Vendors Begin Support for AMDs Barcelona

Three server vendors along with a motherboard maker have announced early support for AMD's next generation, quad-core Opteron processor.

A trio of IT vendors are preparing server platforms that will support Advanced Micro Devices soon-to-be-released quad-core Opteron processors, dubbed "Barcelona."

At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5, AMD announced that Supermicro, Tyan Computer and Uniwide Computer will be among the first vendors to offer server platforms based on the chip makers quad-core processor. Barcelona is set to be released later this year.

In addition, ASUS, a motherboard designer and Taiwanese computer maker, announced that it will support Barcelona as well.

The release of Barcelona is expected to boost AMDs fortunes in the server market. In the last six months, AMD has lost ground to rival Intel since the quad-core Xeon processors debuted in November.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about market share numbers from Intel and AMD.

While Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., was the first to offer quad-core processors for servers, AMD has claimed that its design, which will offer four cores on a single piece of silicon, offers a better architecture than its competitors chips, which tie two dual-core Xeons together in a single package.

In addition, AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has touted its Direct Connect Architecture, which improves memory and bandwidth by directly connecting memory and I/O to the CPU and by directly connecting CPUs to one another. Another feature, called Dual Dynamic Power Management, allows power to be delivered independently to the CPU and the memory, which AMD executives said will offer better performance and power management.

AMD has not released some aspects of Barcelona—clock speed, for instance—nor has the company offered an exact date when the processor will be released.

One of the Barcelona-based platforms is a blade design by Supermicro, a dense, 4P system that will features 160 processor cores within a 7U (12.25-inch) enclosure. This will translate into 960 processing cores in each rack, according to a statement from Supermicro, of San Jose, Calif.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Barcelona.

In addition to the new platforms, AMD executives said motherboard designers and users will be able to upgrade from the current dual-core Opteron to the quad-core Barcelona with an only a change to the BIOS. In addition, Barcelona will use the same chip sets, sockets and thermal envelopes as the dual-core processors.

Tyan, of Fremont, Calif., demonstrated an upgrade from a dual-core to a quad-core chip at the show.

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