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If one were to characterize the competition between Intel and AMD as a baseball game, then there have been few homeruns — Centrino (Banias) and Opteron/Athlon 64 (Hammer) — and a lot of base hits that provide either parity or a small advantage. According to a new report from iSuppli Corp., Intel inched ahead last quarter, increasing its chokehold to 80.6 percent of the global microprocessor revenue, up 1.4 percent year-over year, and 1.5 percent quarter-over-quarter. However this increase was limited to the notebook market, so while AMD’s rollout of a combined server platform won’t be a homerun, it should help it take back some share.

Or at least that’s what AMD’s Gina Longoria, senior manager product marketing, server and workstation, is hoping will happen with its new AMD on AMD strategy. The six-core AMD Opteron and AMD Chipset Platform will be initially available from Tyan and Supermicro. These are the first server solutions that take advantage of the 2006 acquisition of graphics vendor ATI, she said.

"This is our first example of this on the server side, said Longoria."What we’re seeing customers really excited about is the choice of chipsets we’re offering." The new platform should enable customers to streamline their design process with something is optimized to work togetherr. "We’re making it easier for our customers to rely on one design point, one company."

AMD is rolling out three chipsets that address both the power-efficiency and high-performance computing markets, she said. The SR5690, SR5670 and SR5650 chipsets offer a consistent feature set (AMD-P, AMD-V), and key technologies (PCI Express 2.0, HyperTransport 3.0 Technology).

This month Tyan will launch the GT24 B8212 (1U) and S8212 (MEB) for dense infrastructure and SMBs, followed by the GT14 B8005 (1U) and S8005 (ATX) for Web/cloud applications in October, and the YR190 B8208 (1U) and S8208 (custom) for Web/cloud due out in November. Supermicro has seven offerings coming, including the AS-2021A-32 R+F+ (2) for expandable infrastructure SBA-7141i-T (blade) for HPC/dense environments and H8DI3+/i+ (EATX) for expandable infrastructure this month. The October lineup includes the 4U AS-4021GA-62R+F and EATX H8DA6+/i+ for rendering/technical computing, and the 1U AS-1041A-T2F and SWTX H8Q16/i(+) for HPC/database/virtualization applications.

It’s mainly about taking advantage of the tradeoffs in performance versus power, said Longoria. "Customers are really latching on to the choices." The feature sets, PCI Express 2.0 and HyperTransport 3.0, are also significant, as is the extension of AMD’s virtualization capabilities out to the chipset level. "AMD-V allows you to have better performance at the IO level and an added level of security to a specific operating system or application."

One of the things AMD did for this announcement was to work closely with partners to develop the optimal specifications. "This really is an ultra-efficient power platform." She expects a lot of cloud computing customers to take advantage of this platform. The board version will be available in November.

There are a number of channel partners already working with AMD on this new platform, many of who will be announcing products too, said Longoria.

-"This is primarily an area focused on the channel. I think you will see the channel get really excited about this new system platform from AMD."

In other AMD news, on September 16 AMD’s John Fruehe, director of business development for server/workstation products blogged about the company’s Opteron processor family, from the current stars — Shanghai and Suzuka (quad-core) and Istanbul (six-core) — to upcoming releases, including the Maranello platform with the Magny-Cours CPU and the San Marino platform featuring the Lisbon processor for Web, cloud and infrastructure applications.

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