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AMD Launches vPro Competitor Among Three New Platforms

AMD rolled out three new platforms aimed at business users at a technology briefing for analysts.

Marty Seyer, senior vice president of the commercial business segment for AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., said the platforms will focus on adding coprocessors with the Opteron; tightly coupled security, virtualization and management for servers and desktops; and a virtual desktop model. These platforms follow the AMD Live!, which was announced earlier this year for the consumer market.

AMD rival Intel has seen significant success with its platform approach among many system builders, who say it gives them a tested set of components that help them bring products to market quickly. Seyer pointed out that Intel's strategy is significantly different from AMD's because Intel keeps its platforms closed, using its own components, while AMD attempts to give customers a choice of components to use inside the platform.

Seyer said the move to define the platforms was, in part, to address recent customer requests. He said AMD does not have immediate plans to brand or market the new platforms but "if the channel needs us to step forward and come up with a solution, we will."

Seyer said a platform code-named Torrenza will allow system builders and OEMs to use AMD's fast hyptertransport link or an empty socket in a dual or multisocket motherboard to pair the Opteron with coprocessors that will boost specific computing functions. As first reported by CRN, system builders have been testing the functionality with coprocessors that handle intense math processing to help boost high performance computing capabilities.

"We think OEMs have been begging for a way to differentiate themselves, a way to innovate," said Seyer.

Seyer said some coprocessing options are for video encoding and decoding for media applications, physics processing for gaming, math processing for high-performance computing and XML and Java processing.

The Trinity platform is fashioned for security, virtualization and management. Seyer said AMD will be putting an open management partition that is extensible for partners "in part of the core of DDR2" memory in next-generation processors. AMD will pair that with its virtualization technology and its security plans, code-named Pacifica.

Intel has been touting a similar scheme via vPro platform using its corporate desktop chip, code-named Conroe, which is expected to ship in July.

AMD's third new platform, code-named Raiden, is focused on a "virtual desktop" environment where much of the capabilities are delivered to a client device from a server or blade system. Unlike some vendors, who are pushing the virtual desktop for thin clients, AMD executives said they believe a variety of models will be available from very small thin clients to small form factor desktops.

Meyer said the move to such a model could save corporate customers money in management costs because controlling the image on a device and lifecycle updates are easier.

"The shift needs to move away from the physical client device and to move to client cycles," he said.

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