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Advanced Micro Devices, the world’s second-largest maker of PC and server processors, is looking to offer new, lower power-per-watt configurations in its dual-core Opteron server chip line.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., chip maker will release the new power-per-watt configurations, along with new pricing, on Feb. 7, company officials said. They said the new thermal envelopes, combined with a reduced price, will offer the company’s users a better performance per dollar.

The better-performing chips and new prices are a result of AMD’s ongoing battle with Intel as it tries to carve out a bigger position in the x86 server market. Although a Jan. 30 report by Mercury Research showed that AMD had gained some additional market share during the last quarter of 2006, Intel gained back some of the ground it lost in the server market, thanks to its dual-core Woodcrest and quad-core Clovertown processors.

When AMD released its own quarterly financial numbers on Jan. 23, the company showed a significant increase in its shipments of mobile and desktop chips, but its server processor sales were flat.

Some analysts suspect that the price war between Intel and AMD has taken its toll on both companies, but Intel has been able to benefit from the availability of its dual- and quad-core chips, while AMD has chosen to stick to its original timetable for the release of its quad-core processor, code-named Barcelona.

AMD said it is hoping that Barcelona’s “native” design—four cores fused together on a piece of silicon, as opposed to Intel’s quad-core, which ties two Woodcrest processors together on a silicon wafer—will improve its sales.

Click here to read more about AMD’s quad-core processor, “Barcelona.”

Until Barcelona is released in the middle of 2007, AMD will rely on its dual-core Opteron chips. Opteron has helped AMD gain market share in the x86 server space since it was released in 2003. The chip was the first x86 processor that could handle 64-bit workloads, and later the first to come with dual cores.

Under the new power envelope configurations that AMD plans on releasing Feb. 7, the Opteron 8220 F socket—a socket secures a processor to a computer’s main circuit board—and the Opteron 2220 F socket, both of which are clocked at 2.8GHz. will drop from 120 watts of power per chip to 95 watts. The Opteron 1220, an AM2 socket, 2.8GHz processor, will drop from 125 watts to 103 watts.

AMD will also introduce two other models, the Opteron 8218 and 2218 HE—both clocked at 2.6GHz—that will drop their power envelopes from 95 to 68 watts. The HE designates a processor with better power efficiency.

Finally, the company will roll out five other dual-core Opterons—Opteron 1218, 1216, 1214, 1212 and 1210 HE—with an improved performance of 65 watts. The older models in this series have power envelopes of 103 watts.

AMD is also scheduled to announce new pricing with the release of these chips. The prices on these chips will mirror the prices of older processors, according to AMD officials. This means customers and vendors will be able to purchase more power-efficient chips for the same price as previous models.

For example, the Opteron 8220 will be priced at $1,514 per 1,000 units shipped. That is the same list price AMD used on Oct. 30 for the Opteron 8218. When the prices are announced Feb. 7, the older model will drop to $1,165 per 1,000 units shipped.

Click here to read about Intel’s launch of its quad-core chip.

The Opteron 2220 will be priced at $698 and the 1220 model will be priced at $545 per 1,000 units shipped. The 8218 and 2218 HE models will be priced at $1,340 and $611 respectively.

Lastly, the new 1218, 1216, 1214, 1212 and 1110 HE models will have a price range of between $432 and $168 per 1,000 units shipped. The older processor models in that line will have a pricing range of $318 to $149, according to AMD’s latest figures.

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