartered Semi is now a second source for both AMD processors and the IBM-designed XBox processor. I wouldn't belittle AMD's own R&D, though. They're doing good things at Dresden.

    However. Process codevelopment hardly predicts systems codevelopment-- Just ask Sony and Toshiba, who collaborate on silicon but are on opposite sides of the HDDVD vs BluRay battle.

  • Hypertransport (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:18AM (#15837324)
    Yes, Hypertransport is better than the FSB, but for up to 4 processor systems, I don't think Intel is too disadvantaged. And Intel is working on CSI which they claim will beat Hypertransport and will be out in 2008. Will it live up to their claims? Who knows, but when Intel is pointed in the right direction (the management isn't throwing around their money like a spoiled trust fund kid) they seem to put out some pretty nice stuff.
  • by b0r1s ( 170449 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:22AM (#15837554) Homepage
    The real impact will come when IBM switches to AMD in their lower lines - the x306, x336, x346 - the ones that hosting companies and colo providers buy by the dozens.

    The power savings for 50-60 racks full of 1U servers could be significant.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @07:02AM (#15838374) Journal
    Once upon a time, there were two architectures, POWER and PowerPC. These shared a large common subset of instructions, but each had a few not supported by the other. If you tried to run POWER software on PowerPC (or vice versa), each unsupported instruction could be trapped by the OS and emulated; AIX did this in some PowerPC-based workstations, for example. Most compilers, including gcc, can target the common subset, and produce code that will run on POWER of PowerPC.

    These days, IBM continues the POWER brand, but since the POWER3 (I think) these have been PowerPC chips. The difference between POWER and PowerPC these days is the target audience, not the instruction set (although some PowerPC chips do include a set of vector instructions not found in POWER).

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:38AM (#15838722) Homepage Journal
    Hmm strange... Check this out:
    Rack mounting rails in the Netherlands [dell.com]: EUR. 20,-
    Rack mounting rails in the USA [dell.com]: from $99 to $129

    That's a pretty bad difference. Caused by pure pricing strategy or am I overlooking something?
  • Re:Apple Curse? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:54AM (#15839732)
    I remember when Apple first chose Intel over AMD and people were screeching that they were stupid to do so because AMD chips at the time were far superior. Jobs had said something about seeing what Intel had coming up - and I have to say, for Apple's purposes and needs (fast chips, abundant supply) the Intel switch was the exact right idea. Had they gone with AMD, they'd have the lesser (at this point) of two options for their desktop/portables and possibly some supply concerns. I love AMD stuff, but they are not the production powerhouse that Intel is, and their current offerings for desktop/portables don't really touch the new Intel stuff.

    As for their lack of neutrality - they can't be neutral because of the differences between AMD and Intel optimizations etc. Yeah, they're both x86, but Apple likes to be able to know EXACTLY what they're shooting for, hardware-wise, and to integrate hardware and software as fully as possible to make their stuff "just work." I'm sure they *could* handle using either Intel or AMD stuff, but there would be more overhead, and I am sure that, due to the exclusivity, they're getting a little extra help from Intel when it comes to optimizing OSX & other applications.
  • by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at. .pacbell.net.> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:20PM (#15840397) Homepage
    If AMD tried the "family" approach, with ads and marketing of how Athlons enabled heart warming success stories...

    A GI chatting with his girlfriend over VideoChat
    A mom making a DVD of her newborn addressed to her own mom
    A dad making a movie of his boy's baseball game

    Things like that. Right now by focusing on price, value, or performance they paint themselves as me-toos and knock-offs.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.