The chip maker is now shipping quad-core processors for high-end four- and eight-way servers.
Advanced Micro Devices is rounding out its quad-core Opteron portfolio with
new chips designed for high-end four-socket and eight-socket servers.
The chip maker will start shipping two more processors in its 2300 series
and an additional two for the 8300 series June 9. Since January, AMD
has been looking to make up the ground it lost in 2007 when the first batch of
quad-core Opterons were found to have a design
flaw in the silicon
Since then, the AMD quad-core Opteron, or
"Barcelona," processor has been
picked up by all four tier one OEMs and a number of small server vendors. The
company has also started shipping Opterons
for lower-end one-socket systems.
The new processors include the Opteron 2358 SE (2.4GHz) and the Opteron 2360
SE (2.5GHz), along with the Opteron 8358 SE (2.4GHz) and the 8360 SE (2.5GHz).
Each of the chips will contain the same 512KB of Level 2 cache per core as all
the other Opteron processors, and all four cores will share 2MB of L3 cache.
All four processors will work with a 95-watt thermal envelope.
While AMD has released Opteron chips for MP
(multiprocessor) servers before, Steve Demski, an AMD
marketing manager, said these new chips are specially designed for customers
building high-performance computing environments running applications that
require floating-point calculations. Demski also sees a market for businesses
looking to run database or other backend applications on x86 hardware, as
opposed to a mainframe or Unix-based system.
"The guys that are looking to by the SE series are looking for maximum
performance," said Demski. "What we are talking about is scaling up. In the
past, you might need a mainframe or a high-end Unix box, and we now believe
that we are providing that same level of performance with these four- and
eight-socket systems. The difference is that the cost of the hardware and the
cost of the system are much reduced."
The chips that AMD will ship June 9 represent
some of the company's last 65-nanometer models for servers before the company
switches to a new 45-nm
manufacturing process later this year
. Those processors, dubbed "Shanghai,"
will offer a bump in clock speed-perhaps by as much as 20 percent at the launch
as the company tries to keep up with Intel-while keeping the thermal envelopes
The MP space is important to AMD as it
provides good margins for their products. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM
and Sun Microsystems are each expected to release servers built around the new
For years, AMD had an advantage in this
market, compared with Intel, with chip technologies such as integrated memory
controller, which allows for better bandwidth. Intel plans to update it
offering for the MP space later this year with a new chip called
Dunnington, which will have six processing cores and 16MB of L3 cache.
After Dunnington, Intel will release its Nehalem
which will be the first chips to offer the company's own
integrated memory controller as well as other new features.
The prices for the new Opteron models are $873 for the 2358 SE, $1,165 for
the 2360 SE, $1,865 for the 8358 SE and $2,149 for the 8360 SE. These prices
reflect shipments of 1,000 units.