The AMD K7 architecture first introduced with the AMD Athlon processor series has been serving the consumer desktops and basic workstation needs for a good four years since 1999 and it is still a popular choice today. It is amazing when you reflect back at the processor engineering advances made to this architecture since the original Athlon 500MHz and the current top of the line Athlon XP 3000+ processor.
All these CPUs however, were mostly targeted towards the consumer segment. Somewhere along the line AMD introduced the Athlon MP processors, which were basically Athlon XP CPUs that have been thoroughly validated for multiprocessor usage. Even so, it was only limited to a dual processor platform due to the design complexities and targeted market segment with respect to the CPUs processing abilities. AMD hadnt any true server and enterprise level solutions and this was perhaps the only true major segment that they were lacking even though they were the 2nd largest CPU manufacturer in the world. AMD has never neglected this very significant segment and has been working on delivering an enterprise level CPU, which their K8 architecture was supposed to address.
23rd April 2003, marks the biggest day in AMDs history (as well as computing history) as they launch their next generation CPU that would catapult AMD directly on to the enterprise roadmap: The AMD Opteron processor. It is the worlds first 64-bit server and workstation multiprocessor based on the x86 instruction set architecture (ISA).