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AMD Powers The Force In Lucasfilm's Data Center

AMD's quad-core launch and renewed commitment caps off a five-year relationship with the company behind the "Star Wars" franchise.

Advanced Micro Devices on Monday said it would build on its 5-year relationship with Lucasfilm, the company behind the "Star Wars" franchise and special effects in movies such as this summer's "Transformers" blockbuster.

Lucasfilm said it would gladly adopt AMD's first quad-core Opteron server processor -- codenamed Barcelona, which AMD unveiled this week -- as part of its future plans. The two companies said Lucasfilm would order servers based on the technology for the data centers at Lucasfilm that produce digital arts and entertainment. Lucasfilm said it uses AMD chips exclusively at its global operations at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco and its campus in Singapore. The San Francisco campus alone houses a 13,500-square-foot data center complete with a render farm, file servers, and storage systems.

(click for image gallery)
The special effects company also said it expects to use AMD technology to create digital content for television programs and next-generation interactive games.

"Star Wars" prequel producer Rick McCallum lauded AMD for standing by Lucasfilm early on at a time when there were no special effects companies outside the movie studios and the technology was made by hand.

"Years ago I talked with the other guy [Intel] and after weeks of talking to us about a new data center, I get a call back from them saying, 'We are not in the service industry.' ... Intel really is the dark side," McCallum said at the AMD Barcelona launch event.

With the launch of AMD's quad-core processor, McCallum said his company was looking forward to building energy-efficient data centers to power future projects.

"In that way, we look for the same things as any other customer -- like a Bank of America," McCallum said. "We are not much different than most companies. Well, we do have a statue of Yoda in the front of the building."

The event was highlighted by appearances by "Star Wars" characters Darth Vader, Chewbacca the Wookie, and a detachment of Storm Troopers.

AMD's Barcelona is expected to be sold in vertical markets such as oil and gas, financial services, and high performance server clustering. More than a dozen hardware manufacturers are expected to build servers based on the quad-core chip including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun, Dell, Appro, Egenera, Gateway, Rackable Systems, Supermicro, and Verari.

Click here for am image gallery of the AMD launch event, featuring Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, and really cool quad-core chips.

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