Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Monday trumped Intel Corp. as its upcoming 64-bit Opteron processor was chosen to power a new supercomputer Cray Inc. will build for the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories as part of a $90 million agreement.
The deal marks the first system-design win for Opteron, which will start shipping at the end the first quarter next year. The endorsement of the processor by Cray, which has designed some of the world's most powerful computers, lends much-needed credibility to AMD's unproven 64-bit processor.
Seattle-based Cray's decision to use AMD chips marks a public-relations setback for Intel's 64-bit Itanium processor, which the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker has long touted as the best processor for delivering the kind of high performance needed to power supercomputers. Since its introduction in May 2001, Itanium, which was co-developed by Hewlett-Packard Co., has struggled to gain market acceptance and has been featured in only a small portion of servers sold since that time.
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