This is not the Advanced Micro Devices
Is Istanbul the home run AMD needs? Released a whopping five months ahead of schedule, it just might be.
The new six-core processor launched this week to a chorus of impressed reviewers and analysts. Intel
But AMD's Opteron 2400 and 8400 processor series represents the best of what AMD can do on every front: the most modern manufacturing process, a new cache structure that reduces many bottlenecks, and the Istanbul architecture was built from the ground up to get the most out of six cores. And where Intel's Nehalem chips require customers to buy entirely new servers (or at least motherboards), the Istanbul is a drop-in replacement for older Shanghai and Barcelona chips.
While I was waiting for AMD's launch webcast to start, the "hold music" before the presentation included U2's "So Cruel." The band's ode to cold-hearted revenge seemed to fit the news, as AMD's new product attempts to kick Intel in the shins with a steel-toed boot.
New systems are already slated for availability from all the usual suspects including Sun Microsystems
Istanbul won't kill Nehalem, of course, but should be able to carve out a very comfortable niche of its own. If this chip had arrived on schedule, sometime in October or November 2009, it would have been a lot less impressive as Intel is not sitting still. But some hustle from clever engineers and visionary business leaders has put AMD back on the map again.
Home run? We'll see about that. But Istanbul is a solid base hit, or at least "a Turkish delight on a moonlit night," setting the company up to score big in the future.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.