I was at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference this week, and I spoke to the AMD folks about their presence at iForum. With the Geode acquistion, (which I hadn't heard about previously), AMD is catapulted in a big way into the thin client device marketplace. The Geode processor is much more than a CPU. It's actually a "system-on-a-chip," and the single chip contains the central processor, graphics and memory controllers, and I/O controllors for drives and storage. AMD hopes that by integrating all these components into a single packge, they'll be able to cut down on the cost of building devices.
The AMD folks said that they'll also be making some announcements regarding their 64-bit platform, although they declined to provide specific information. Maybe we'll be seeing an AMD-based 64-bit version of Citrix MetaFrame?
Current AMD Opteron-based servers can run 32-bit versions of Windows. It looks like Microsoft will release a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 for Opteron when they release SP1, currently scheduled for the first quarter of next year.
AMD claim's that their 64-bit processors do a better job of running 32-bit applications than Intel's Itanium processors. If that's the case, then an AMD version of 64-bit Citrix MetaFrame could be really cool since MetaFrame servers are used for desktop applications which are almost all 32-bit. A 64-bit platform would remove many of the memory limits and kernel bottlenecks of Windows. (One geeky side note: AMD's Opteron processors have an integrated DDR memory controller. This means that the front-side bus runs at the same speed as the CPU while Intel's Itanium2 bus runs at 400MHz, Opteron's runs at 1.4-2.0GHz.)
Unfortunately, Intel is not going to be at iForum this year, so we can't put them head-to-head. However, after the show, I'll set up an interview with some Intel folks and we'll see how Intel responds to AMD's claims.