AMD Offers Customer Discounts


AMD officials say the program will help customers weather the recession and also highlights the stability of the Opteron platform

Advanced Micro Devices wants to make it easier for enterprises and resellers to stay with Opteron.

AMD announced its Opteron Upgrade Program this week, which gives businesses and channel partners a 35 percent discount when they upgrade the generation of their Opteron chips. The program includes the dual-core 2000 series Opterons and 8000 series quad-core chips.

It also includes AMD’s upcoming six-core “Istanbul” Opteron chip, due later years.

The discounts can translate to $50 (£35) off the 2000 series chips and $100 (£70) off the 8000 series processors.

AMD officials said the discounts are designed to ease the financial pressures on customers and channel partners during the recession as well as to highlight the stable Opteron platform.

“AMD Opteron processors have always provided exceptionally long life cycles and consistent platforms,” John Fruehe, director of business development at AMD, said in a statement. “In the current economic environment, customers are trying to stretch their IT budgets and to extend the life of their technology investments more than ever, all while improving performance and energy efficiency.”

AMD’s new program also comes a week after Intel rolled out its new Nehalem EP processor and architecture for two-socket systems on 30 March.

The new Xeon 5500 series processors are designed to drive up performance and energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The new Intel chips include an integrated memory controller, a feature that AMD introduced when it first released Opteron in 2003. The integrated memory controller eliminates the need for a Front-Side Bus and speeds up the communications between the chip and memory.

AMD officials have often cited the integrated memory controller as a key difference between Opterons and Xeons, saying it gave the AMD chips a more elegant decision and better performance.

In an interview a few days before Intel’s launch of Nehalem EP, Margaret Lewis, director commercial solutions at AMD, conceded that Intel offering the integrated memory controller on the new Xeons was a significant step for Intel. Lewis also noted that it was a big technology change, and said that AMD has had a more stable platform that will continue with the release of Istanbul.

Illustrating AMD’s stable Opteron platform and easy upgrade paths, she said that Istanbul will share the same socket and thermal envelope that the current “Barcelona” and “Shanghai” Opterons currently use.

That’s important, given that the recession is driving businesses to look at upgrading their current technology rather than replacing what they have, Lewis said.

She also said that AMD was gearing up for a new platform, codenamed “Maranello,” that will be launched in 2010, and will offer chips with up to 12 cores and four memory channels. Barcelona and Shanghai Opterons currently offer two memory channels, and Intel’s Nehalem offers three.

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