AMD Backs Barcelona Chip Dates

The company says its latest offering will begin shipping in August.
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So much for the rumors that

Advanced Micro Devices'

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new chip has been plagued by delays.

AMD announced Friday that its forthcoming quad-core microprocessor, code-named Barcelona, will begin shipping in August, with systems available from server makers in September.

Shares of AMD were off 7 cents at $14.42 in midday trading Friday.

The dates uphold AMD's promise of introducing Barcelona in the third quarter. But in recent weeks, the company has been dogged by rumors that Barcelona wouldn't ship until October or November due to various bugs and defects affecting the chip.

AMD desperately needs new products like Barcelona to stave off the onslaught from rival


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, which has taken the technological lead thanks to a new lineup of dual-core and quad-core processors.

While Intel beat AMD to the punch

in releasing quad-core processors last year, AMD claims that its approach of integrating all four cores onto a single die, as opposed to using a multichip package as Intel does, will provide better performance.

AMD will initially release standard and low-power versions of Barcelona, with higher frequency versions of the chip slated to ship in the fourth quarter.

"AMD has prioritized production of our low power and standard power products because our customers and ecosystem demand it," said server and workstation VP Randy Allen in a statement, contending that the new chips will deliver the industry's highest level of performance per watt.

Microprocessor analyst Nathan Brookwood of Insight 64 said the lack of Barcelona chips with frequencies above 2 Ghz is somewhat disappointing, particularly since Intel's Xeon processors are currently available with frequencies up to 2.66 Ghz.

But Brookwood noted that AMD's chip might still outperform Intel's higher-frequency chips, if AMD's claims about the advantages of its chip architecture bear out.

And regardless of the initial versions of Barcelona, the fact that AMD has committed to a specific launch date is very positive for AMD, said Brookwood.

"They anticipate that their OEM

original equipment manufacturer partners will be able to launch in September, which means there's enough of

the chips out there to be able to pull those launches off. So it's not just 'hey, we can make a couple in the factory,'" Brookwood said.