AMD Starts Shipping 'Magny-Cours' Opterons

AMD has begun limited revenue shipments of its upcoming 12-core "Magny-Cours" Opterons. The new chips will be officially released before the end of the quarter, according to an AMD blog. Magny-Cours will compete with other high-end processors from Intel, IBM and Sun.

Advanced Micro Devices has begun limited shipments of its upcoming "Magny-Cours" Opterons, and will launch the high-end processors by the end of the current quarter.

In a blog post Feb. 22, John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server/workstation products at AMD, said that production of the eight- and 12-core Opteron 6100 chips has begun at the Dresden, Germany, facilities of Globalfoundries, the manufacturer that was created after being spun off from AMD in 2009.

Production of the processors began in January, and systems makers started receiving production parts this month, Fruehe said in the blog.

"We have had a few select end customer opportunities that have been fulfilled, but it is nothing we can talk about publicly," he wrote.

Fruehe's blog comes amid reports that some Magny-Cours chips have found their way onto eBay, though the chips and servers powered by them reportedly would not have become available until the day of the chip's official launch.

Fruehe admitted the reports prompted him to write the blog.

"As a matter of fact, we were not planning to talk about any of this just yet, but earlier this week, someone tried to offer products that they claimed were -Magny-Cours' processors for sale on the web," he wrote. "Obviously the message about 12-core goodness with incredible value is making it out into the market, so much so that somebody wanted to jump on the bandwagon."

Magny-Cours is AMD's entry into what promises to be a hotly contested competition in the high-end server space. IBM on Feb. 8 released its first servers powered by Power7 chips. That same day, Intel announced its long-awaited next-generation Itanium processor, dubbed "Tukwila."

Both Intel and AMD are pushing their x86 processors into high-end environments. AMD will do that with Magny-Cours this year and "Interlagos," which will features 12 to 16 cores, in 2011. The new Opterons are aimed at high-end two-socket servers and those systems with four sockets.

For its part, Intel is preparing to launch the eight-core "Nehalem EX" Xeon chip for systems with four or more sockets.

AMD officials say the capability of Magny-Cours to run in both enterprise-class two-socket as well as four sockets is a key differentiator, giving users of AMD-based systems a single platform for both.

Magny-Cours also will come with more energy-efficiency and virtualization features as well as three memory channels, one more than is found on Intel's Xeon 5500 Series chips for two-socket systems.