AMD: you lose some, you win some

In this week's list of the 500 fastest supercomputers, Advanced Micro Devices slipped another notch. On the June 2004 list, 34 systems used AMD chips, but that decreased to 30 with the next update in November 2004, then 25 with the most recent list.

That's not great, given that the company and its allies touted Opteron as superior to rivals such as Intel's Xeon in high-performance technical computing. For contrast, there were 254 Intel Xeon-based systems and 79 Intel Itanium-based systems on the Top500 list.

AMD indeed started its marketing push for the 64-bit x86 chip in the technical computing domain, but now that Opteron is better accepted in the mainstream, the company has switched to business computing customers, spokesman Phil Hughes said. "We are focusing our efforts on the enterprise space."

As evidence of success, Hughes points to statistics headed the other direction as the Top500. Of the world's biggest 100 companies, 25 percent used Opteron in the third quarter of 2004, compared to 55 percent in the first quarter of 2005.

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