by Anton Shilov
02/23/2009 | 11:40 AM
UPDATE: Adding minor details, quotes, etc.
Advanced Micro Devices has demonstrated its first processors with six cores that will replace existing quad-core chips on the market of high-end servers later this year. The demonstration should emphasize AMD’s ability to create and build such processors as well as convince AMD’s customers that the chips are drop-in compatible with existing infrastructure.
“Thus far we see impressive performance and performance-per-watt results in our initial ‘Istanbul’ testing. We expect global OEMs and solution providers to begin shipping systems based on ’Istanbul’ in the second half of this year,” said John Fruehe, director of business development, or server and workstation division at AMD.
AMD’s six-core Opteron processors code-named Istanbul feature 6MB of L2 cache, dual-channel DDR2 memory controller and are compatible with socket F infrastructure. The only 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 (keep cache coherency traffic between the two sockets from appearing on the external bus)
Instead of octa-core AMD Opteron processor code-named Montreal and third-generation server platform in the second half of 2009, the chipmaker decided to introduce six-core code-named Istanbul processor with 6MB L3 cache and continue to use second-generation socket F (1207) platform. This allows makers of current-generation servers to install higher-performance chips into existing machine and increase their performance-per-watt without any substantial investments into development. It should be noted that since Istanbul chips are still made using 45nm fabrication process, they will not be able to reach the same clock-speeds as quad-core chips.
In the first half of 2010 Advanced Micro Devices will bring six-core Sao Paulo with 6MB L3 cache and twelve-core Magny-Cours with 12MB L3 cache processors that will have DDR3 memory controller and will utilize third-generation AMD Opteron platform with socket G34 code-named Maranello that will feature AMD’s own-developed 890-series chipsets. The new processors will be made using 45nm process technology.