64-bit, Thy Name is AMD

  |  August 13, 2003   |  Comments

The No. 2 chipmaker looks to replace the generic x86-64 moniker with its own 'AMD64' stamp of approval.

AMD Tuesday officially launched a new logo program designed to identify its 64-bit computer processors on PCs and servers in the same way its rival branded the phrase "Intel Inside."

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said its AMD64 Logo Program is also an attempt at mainstream branding x86-64 chips and defining a new class of computing that runs native 32- and 64-bit software. The company said its new moniker will replace former terms such as "Hammer" (now, "AMD64 technology") and "x86-64 ISA" (now, "AMD64 ISA").

"It's not just an AMD thing," AMD Senior Branding Associate John Crank

told internetnews.com. "This establishes a whole brand new design category for ISVs to count on."

For example, graphics chip maker NVIDIA said the AMD64 Logo alerts their customers, developers, and end users that their graphics cards are attuned.

"Hardware and software compatibility is an essential element of any successful technology migration, and is a tenet that we take extremely seriously," said Drew Henry, senior director of platform business at NVIDIA.

The company first mentioned the branding campaign when it launched its server and workstation Opteron processor back in April. AMD says the category will be extended to its 64-bit desktop Athlon, which is scheduled for worldwide release on September 23.

Both the Opteron and Athlon 64 boast 64-bit data and address paths and break through current 32-bit CPUs' 4GB memory addressing cap with 40-bit physical (up to 1 terabyte) and 48-bit virtual (up to 256 terabytes) memory addressing space. The Opteron also supports three HyperTransport links, providing up to 19.2GB/sec of bandwidth, versus the Athlon 64's single HyperTransport link for 6.4GB/sec of data transfer.

AMD says HyperTransport technology helps slash system bottlenecks, boost efficiency and increase system throughput by reducing the number of buses.

"The AMD64 logo enables end users to make a visual connection between AMD64 processors and vendor-validated software and peripherals," AMD vice president and general manager Rich Heye said in a statement. "It links the new AMD64 logo to AMD's well recognized product logos and helps communicate the compatibility of today's and tomorrow's computer products with AMD64 technology."

The company did not release financial details connected with the Logo Program.

Analysts with Deutsche Bank Securities Tuesday said similar to the Opteron rollout, the Athlon 64 ramp is planned to be in a slow and organized manner. The report said AMD wouldn't expect to see a financial impact from the chips until at least next year, however.

The forecasters also said AMD is counting on its relationship with Microsoft and the introduction of the Longhorn OS to be a major catalyst for 64-bit. The strategy may pay off big for AMD say analysts since Intel currently has not released its formal plans for 64-bit.

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