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Advanced Micro Devices and Sun Microsystems recently quietly unveiled dual-core AMD Opteron processors 285 SE that run at increased clock-speeds. The new chips’ specifications are similar to AMD’s forthcoming AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 central processing unit (CPU) which is rumoured to be announced in mid-January, 2006. 

Sun Microsystems currently offers Sun Fire X4200 servers with up to two AMD Opteron 285 SE processors that operate at 2.60GHz, currently the highest frequency for AMD’s dual-core processors, contain 1MB of cache per core (2MB of cache in total) and sport dual-channel PC3200 DDR memory controller with ECC functionality. The new chips are exclusively available from Sun and not expected to reach the volume market or be available from other partners of AMD.

AMD Opteron processors SE with lower model numbers and with lower clock-speeds were available from Sun earlier as well. The difference between AMD Opteron SE processors and typical AMD Opteron CPUs differ not only by clock-speeds, but also by thermals: standard Opteron products dissipate up to 95W, whereas AMD Opteron SE have thermal design power of 120W and require better cooling. While the thermals of the “SE” models are significantly increased over regular Opteron chips, they are still lower compared to rival Intel Corp.’s dual-core Xeon processors.

While the AMD Opteron SE chips are designed for 1000MHz HyperTransport bus and use 940-pin package, they are not drop-in compatible with existing Socket 940 infrastructure due to higher thermals and, possibly, voltages.

It is unknown for what price does Sun receive the Opteron SE processors from Advanced Micro Devices.

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