AMD will sample quad-core processors in 2007, company CEO Hector 'Money for Nothing' Ruiz has said. He also admitted he was exploring an entry into the system logic market.
That said, the chipset move isn't about aping Intel and developing ancillary chips for its own processors. No, Ruiz is simply looking to enter what is essentially the foundry business and produce third-party chipsets on their vendors' behalf.
Ruiz confirmed the company is not planning to mass-market AMD CPU-oriented chipsets itself, in an interview with IDG, though in a separate discussion with Computer Reseller News, he said that he is "not closed" to doing so in the future.
"If we do that, it would not be to create a platform," he said. "It would be to create a reliable source of supply rather than trying to marginalise the customer brand."
The reference to a "platform" there is a nod toward Intel's increasing focus on platforms of products rather than separate chips, be they CPUs, system logic parts, network adaptors, or whatever.
Such a scheme isn't going to come into operation until 2006, when AMD's 300mm-wafer plant, Fab36, goes into full-scale production, not that chipsets would necessarily be fabbed using that facility, which is currently under construction in Dresden, Germany. Essentially, a deal would see AMD fab chipsets on behalf of one or more of its partners, allowing it to utilise spare capacity and make a bit of extra cash.
For now, though, the focus is on getting CPUs out the door, though not necessarily the dual-core chips announced last week. Ruiz admitted that dual-core is not going to be a volume play until next year.
"It will take some time to get things started," he said. "So the volume impact for us will probably be next year."
As for the next step, quad-core chips, "I'm perfectly confident that we will see engineering samples in 2007", Ruiz added. ®