Advanced Micro Devices said late last week that its highly-anticipated quad-core AMD Opteron microprocessors made using 45nm process technology code-named "Shanghai" are now available for purchase from leading server makers. The new chips are projected to deliver higher performance, lower power consumption as well as many other improvements.
“Flawless execution in bringing the 45nm quad-core AMD Opteron processor to market early results in new performance leadership on x86 servers. […] This enhanced AMD Opteron processor represents the most dramatic performance and performance-per-watt increases for AMD products since the introduction of the world’s first x86 dual-core processors by AMD nearly four years ago. Simply put, the quad-core AMD Opteron processor is the right technology at the right time,” said Randy Allen, senior vice president of computing solutions group at AMD.
According to AMD, the new quad-core Opteron chips deliver up to 35% more performance compared to predecessors thanks to higher clock-speeds as well as large 6MB level-three cache as well as up to a 35% decrease in power consumption at idle due to thinner 45nm silicon-on-insulator process technology.
The new AMD quad-core chips maintain socket and thermal compatibility with previous-generation chips in socket 1207 form-factor that also utilize dual-channel PC2-6400 (DDR2 800MHz) memory. As a result, server makers can easily install new microprocessors into existing machines as they do not need to test and validate their products once again.
Dell, IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems are ready with the new servers powered by 45nm quad-core AMD Opteron chips. In addition, many smaller local server makers will be able to create servers powered by the new central processing units.
The latest quad-core AMD Opteron processors with 75W thermal envelope and clock-speeds ranging from 2.30GHz to 2.7GHz are available immediately for both dual-processor and multi-processor servers; enhanced quad-Core AMD Opteron HE (55W) and SE (105W) processors planned to follow in Q1 2009. Pricing of quad-core AMD Opteron chips 8380, 8382 and 8384 for MP machines ranges from $1514 to $2149; models 2376, 2378, 2380, 2382 and 2384 for DP solutions ranges from $377 to $989.
Since server chips are sold at higher margins compared to desktop central processing units, it is a positive news that AMD has managed to start volume shipments of the new breed of chips. Still, the company will have to work hard in order to fight back market share from Intel, which it lost after its previous-gen AMD Opteron code-named "Barcelona" chip was released much later than anticipated and also faced delay of shipments due to a design glitch.