Things that make you go uhm? You probably remember that song from a few years ago, well thatís whatís been stuck in the back of my mind after hearing about AMDís decision to postpone the Athlon-64ís launch to September. The reason they give is that thereís no 64-bit OS available thatíll tap into the Athon-64í potential, which makes a launch rather pointless, or at least thatís how AMD pitches it. But didnít they tell us back in February of 2002, thatís a year ago, during our first encounter
with a working Athlon-64 system that the Athlon-64 would be just as competitive when running 32-bit software? Now they claim that they need to wait for Microsoft to ship their 64-bit version of Windows XP in September, so they more or less blame Microsoft for them not to being able to launch their product. So what I read between the lines here, and feel free to correct me if Iím wrong, is that the Athlon-64 simply does not run 32-bit code very efficiently or, and thatís a more likely cause, AMD is buying time because they canít get high enough yields or clockspeeds for their SOI process to make the Athlon-64 competitive with Intelís current offerings.
This time we wonít be suckered into believing them when they tell us they delayed the launch because they felt the need to re-work some of the Athlon-64í architecture to be more competitive at launch, just like they did during our last visit
to AMDís Fab 30 facility. Theyíre obviously facing some manufacturing problems and rather postpone the launch of the desktop product in favor of the server product that can benefit from an established base of 64-bit software. Dual Opteron, the server version of the Athlon-64, servers running on 64-bits OSs should provide for some additional addressing capabilities that could pan out well for large database and scientific applications. In any way it is unfortunate to see AMD is constantly misinforming both the press and their prospective buyers with products that fail to ship or are postponed over and over again.
However, another well known manufacturer in the computer industry did introduce a revolutionary product today that should have a bright future ahead of itself. Western Digital launched their first Serial-ATA hard disk and theyíve really pulled all stops on this one. The Western Digital Raptor is an enterprise class Serial-ATA harddisk sporting an impressive 10,000-rpm spindle speed, a MTBF of 1.2-million hours, a 5.2-millisecond average seek time and a 5-year warranty. If that doesnít get you excited the 8MB of cache and the availability in March might just do the trick. I for one am looking forward to receiving a sample and putting it through its paces. It is good to see IDE drives entering the SCSI realm where 10,000-rpm spindle speeds have been standard for years. With the MTBF rating and 5-year warranty Western Digital could justíve opened up new possibilities for Serial-ATA based storage on server platforms.