The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker already sells lower-end chips--the Alchemy and Geode lines--for the embedded computing market. Now, several specific Opteron models, or equivalent replacements, will be available for at least five years as well, a necessary guarantee for manufacturers of embedded systems, which often sell the same designs for years, Iain Morris, senior vice president of AMD's personal connectivity solutions group, said on Monday.
AMD hopes customers will use the chips in higher-end embedded computing products such as storage systems, network security devices, telecommunications servers, unmanned militaryand medical-imaging machines.
"These systems take longer to design and qualify. They have long product life cycles," Morris said at a news conference being held in conjunction with the Embedded Systems Conference taking place here this week.
The move represents an expansion of, which still dominates the market for x86 chips such as Opteron, Pentium and Xeon. It also means more direct competition with , which offers x86 chips for embedded use.
AMD's promise of lengthy availability is accompanied by corresponding guarantees from, and LSI Logic, which supply electronics that work alongside the central processor chip.
Among AMD's customers for the chip is Sun Microsystems, which uses Opteron in Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture systems.
The availability policy applies to Opteron models 852, 252 and 152. AMD doesn't guarantee that the exact Opteron model a customer chooses will be available for five years, but it promises it will offer one that runs the same software and has the same size, electrical connection and power demands.