Athlon dual-processing could be nigh

Motherboards for dual-Athlon systems begin to appear

The first dual-processor motherboards for the AMD Athlon processor have begun to appear on the market, though they have yet to be formally announced. Beta testing has begun on a motherboard from Tyan Computer, the S2462UNGM, or Thunder K7, according to several Web sites for the developer community. A launch date for the Thunder K7 has not yet been announced.

The motherboard includes dual on-board LAN, on-board SCSI and ATI video, and has four slots for DDR DRAM memory, as well as eight fan headers to keep the assembly cool. It is based on AMD's 760MP chipset.

AMD is in the midst of building on its success in the desktop PC market to begin selling more lucrative workstations and servers, and multi-processor motherboards are a crucial part of that step. Another is the introduction at the beginning of next year of the 64-bit Hammer family of processors, which will compete with higher-end server chips made by SGI, IBM, Sun Microsystems and its old rival Intel.

However, creating the chipsets for multiprocessing is a major headache in itself, and one for which AMD does not have the experience of competitors, according to analysts.

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