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AMD rolls out 45nm 12-core server processor family

Posted: 01 Apr 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:processor  server  AMD 45nm chip  DDR3 

AMD Opteron 6000

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. rolls out its 45nm chip family, the Opteron 6000 that sports 12 cores and 12MB shared L3 cache based on two six-core dice in a single package. It has launched its latest Magny Cours server processors a day before archrival Intel Corp. is expected to announce its competing Nehalem-EX CPUs. With this new 45nm chip family, officially named the AMD Opteron, AMD is transitioning to DDR3 memory with four memory controllers per socket, supporting a total of 12 DIMMs per chip.

The processors run at data rates ranging from 1.7GHz to 2.3GHz and come in versions drawing 65-, 80- or 105W power. AMD announced pricing ranging from Rs.12,283.08 to Rs.64,001.32 ($266 to $1,386) for versions capable of running in two- to four-socket systems.

A related eight-core version called the Opteron 4000 is priced from Rs.4,571.52 to Rs.21,010.54 ($99 to $455) for single- and dual-processor systems. The chips all typically measure about 346mm2 and include up to 1.8 billion transistors.

AMD said its 12-core Opteron 6174 running at 2.2GHz slightly exceeds in integer performance Intel's Xeon 5680, a 32nm six-core chip running at 3.3GHz. The eight-core AMD Opteron 6136 at 2.4GHz tops in integer performance Intel's four-core Xeon 5570 at 2.9GHz, it claimed.

Hewlett-Packard and SGI were among companies announcing plans to use the AMD chips in servers. HP announced three dual-processor servers available in April based on the new AMD chips. It is expected to roll out four-socket systems using the CPUs in the future.

The new HP systems sport 27x the performance per watt and a 96 per cent reduction in power compared to the single-core Intel servers widely used by most business today, said Dave Peterson, a group marketing manager for x86-based servers at HP.

For its part, SGI said it will make the new AMD parts available on a number of its systems, including at least three platforms that previously were based only on Intel chips. They include the Ice Cube modular data centre that packs 41,760 cores in a freight container.

SGI will also roll out future versions of its Octane III and Altix Ice systems using the Opteron 6000. The company has also ported its cluster management and optimisation software to the AMD chips.

Neither HP nor SGI would say whether they the new chips would change the per cent of AMD and Intel processors they now use. Analysts said Intel's Nehalem-EX will be targeted towards higher end systems than AMD's Magny Cours, but both chips will be competitive.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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