Advanced Micro Devices' server roadmap is solid but its mainstream mobile lineup is languishing.
First, the good news. These days AMD is walking the talk. This is a radical change from the AMD of 2007-2008, which always seemed to have a hopper full of Intel-vanquishing paper processors that, if they did materialize, disappointed.
Fast forward to, when the company said it was actually moving up the introduction its most sophisticated processor, the six-core Istanbul, to June.
And AMD has proved its silicon mettle at large server customers such as IBM and Sun Microsystems--the latter's executive vice president John Fowler had nothing but praise for AMD processors in high-end Sun server systems.
In a "Global Webcast" on server technology Wednesday, Patrick Patla, a vice president in AMD's server and workstation business, revealed a strong roadmap, saying that 8- and 12-core "Magny-Cours" processors will appear in 2010. "We're currently working on new processors which we expect will deliver more than 35 times the performance of the original single-core AMD Opteron processor released in 2003," Patla said in a statement.
Intel, of course, will also bring out many-core processors, but AMD is keeping pace, and, according to people who should know, like Sun's Fowler, maybe more than keeping pace.
Now, the bad news.says it all: "One of our biggest issues with HP's Pavilion dv3z was its AMD processor, keeping it from beating out the performance of comparable 13- and 14-inch laptops with Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs." This is, by no means, the first review that expresses this sentiment. In short, AMD mobile platforms consistently come up short in the high-profile, burgeoning laptop market. Will AMD close the gap in 2009?
Maybe one answer to that question is AMD's Neo chip that powers the low-cost, ultra-thinlaptop. More than a Netbook but less than a mainstream laptop, this kind of sleek mobile device could eventually eclipse the high-end Netbook segment.
AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said Tuesday that the single-core Neo processor will get a dual-core sibling dubbed "Congo" by summer. A dual-core processor in this low-cost, MacBook-Air-for-the-masses category is a compelling proposition. AMD needs to stay ahead of the game, especiallyfor this category in the May-June timeframe.