Multi-core processors will pave the way, says AMD

CEO Hector Ruiz believes multi-core computing will soon be widely available, and plans to open a second wafer plant in 2006.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Multi-core processor technology will be available everywhere, from desktops to mobile computers and servers, over the next five years, said Hector Ruiz, AMD's chairman, president and CEO.

Addressing reporters from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand during a media briefing here Tuesday, Ruiz shared his thoughts on the future of the semiconductor and PC industries. "Multi-core technology is the future--you will see it in desktops, mobile computing and servers," he said.

The discussion was held right after a proposed dual-core chip benchmarking duel with Intel, in which the latter failed to show up.

In April this year, AMD introduced Opteron processors with dual cores, or processing engines, which are currently used in machines from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Intel only launched its first dual-core server processor in October.

Apart from predicting the proliferation of multi-core processor technology, Ruiz also expects that "2006 will be a good year for the semiconductor and PC" markets. He attributed the healthy outlook to a number of factors, including the need for enterprises to upgrade hardware implemented during the millennium bug (Y2K), Microsoft's impending support for 64-bit processors in its server applications and operating systems next year, and "computers like digital media PCs finding their way into the house much faster".

"High-growth markets like Latin America, Russia, India and China are growing faster than expected…[these markets)] are driving significant usage [of PCs]," said Ruiz, who recently visited India and Korea.

Earlier this month, AMD announced that it was signing a deal with SemIndia to supply technology for a proposed US$3 billion factory in India.

Meanwhile, Ruiz revealed that AMD is looking to start another wafer fabrication factory in 2006, and is considering "many options" in terms of location including Singapore. However, he said the final outcome would depend on two criteria--the knowledge of the local workers, and the cost of capital needed.

Currently, all of AMD's wafer production is carried out in its Dresden, Germany, facility.

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