The next chapter in the struggle between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices is about to unfold. After months of speculation, AMD executives now say they are ready to begin shipping the company's much-anticipated quad-core Opteron processor, better known by its Barcelona code name, starting in August, with the chip finding its way into the hands of vendors by September. For the past several months, with anticipation building and Intel surging ahead with its own Core architecture achievements, AMD had been quiet about its plans for Barcelona, with executives doling out tidbits of information about the x86 processor, while keeping mum about the exact launch date.
Then came June 29—with all the hoopla surrounding Apple's launch of its iPhone—and the Sunnyvale, Calif., company announced that Barcelona would make an August debut and the first model would come in with a clock speed of 2GHz and remain within the same thermal envelopes—65 and 95 watts—as its dual-core chips. The announcement that Barcelona would hit the streets by late summer with an initial clock speed that was lower than expected did not come off as smoothly as AMD could have hoped. The launch date seemed at least a month or more behind what the company hinted at earlier this year, then there were questions about clock speed and performance, and some of the benchmarks AMD used on its Web site—since removed—were panned by analysts.