HP, Dell to Adopt New AMD Opteron Server Chips

AMD says the new Opteron 6200 and 4200 server processors offer more performance than current processors without increasing the power consumption.

Advanced Micro Devices is unveiling five new Opteron server chips€”including two more 16-core processors€”that the chip maker said will appear in systems from Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

The new processors€”three from the Opteron 6200 Interlagos and three from the Opteron 4200 Valencia portfolio€”offer 100MHz of improved performance over current processors without increasing the power consumption, key attributes for target spaces like cloud computing, virtualization and high-performance computing (HPC), where organizations are looking for better performance and energy efficiency.

The Opteron 6200 and 4200 chips, based on AMD€™s new Bulldozer core, were first officially released in November 2011, although they began shipping months before. The chips were a significant step for AMD, which had been losing ground to larger rival Intel in the x86-based server space, seeing its market share drop below 10 percent.

The new Opterons compete with Intel€™s Xeon 2600 Romley processors, which launched in March. The new Xeons, which offer up to eight cores, are designed to handle workloads in such data center environments as cloud and virtualization, with greater performance, power efficiency, networking and security features than in the previous Xeon 5600 processors, according to Intel.

The Interlagos and Valencia processors have been a boon for AMD, according to Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD€™s global business units.

€œSince the launch of our latest AMD Opteron processors based on our €˜Bulldozer€™ core, we have seen steadily increasing demand for our high-end processors,€ Su said in a statement. €œThe new additions to the AMD Opteron processor family, along with the latest offerings from HP and Dell, further strengthen our ability to offer greater choices to an agile and data-hungry base of enterprise and cloud customers.€

The Bulldozer-based chips brought 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 improves clock speed for the individual cores, and TDP Power Capping technology, enabling users to reduce power usage without impacting performance.

The new chips include the Opteorn 6284, which offers a speed of 2.7GHz and a 140-watt power envelope. The 6278 has a speed of 2.4GHz and a 115-watt envelope. Both are 16-core processors. In addition, AMD is offering the eight-core 4276 HE for environments that demand high power efficiency. The chip comes in at 2.6GHz and 63 watts.

The other two Valencia chips are the six-core Opteron 4240 (3.4GHz, 95 watts) and 4230 (2.9GHz and 65 watts).

According to AMD, both HP and Dell will offer new or enhanced servers based on the new Opterons. HP last month unveiled two new ProLiant Gen8 servers€”the 2U (3.5-inch) DL385p rack servers aimed at virtualization, database and HPC workloads, and the BL465c blade server. The OEM also plans to offer ProLiant DL585 G7 and BL685c G7 servers with the new chips late this year, according to AMD.

For its part, Dell will refresh its line of AMD-based PowerEdge servers€”including the C6145, C6105, R415, R515. R715, R815 and M915€”with the new Opteron chips.

AMD officials outlined several key projects that will use Opteron chips, including the National Science Foundation€™s Blue Waters project, which Cray took over from IBM last year. The project will use Cray€™s XK6 HPC systems, which will be powered by Opteron 6200 chips and GPUs from Nvidia. In addition, Cray will leverage the XK6 systems to upgrade the massive Jaguar supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Labs, with hopes of making the system the fastest supercomputer in the world.