Are things starting to look up for AMD? The company had a pretty rough 2007, what with the bug-plagued Barcelona and the ongoing success of Intel's Xeon processors and all. But now it looks like the company is back on the rails with new chips coming out and new customers on board.
First, the Barcelona: Word has it that the fix for the translation-lookaside buffer (TLB) is ahead of schedule, with a possible release this spring or summer. Yes, they still have egg on their faces that they had to issue a temporary patch at all, but at least the problem was not so severe that corrected chips were delayed until next fall, or later.
The same TLB bug showed up in the Phenoms, but since these are used for PCs rather than servers, it's gone largely unnoticed. Still, corrected Phenoms are due out this spring as well, along with the new three-core Phenom 8000 series. The grapevine is buzzing with rumors that a 2.1 GHz Phenom 8400 and a 2.3 GHz 8600 could show up as early as March, with a 2.4 GHz 8700 available by the summer.
The company is also making headway on the graphics front. The new ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 is the first to hit 1 Teraflop and the first to support DirectX 10.1 that not only offers enhanced graphical display but comes with a new toolkit for developers. The set is the third in the company's 55nm process.
Development is one thing, but sales pay the bills. And AMD recently pulled in longtime Intel customer Gateway, which has agreed to use the new Phenom quads for the GM and GT series desktops. Gateway will still use Intel quads, but this deal shows that AMD can still get its foot in the door.
So, does all this mean AMD's troubles are behind it? Not by a long shot. Low prices are fine, but trust and reliability are major currencies in this industry. AMD will have to work hard to get them back.