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Advanced Micro Devices confirmed anticipated switch of its AMD Opteron processors for uni-processor servers and workstations to desktop socket infrastructure, which is should theoretically lower the cost of the whole platform as more affordable memory modules are used on desktops.

AMD Reduces Cost of AMD64 Uni-Processor Server Platforms

“Based on feedback from our customers, we have enhanced the AMD Opteron processor roadmap by providing our customers more choices for the technology they demand within an infrastructure that best suits their needs,” said Marty Seyer, corporate vice president, Commercial and Performance Computing, Microprocessor Solutions Sector, AMD.

Earlier all AMD Opteron microprocessors for uni-processor, dual-processor and multi-processor applications used Socket 940 infrastructure and required registered memory modules to be installed. While registered memory modules are more reliable in environments where a lot of modules are installed, they also cost more. Given that uni-processor machines are not equipped with a lot of memory typically, increased costs of registered memory were unjustified for a lot of cases. The new AMD Opteron chips 100-series for uni-processor servers use Socket 939 infrastructure and may use typical unbuffered memory with ECC, which is more affordable compared to registered RAM.

“Adding ECC unbuffered memory support to AMD’s award-winning AMD Opteron 100 Series processors with Direct Connect Architecture, is going to enable our customers to offer even more compelling 1P server and workstation solutions, while helping to reduce their overall solution costs,” Mr. Seyer added.

New AMD Opteron 100-Series Unveiled

All new AMD Opteron processors in 939-pin form-factor feature dual-channel PC3200 memory controller, feature 1MB or 2MB L2 cache (for single-core and dual-core processors respectively), SSE3 technology and are made using 90nm process technology.

Currently there are three dual-core AMD Opteron 100-series chips in the lineup that is to ship in 30 days: models 165 (1.80GHz), 170 (2.00GHz) and 175 (2.20GHz) that cost from $417 to $530 depending on the model in 1000-unit quantities.

Single-core AMD Opteron 100-series 939-pin processor family consists of five models, including 144 (1.80GHz), 146 (2.00GHz), 148 (2.20GHz), 150 (2.40GHz) and 152 (2.60GHz) that cost $125, $183, $263, $367 and $799 respectively after recent price-cuts by AMD. It should be noted that pricing of AMD Opteron 152, which technical specification now completely match those of AMD Athlon 64 FX 55 that costs $827, has been increased to $799 from $637.

AMD will continue to deliver AMD Opteron 100 Series processors using registered memory and Socket 940to existing customers that require them, including customers who are designing high-end products based on the AMD64 embedded processor roadmap, the company noted.

Infrastructure Available, But Not Broadly

Even though AMD’s new initiative provides certain advantages, infrastructure switch for mainboard makers is a process which started only recently and is likely to last quite a while, which means that a lot of servers will have to employ older-generation Opteron chips. Currently there are two companies to offer server mainboards with Socket 939: Supermicro, who will not distribute it under its own brand-name, but will sell via OEM channels as well as TYAN. Additionally, Sun Microsystems recently announced the Sun Ultra 20 Workstation that uses the new AMD Opteron central processing units.

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