AMD has decided to increase the amount of support time afforded to Opteron processors. Now, certain models of the Opteron will be available to system manufacturers for as long as seven years. Normally, such chips are only supported for two or three years, but makers of embedded systems have longer product lifecycles than server or PC vendors and they generally require that the processors they use be available for a longer period of time. The move by AMD is primarily to make the Opteron processor more attractive for embedded devices.

Opteron may be attractive to embedded designers because of its lower power consumption and high bandwidth, said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight64. "When you put all that together, it makes a very compelling offering, especially for those who are building storage appliances or network-type appliance offerings."

The Opteron 852 and 252 will be the first processors available with the long-term option. Another model, the 152, will also be available under the embedded program when it ships in April, AMD said.