Advanced Micro Devices is beginning to line up partners that will offer server systems built around the chip maker's 45-nanometer "Shanghai" processor, which has been shipping since September and is scheduled for release in November.
The partners that have lined up behind AMD's Shanghai processor include many of the smaller server and HPC (high-performance computing) vendors that have been longtime supporters of the chip maker's technology. Companies with plans to release systems built around Shanghai include Penguin Computing, Colfax, Appro, Verari Systems and Rackable Systems.
By showcasing partners before the Shanghai processor officially launches, AMD is looking to erase some of the unease created when it failed to deliver its 65-nm, quad-core Opteron processor "Barcelona" on time in 2007. Since it began shipping Barcelona in earnest earlier in 2008, AMD has gained back some of its market share in the server and workstation market, according to a recent report by IDC.
In the case of Shanghai, AMD wanted to get the new parts into the hands of customers sooner in order to allow for more testing before the actual launch. Since Barcelona shipped late, many of the silicon problems went unnoticed at first. The new strategy also allowed AMD to push up the release date of Shanghai from the first or second quarter of 2008 to November.
These early of adopters of Shanghai discussed the benefits of the new chip at a panel discussion on Nov. 6. While the five vendors mentioned above and AMD talked about some of the benefits of the new processor, none of the participants offered details about the clock speeds and prices of the chips.
When Shanghai does come to market later in November, AMD is likely to offer processors for two- and four-socket servers first. Shanghai will use four processing cores and contain 6MB of Level 3 cache, compared with the 2MB of L3 cache in the company's current crop of quad-core Opteron processors, which should add to the overall performance boost. AMD is also looking to boost the clock speed about 20 percent, which will get the clock speed closer to 3.0GHz.
During Thursday's discussion, several of the vendors noted that since Shanghai uses the same socket-Socket F (1207)-as some previous Opteron processors, it made testing, evaluating and creating updated systems easier. AMD is emphasizing that at a time when a financial crisis is still looming, it's better to work with technologies that are familiar.