HP Puts AMD 'Istanbul' Opteron into Workstation

HP is putting AMD's six-core 'Istanbul' Opteron processor into a high-end workstation aimed at such applications as engineering, 3-D digital imaging and oil and gas. HP officials said the troubled economy is putting pressure on businesses to quickly get a solid return on their IT investments, which the new AMD Opteron chips enable, due to new virtualization, performance and efficiency features.

Hewlett-Packard, which already has outfitted several ProLiant G6 servers with Advanced Micro Devices' "Istanbul" Opteron processor, is now offering a workstation powered by the six-core chip.

The HP xw9400 workstation, announced July 1, is aimed at such high-end applications as engineering, 3-D digital content creation, oil and gas, and science, according to company officials.

AMD's Istanbul Opterons are designed to drive up performance while reducing power, cooling and management costs. The HP xw9400 workstation can hold up to two of the chips-for 12 cores in all-and each chip offers up to 34 percent more performance per watt over AMD's previous quad-core processors.

The new chips also offer a 61 percent improved overall performance compared with the current Opterons.

HP officials said being able to put that many cores onto a single system should help businesses that are feeling the impact of the global recession.

"HP understands the immense pressure its customers are under to deliver more return on investment in a shorter period of time," Jeff Wood, director of worldwide marketing for HP workstations, said in a statement.

The Istanbul processors, launched June 1, are armed with improvements in performance, efficiency and virtualization capabilities. Among the new features is HT Assist, which improves the throughput via HyperTransport connections, according to AMD. Every Istanbul chip has such features as HT Assist and the enhanced AMD-V virtualization technology and AMD-P power management offerings.

In addition, AMD's HyperTransport 3.0 technology increases the interconnect rate between processors.

Energy efficiency has been a key issue in data centers for the past several years, with density increasing with the addition of more powerful and smaller systems and the rising cost of power. System makers are addressing the issue in their new designs, as are AMD and Intel in their newer chips.

Istanbul also was a key processor following the delays and technical issues that haunted the launch of its first quad-core chipped, dubbed "Barcelona." Istanbul came out five months ahead of schedule, and just 15 months after it was put on the company's road map.

It also was rolled out soon after Intel unveiled its quad-core Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" chip for two-socket systems, which also featured virtualization, performance and efficiency improvements.