Updated from 8:06 a.m. EDTThe only thing fatter than Advanced Micro Devices' ( AMD) third quarter was its earnings multiple. The world's second-largest chipmaker walked past estimates, as strong microprocessor sales helped to boost revenue 23% and earnings nearly 73%. AMD earned $76 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $1.52 billion, up from $44 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $1.24 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected earnings of 8 cents a share on sales of $1.38 billion, according to Thomson First Call. AMD had said it expected computer-chip sales to "exceed normal seasonal patterns" in the third quarter, but declined to project memory unit results. "It's clear evidence that this is a much different company than it was two to three years ago," said Sangeeth Peruri, semiconductor analyst for Seligman Technology Group, a division of J & W Seligman & Co., which holds AMD shares. "If
"This was another record-breaking quarter for AMD's microprocessor business," AMD CFO Robert Rivet said. "Exceptional customer demand for our server, mobile and desktop processors helped drive microprocessor sales growth of 44% compared to the third quarter of 2004, and 26% compared to the second quarter of 2005. "We established new quarterly records in unit and dollar sales, gross margin and operating income," the CFO said. AMD said it expects fourth-quarter microprocessor sales to grow between 7% and 13% sequentially, which represents a year-over-year increase of 42% to 50%. The company did not provide guidance for its flash memory business, called Spansion, which it plans to spin off in a public offering. The company generated record operating income of $209 million and sales of $969 million within its computation products group, which includes PC, server and laptop chips and chipsets. In the previous quarter, this unit posted a $100 million operating profit on sales of $767 million; a year ago it posted an operating profit of $89 million on $673 million in sales. The unit's operating margin came in at about 21%, breaking the 20% barrier for the first time ever. AMD more than doubled its sales to large, global PC makers from a year ago, while record processor sales were the result of a 72% sequential increase in sales of AMD Turion 64 mobile processors. The company also cited strong sales in such high-growth markets as Russia, India and China. AMD's memory group lost $50 million on sales of $516 million in the third quarter vs. an operating loss of $90 million on sales of $462 million in the second quarter.