The long awaited launch of AMD's first native quad core processor - codenamed Barcelona - will take place later today. Its first incarnation is as an Opteron product, i.e. for servers and workstations. The consumer quad core - codenamed Phenom - is expected before the end of the year.
The press release is already on the net ahead of the official launch this evening. This is what it had to say about Barcelona: "Designed from inception for the most demanding datacenters, Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor-based servers from global OEMs and system builders can deliver breakthrough capabilities to customers in a time of dramatically escalating performance-per-watt emphasis."
The last line is critical. Having surrendered much of the performance ground to Intel in the past year, AMD is counting on energy efficiency being more important to the market that outright performance. With this in mind, AMD has also introduced a new metric: Average CPU Power (ACP) to supplement the traditional TDP (Thermal Design Power). The difference being that ACP indicates 'normal' power use, while TDP is peak usage.
Hector Ruiz, chairman and CEO of AMD, said: "We’ve worked closely with our customers and partners to design a new generation of processing solutions embodied by today’s Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor – a four-way winner in performance, energy efficiency, virtualization and investment protection. Early customer response has been extremely positive."
To show how much the server industry is behind the launch, the press release also features supportive quotes from execs at HP, Sun, Dell and IBM. The release also stresses that it expects distribution partners to be able to offer Barcelona products "very soon after launch".