Opteron Goes to Dual-Core

AMD focusing first on its high-end server chips.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., over the next two months, will bring dual-core capabilities to many of its processors, a move it began last week with the rollout of the first of its dual-core Opterons for servers running four or more chips.

The chip maker was joined by its top OEM partners, which announced a host of new servers and workstations, to be rolled out over the next few months.

AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., launched three models in its 800 line, for high-end systems running four or more chips—the 1.8GHz 865, 2GHz 870 and 2.2GHz 875. In addition, the company unveiled three models in its 200 Series—the 1.8GHz 265, 2GHz 270 and 2.2GHz 275—to be released next month. In June AMD will bring dual-core capabilities to its Athlon 64 processors for desktop and mobile PCs, officials said.

The dual-core PC chips come under the brand name Athlon 64 X2. The June launch of the 4200+, 4400+, 4600+ and 4800+ will be accompanied by product rollouts of PCs and desktop-replacement notebooks from several OEMs, according to AMD.

Dual-core chips offer two processing cores on a single die, essentially enabling a two-way system to perform as a four-way.

Financial services software developer Townsend Analytics Ltd., in Chicago, runs hundreds of HP servers powered by AMD and Intel chips. James Holt, director of server development at Townsend, said he will evaluate the dual-core Opteron systems from HP, and if the performance improvements are as promised, he would be interested. "We are more interested in performance than box costs because in our business we can use as much CPU [power] as we can get," Holt said.

Top OEMs rolling out systems supporting the new dual-core Opterons include Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif., which unveiled a new blade server, the ProLiant BL45p, and an upgraded four-way ProLiant DL585 with the dual-core chips. "Dual-core is proving to be extremely capable for [multiprocessor] implementations," said Steve Cumings, group manager for HPs ProLiant Opteron systems.

IBM also later this quarter will begin shipping a blade server powered by AMDs dual-core chips. The LS20 will represent the third platform in IBMs BladeCenter portfolio and the first Opteron-based system not specifically aimed at the high-performance computing space.