AMD: The Dual-Core Force Is With Us

At CMP Media's XChange Tech Builder conference in Las Vegas, AMD executives provided exclusive clips of the upcoming movie "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." which in large part was created on AMD-based workstations.

"Our technology was the backbone for 'Revenge of the Sith,' " Patrick Moorhead, vice president of global marketing for AMD's microprocessor business unit, told XChange attendees. "There were 10 to 15 guys who coded the entire movie," he said of the graphics-intensive, George Lucas production. "It was pretty fascinating. It gave me an absolute understanding and knowledge of what is next and what is possible."

In its dual-core market battle with rival Intel, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD has rolled out celebrity endorsements such as six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, the Ferrari Formula One racing team and now Star Wars producers to help promote its Opteron and Athlon64 processing platforms.

During AMD's XChange presentation, Gary Bixler, director of the company's North American system builder channel, led a demonstration of upgrading a single-core, dual-processor Opteron system to a dual-core system. The process, which included a BIOS upgrade, took about 15 minutes, and the demo ended with a 64-bit enabled Microsoft Windows operating system recognizing four CPUs from the two dual-core processors in a single workstation.

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AMD contends that its dual-core technology outpaces Intel's for several reasons, such as its internal I/O architecture, which it said prevents processing bottlenecks. Bixler also noted Microsoft has begun using AMD-based systems to manage its $60 billion in assets.

"It was taking them 40 hours to process [data for] all of these assets, just on an ongoing basis," Bixler said. By using AMD-based technology, Microsoft saw a 325 percent improvement in efficiency in its asset management applications, he said.

AMD launched its first dual-core Opterons last month, and the company is expected to begin shipping its Athlon X2 Dual-Core processors for desktops later this quarter.