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AMD opens "Hammer" center

The Sunnyvale, Calif., site is intended to give software developers and hardware manufacturers access to AMD's engineers, software and testing facilities.

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday set up some workbenches for companies tooling around with its next-generation "Hammer" processors.

The new AMD Developer Center, located at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters, will give software developers and hardware manufacturers access to AMD's engineers, software and testing facilities.

AMD is betting heavily on Hammer and the x86-64 technology behind the forthcoming processors. It is promoting Opteron, the server version of Hammer, to server makers as an alternative to chips like Intel's Itanium. Aiding those manufacturers and the companies writing software to run on such servers will ultimately help AMD establish Opteron more quickly in the market and also sell more chips.

Opteron will come out during the first half of next year, AMD has said.

"With formal development resources in place, AMD's software and hardware partners are empowered to create 32-bit and 64-bit applications and drivers for the x86-64 platform," Richard Heye, AMD's vice president of platform engineering and infrastructure, said in a statement.

Companies designing products that use Opteron or forthcoming Athlon desktop processors based on x86-64 technology will have access to these resources as well as the AMD employees through the Sunnyvale center or via the Web.

X86-64 technology extends the memory-addressing capability of chips from 32 bits to 64 bits, which improves performance for servers but also allows older 32-bit applications to run as well.

Two additional resources available from AMD include a new beta version of the Linux operating system for Hammer chips from SuSE and a new AMD x86-64 Architecture Programmer's Manual, the company said.

AMD has given out about 150 copies of SuSE's Linux for Hammer chips to companies working with the Opteron processors. A wide range of software manufacturers, such as Red Hat and RSA Security, have signed on to support the chip as well.