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Advanced Micro Devices announced Monday its new Opteron processors with increased clock-speed as well as included a breed of server and workstation microprocessors produced using 90nm process technology into its lineup. All the new chips feature SSE3 instruction set as well as support 1000MHz HyperTransport bus.

AMD’s New Opteron Chips Enter the Scene

The new AMD Opteron processor 152, 252 and 852 intended for 1-way, 2-way and 4/8-way workstations/servers respectively are clocked at 2.60GHz, incorporate dual-channel PC3200 memory controller, 1MB of cache and SSE3 technology, something that only Intel Corp.’s chips have sported so far. The chips are designed for Socket 940 infrastructure, but have a little bit higher thermal design power than typical Opteron chips: instead of 89W, the models 152, 252 and 852 have TDP of 92.6W.

Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices also has numerous chips with the same E4 core produced using 90nm SOI technology for various 1P, DP and MP applications in its lineup. The chips also feature SSE3 as well as 1000MHz HT bus. All such chips clocked from 1.60GHz to 2.40GHz have thermal design power of 85.3W. AMD also sells Opteron chips with 2.0 – 2.20GHz clock-speed based on D4 stepping with TDP of 67W.

Due to higher speed HT bus it is unclear whether AMD Opteron with E4 core stepping are drop-in compatible with existing infrastructure based on AMD8000-series of chips. AMD has consistently stated that its future Opteron products, including dual-core products, would be compatible with servers, workstations and mainboards build upon AMD8000-series logic that officially supports only 800MHz HyperTransport bus. AMD did not comment on the compatibility.

SSE3 is an instruction set found in Intel Pentium 4 processors code-named Prescott. SSE3 includes 13 new instructions developed for some specific tasks. While guidelines that allowed software makers to take advantage of the SSE3 emerged in mid-2003, actual programs that take advantage of the SSE3 today is not large.

The AMD Opteron processor Models 852 and 252 will be available to partners within 30 days, AMD said. Volume server solutions based on the AMD Opteron processor Models 852 and 252 are expected to be available this quarter, the chipmaker informed. AMD Opteron processor 852 is priced at $1514 in 1000-unit quantities, the model 252 is priced at $851 in 1000-unit quantities. AMD Opteron processor 152, for single-processor workstations and entry-level servers, is scheduled to be available April 30, 2005, and will be priced at $637 in 1000-unit quantities.

More to Follow

Server and workstation systems featuring the AMD Opteron processor will soon be enabled with AMD PowerNow! technology with Optimized Power Management, according to an AMD’s statement.

The integration of AMD PowerNow! technology with OPM can reduce power consumption in the datacenter by dynamically changing power states based on workload utilization. While AMD claims its processors with PowerNow! technology can reduce power consumption by up to 80% when the capability is enabled, the company does not give away much details and exact power consumption numbers.

In mid-2005 Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices plans to introduce server chips with two processing engines, typically referred as cores. The chips will reportedly consume 30-95W at launch and up to 105W of power eventually, which is inline with guidelines AMD provides for its 90nm chips. Intel Corp. is expected to release its dual-core processors for servers only in 2006.


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