AMD Upgrades Dev Center

AMD Inc. upgrades testing center, providing developers—including the Microsoft Visual Studio team—with access to multi-core processors

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) is upgrading its AMD Developer Center facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., the company says. Customers and partners who use the center will soon have improved access to a testing environment designed to span all three generations of AMD's Opteron multi-core processors, including its quad-core processor, code-named "Barcelona."

Established in 2002, the AMD Developer Center is designed to provide an easy development path from single- to dual- and, soon, quad-core processors. The facility is equipped with fully configured dual-core AMD Opteron clusters and servers, on which coders can develop, test and optimize their applications.

Multi-Core Optimization
AMD has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure Visual Studio tools are optimized for the multi-core processors, says Margaret Lewis, AMD's director of commercial solutions.

"We work directly with the Microsoft Visual Studio team, so that we get our processor features and functions supported directly in the Microsoft compiler," Lewis says. "And we've been doing a lot of work to make sure that everybody else's tools are ready for multi-core."

"AMD is helping developers to transition into a multi-core world," Prashant Sridharan, director of marketing in Microsoft's Visual Studio group, said in a statement. "With these software tools and testing capabilities, the center helps Visual Studio developers harness the power of AMD's hardware for next-generation applications."

AMD also works with Sun Microsystems Inc. to optimize its Sun Studio software for the company's multi-core processors, and with various open source tool vendors. "The Developer Center is really a joint partnership effort to get the systems together that will help developers make that transition to the multi-core world," Lewis says.

Performance Updates
The list of facility improvements includes:

  • An upgraded Smith v2.0 cluster: Built in conjunction with AMD partners Colfax International, Mellanox Technologies, W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. and QLogic Corp., the upgraded cluster consists of 40 nodes of second-generation AMD Opteron processors on an InfiniBand DDR Network, according to AMD.
  • An upgraded Emerald cluster: This cluster, which is designed for developing and testing data center-class applications, has been upgraded to AMD Opteron Series 290 processors, which the company says results in a 30 percent performance increase with no changes in power and cooling needs in the system.
  • Dell SC1435 and Sun Fire X4100 servers: These are geared toward individual developers who want to gain experience running software on AMD hardware, conduct performance testing and tune their applications. Also, these will be the first clusters available for remote benchmarking upgraded for the quad-core Barcelona processors later this year.

AMD is also updating its performance libraries to provide highly optimized routines for AMD quad-core processors.

The center tends to attract independent software vendors during a ramp up to the release of a new processor, such as Barcelona, Lewis says. "But as new processors are released and customers get into a buy cycle, we see heavier corporate developer activity," she says. "When you look at the development community as a whole, there are an awful lot of developers working inside organizations, writing their own code. We see a lot of those kinds of developers, too."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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