A DECADE AGO AMD released the first Opteron processor and with it the first 64-bit x86 processor. AMD's lavish New York launch for the Opteron processor was far more than a product launch, it was AMD showing it could reproduce the success of the Athlon K7 chip and take the fight to Intel by developing ground breaking new features and not just one-upping its rival on some benchmarks. The firm's Opteron processor brought 64-bit computing to the commodity x86 chip market, along with an on-die memory controller and the Hypertransport bus all in one product.
Back in 2003 AMD's workstation and server processor range barely existed. The firm dabbled in two socket systems with the Athlon MP, and while second tier system builders such as Appro embraced it, AMD really didn't have a server chip that could entice the high volume server manufacturers - HP, Dell and IBM - to use its kit, something that Opteron should have changed.