The chip maker, in an Aug. 10 statement, said that it will announce the availability of its new Opteron—a redesigned version of the chip dubbed "Rev F" internally—on Aug. 15.
The Rev F Opteron, which has already been adopted by the likes of IBM, will feature redesigned circuitry that AMD says boosts the chips performance while holding down its power consumption. Rev F incorporates several updates, including support for faster DDR2 memory (double data rate 2 DRAM) as well as AMDs virtualization technology, or "Pacifica." The chip, which will be available in several variants, will also use a new socket to affix itself to a servers motherboard and will come with a new four-digit model numbering scheme.
Opteron, which made its debut in 2003, claimed more than a quarter of second-quarter 2006 x86 server processor shipments, according to AMD. The company, which has secured deals with Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems and even Dell to use the Opteron over time, is looking to Rev F for even greater adoption among end customers in the future.
To that end, its AMD virtualization technology takes on some of the work done by virtualization software from makers such as VMware.
The chip maker also said those capabilities will help offer businesses the ability to consolidate some of their data center resources using virtualization technology. Virtualization is designed to divide up a server to run more than one operating system and application set, therefore using more of its capabilities and causing businesses to have to buy fewer servers.
The addition of AMDs on-board virtualization technology to the Opteron will allow software such as VMwares VMware Infrastructure 3 as well as the virtualization features present in Novells SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 to work on servers containing the chips, the two companies said as part of AMDs statement.
Rev F will also pave the way to greater processing capabilities in the future. AMD will double up the number of processor cores in a single Opteron from two to four in 2007. The first quad-core Opteron, due in mid-2007, will be able to plug into the same socket as the Rev F chips, AMD said in its statement.
Rev F will counter chip maker Intels latest line of Xeon 5100 series server processors, which also come equipped with virtualization. Intel, which aims to give AMD a run for its money with a family of new chips, says the Xeon 5100 line, dubbed "Woodcrest," is more powerful and also uses less energy than preceding Xeons.
However, quad-core is shaping up to be the next battleground between the chip makers in the server space. Intel has said it will offer its first quad-core Xeon chip, "Clovertown," in the fourth quarter, months before AMDs first quad-core Opteron.
However, AMD has downplayed the Clovertown chips design, which attains its quad-core status by packaging a pair of dual-core chips together, versus designing in four cores from the start as the AMD quad Opteron will.
AMD will also have a presence at the Linuxworld Conference and Expo beginning on Aug. 14 in San Francisco. There, the chip maker said in its statement, it plans to participate in a series of panel discussions. One such panel will cover data centers use of virtualization.