The quad Opteron owners from last year that are probably still paying off the servers bought back then, would most likely not go for other investments this year and is not clear what would happen in 2010 as in that timeframe, the Xeon CPUs would likely have such a huge performance lead that most quad Opteron owners from 2008 would be tempted by the six core Nehalem Xeons in 2010.
At least one store in Tokyo, Japan has started selling six-core AMD Opteron microprocessors code-named Istanbul. The chips are intended for 2-way servers, but customers may install them into high-end dual socket workstations compatible with with socket F central processing units.
According to Akiba PC Hotline web-site, Advanced Micro Devices sells two six-core AMD Opteron 2400-series microprocessors in Japan, including 2.20GHz (2427) and 2.40GHz (2431) models, whereas the model 2435 (2.60GHz) is not currently available. The price of the lower frequency version is ¥60 690 ($632.5), whereas the higher-end central processing unit costs ¥93 240 ($971.8). The chips should be installed in pairs.
AMD’s six-core Opteron processors code-named Istanbul feature 6MB of L3 cache, 3MB of L2 cache, dual-channel DDR2 memory controller and are compatible with socket F infrastructure. One tangible improvement over the quad-core Shanghai processors that the Istanbul chips have (besides increased amount of cores) is HyperTransport Assist feature, which works the same way as Intel’s snoop filter inside high-end chipsets for Intel Xeon processors (keeps cache coherency traffic between the two sockets from appearing on the external bus). AMD’s Istanbul processor is made using 45nm process technology and have 75W thermal envelope.
Drop-in compatibility of Istanbul processors with existing infrastructure allows makers of current-generation servers and owners of socket F-based systems to install higher-performance chips into existing machines and increase their performance-per-watt ratio.
AMD started to ship six-core processors for revenue in late May, 2009, ahead of originally set plans.