Flash back to the summer of 2001. The technology industry was rowdy, filled with excitement and anticipation. Rumors surrounded different companies with secret products that were unannounced and about the stakes that one company was about to take.
The company was AMD, and its product, the 760 MP chipset Ė known avidly to the world as the first dual processor chipset from AMD. After the uproar that AMDís Athlon processor created, people were begging for a dual-processor chipset that was capable of supporting two Athlon processors. People knew at the time that the Athlon was the most powerful desktop processor (and perhaps it still is) and it would be even more powerful if there were more of them in one system.
This time last year, AMD answered the peopleís call and delivered what was going to be a very significant milestone for the tech industry. Marking its first attempt at entering the server market, AMD positioned its 760 MP chipset squarely against Intel and even going as far as placing it on top of a pedestal. For people in the industry that were familiar with AMD technology up to that point, most of them werenít surprised at all at what was going on and in fact, had anticipated that such an event would eventually occur. AMD made a good decision to produce an SMP chipset for its Athlon processor because of the Athlonís foundation. Being designed from the ground up to operate in multi-way platforms, AMD had already envisioned its Athlon in a server environment well before its release.
With the 760 MP release however, there werenít many motherboard companies jumping on the AMD bandwagon. In fact, the only motherboard company with a real product at the time was Tyan. More frustrating was the fact that the 760 MP chipset was only available on Tyanís flagship Thunder line with a price tag well over that of most consumers and enthusiasts. Packed to the brim with workstation class features, the Thunder K7 was far beyond the scope of the average single processor motherboard designed to overclock.
Other manufacturers had announcements but actual boards were nowhere to be seen and a viable entry-level 760 MP solution from other manufacturers werenít going to be available for at least another year Ė a long time in this industry. Basically, AMD wanted to enter Intelís domain, but its effort was rather confusing because it had chosen only one main partner to produce its 760 MP design. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, AMD was trying strike a big blow right into a market sector that was heavily guarded.
AMD needed to change, and do something that would grab itself more market share and it needed to do it as fast as possible.