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November 19, 2007 2:00 am

AMD launches ‘Spider’

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Advanced Micro Devices, the second largest maker of PC microprocessors, has launched a platform that for the first time exploits its biggest advantage over Intel, the market leader.

AMD’s Spider platform integrates its latest four-core processor with a new graphics card made by ATI, its Canadian acquisition.

Intel is the leading maker of graphics chips embedded in PC motherboards but does not produce the more powerful add-in cards.

“AMD is the only company committed to delivering the ultimate visual experience,” said Dirk Meyer, AMD president. “The AMD Spider platform embodies our approach to platform-level innovation.”

AMD bought ATI for $5.4bn last year with the intention of merging increasingly powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) with its traditional central processing unit (CPU) microprocessors.

The product that will deliver this is Fusion, due in 2009. In the meantime, Spider offers the best integration to date of GPU, CPU and accompanying chipsets.

“It’s over a year now since the merger – this is [integration that] AMD should have done earlier,” said Jon Peddie, a semiconductor analyst. “This is something none of its competitors can do. [PC makers] are in cost-cutting mode and are looking for a one-stop shop that will make their life easier.”

The Spider platform consists of AMD’s Phenom quad-core processor, an ATI Radeon HD graphics card and an AMD chipset that supports multiple monitors. It is aimed at gamers, content creators and PC enthusiasts.

AMD has struggled to compete with Intel over the past year, with four consecutive quarters of losses.

On Friday, it said the Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm had bought an 8.1 per cent stake for $622m.

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