AMD, after some delays, is finally launching its "Interlagos" and "Valencia" Opteron processors, and will show them off at the SC 11 supercomputing show.
SEATTLE-Advanced Micro Devices is
launching its long-awaited "Bulldozer" core-based Opteron server chips that
officials say will offer the performance and scalability demanded in
virtualized data centers and the energy efficiency needed for cloud environments.
AMD began shipping
the 16-core Opteron 6200
"Interlagos" chips in September, but waited until Nov. 14 to officially
announce the availability of both the Opteron 6200 and the eight-core Opteron
4200 "Valencia" processors. The company is hosting a launch celebration during
the SC 11 supercomputer show here Nov. 14.
AMD last week unveiled a program-Ready
Solutions for servers-designed to offer a wide range of motherboards compatible
with the Opteron 6200 chips to quicken adoption of the processors. Dell,
Hewlett-Packard and Acer are expected to quickly roll out systems with the new
processors, and SuperMicro on Nov. 14 announced several systems powered by the
Interlagos chips. Cray officials last month announced they are going to upgrade
the Jaguar supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory into Titan, which
will include the Opteron 6200s.
In addition, Appro officials said they
will be rolling out two- and four-socket systems powered by the new Interlagos
chips later this year and in early 2012. They also will be demonstrating the
systems at the SC 11 show.
According to AMD officials,
virtualization and cloud computing are the driving forces in the server space,
and both demand high performance and scalability combined with increasingly low
power consumption. The Bulldozer chips offer up to 84 percent more performance,
25 to 30 percent more speed and 73 percent more memory bandwidth than their
12-core predecessors, while requiring half the power per core, two-thirds less
floor space and up to two-thirds lower platform price, they said. They consume
up to 46 percent less energy while at idle.
"On price/performance per watt, we
should be in really good shape," John Fruehe, director of product marketing for
server/workstation products at AMD, said in an interview with eWEEK
The Bulldozer-based chips offer a
number of performance and energy-efficiency improvements, including the ability
to run more floating point operations while drawing lower power, enhanced Turbo
Core technology that can improve clock speed for the individual cores, and TDP Power Capping technology
, which will enable
users to reduce power usage without impacting performance.
The Opteron 6200 and 4200 chips come at
an important time for AMD. The company has been losing ground to larger rival
Intel in the server business, with its market share dropping to well under 10
percent, according to market research firms Gartner and IDC. AMD's weakening
position in the server space was reportedly one of the key areas of
disagreement between the board of directors and Dirk Meyer, who resigned as CEO
in January. Intel is readying the official launch of its upcoming Xeon E5 server chip
, which will offer up
to eight cores and-like AMD's chips-at the high-performance computing (HPC) and
At the same time, both AMD and Intel
are going to face competition from ARM Holdings and its manufacturing
partners-including Nvidia, Calxeda and Marvell Technologies-which are looking
to leverage the low-power capabilities in the chips they put into smartphones
and tablets to move into servers.
AMD, which in September named Lenovo
President Rory Read as its new CEO, also is restructuring its business,
including laying off 10 percent of its workforce
, as it looks to focus
its efforts on low-power computing, emerging markets and the cloud.