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AMD's first six-core chip on track

Advanced Micro Devices says "Istanbul"--its first six-core processor--is on track to launch later this year.

Advanced Micro Devices will announce Wednesday that its first six-core processor in on track to launch later this year.

AMD's "Istanbul" processor will be targeted at server computers. With the release, AMD will be playing catch up to Intel, which began offering its six-core "Dunnington" processor for servers last fall. Intel's first Nehalem-architecture server processor is also due soon, which, on a per-core basis, is expected to offer better performance than Dunnington.

"The silicon is healthy and we're targeting a launch in 2H09," AMD spokesperson Jake Whitman said Tuesday.

"The new 6-core version of the AMD Opteron processor is...everything we had hoped for--and more," John Fruehe, director of business development for server/workstation products at AMD, wrote in a blog.

The "socket 1207" platform and six-core Direct Connect architecture will allow servers with 12, 24 or 48 cores per server in the future, Fruehe said.

"Despite putting more cores in the processor, we managed to keep it in the same power and thermal ranges as our existing 'Shanghai' processors," he writes.

Recent AMD demonstrations of the technology featured "a live, seamless upgrade" of a system based on 45-nanometer quad-core Opteron processors to Istanbul processors. Istanbul is socket- and thermal-compatible with currently shipping AMD Opteron processor-based systems.