AMD Fires Back

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-03-06 Print this article Print

AMD officials were quick to refute claims such as Skaugens. AMD chips, they said, offer advantages to businesses. "What they want to do is take their existing data centers and pack more compute density into those data centers," said Randy Allen, corporate vice president for AMDs server and workstation division, in Austin, Texas.
"The reason Opteron has been successful is that, within the same square footage of a data center, within the same power infrastructure, weve been able to deliver vastly more performance."
AMD will demonstrate a four-processor machine based on its newest dual-core Opterons at IDF. The new chips, based on a revised design AMD calls Rev F, will touch up AMDs Opteron server platform by offering features such as built-in virtualization and an on-board memory controller that addresses DDR2 (double-data-rate 2) memory. Access to DDR2 memory modules will afford servers incremental performance gains if companies choose the fastest DDR2 800 modules. Oracle, HP and Intel join forces to push the Itanium platform. Click here to read more. AMD officials said the way the company has constructed its chip platform— chips link directly to each other and use an on-board controller to tap into memory—gives it a major power advantage over Intel. AMD officials said the core chips inside servers using its Opteron Rev F chips will use about 100 watts less than those in Intel Bensley/Dempsey machines. An Intel spokesperson said the difference between the companies chips would be much less than the 100 watts AMD claims, especially following Woodcrests arrival. There are no universally accepted tests, analogous to a fuel mileage rating, that allow a company to compare one machine against another. "The industry is looking for more objective ways to measure power consumption," said Alex Yost, director for xSeries servers in IBMs Systems & Technology Group, in Somers, N.Y. Intel, for one, would support such a measurement, according to Skaugen. However, it would have to be developed by third parties, he said. "I think that the answer is going to be harder to come by," Yost said, instead prescribing what he called good diet and exercise for servers. "Its about making sure, as you deploy your server platform, you maximize utilization," he said. That includes taking advantage of new technology such as virtualization. "All I have to go on now is watts and Btus," Jensen said. "We do monitor our server CPU temperature closely. But it is too late at that point. You have already purchased and installed it. It would be great to know in advance." Additional reporting by Senior Editor Jeffrey Burt Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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