AMD is doing the rounds of OEMs laying down its ambitions for an assault on the corporate desktop and server market in the next couple of quarters.
Most vendors admit that talks are ongoing with AMD but none are prepared to admit that they will be one of the "high profile brand-names" that the chipmaker says are in the bag.
With the next generation of the K6 chip and a mobile K6 coming next quarter, followed by multi-processor computing for the K7 in the new year, analysts think they have a convincing story to tell, even to the server vendors.
Dataquest principal analyst Nathan Brookwood said, "X86 based servers will become increasingly important over the next few years. Right now Intel has that all to itself but with the K7's use of the Alpha bus, with many very elegant multiprocessing features, it should be possible for AMD to try to push into this space.
"It will be largely a function of the performance that they can achieve as to how successful they will be in providing a credible alternative to Intel. The vendors of servers are not likely to be impressed with lower cost for chips but they will be impressed with higher performance and, if the K7 lives up to technical expectations, or to AMD's expectation, it could be an interesting two-horse race."
In the past the vendor's drive into the corporate space has been hampered by its inability to meet volume shipments but, when the $1.9 billion (#1.1 billion) Augsburg plant starts churning out "Sharptooth" (K6-III) processors in the new year, that should no longer be a problem.
The K6-III will have 256K of Level 2, on-die, cached memory and will run at 400MHz and 450 MHz. Initial silicon wafers will be 0.25 microns but the intention is to move to 0.18 microns at the Augsberg plant early next year. The K7 will ship with the Alpha Bus, designed for multiprocessor workstations and will start at 0.18 microns.
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