AMD Shows Off Working 16-Core Opteron "Interlagos"

AMD Demos Working Bulldozer-Based Opteron at ISC

by Anton Shilov
06/21/2011 | 09:55 PM

At the International Supercomputing Conference, Advanced Micro Devices demonstrated working machine powered by two sixteen-core AMD Opteron "Interlagos" microprocessor based on Bulldozer micro-architecture. The live public demonstration of a server version of Bulldozer happens for the first time.


The demonstration was carried out using a 1U Supermicro 2-socket chassis for higher-end AMD Opteron 6100/6200-based servers. The machine was running demo of POVRay, according to The Inquirer web-site. No actual details about performance or technical characteristics of the server/chips was released and everything that is known is that the machine actually utilized all 32 cores the microprocessors have to offer.

AMD sixteen-core Opteron "Interlagos" is on track to be released in the third quarter of this year, according to AMD, but it is unknown whether this will happen in July or September. The spokesman for AMD earlier this month declined to elaborate whether eight-core Opteron "Valencia" processors will be available in Q3 2011. Interestingly, but the media resource that reported about the demonstration was not allowed to publish a high-resolution image of the server based on two sixteen-core Bulldozer chips.

AMD Opteron 6200-series central processing units (CPUs) code-named Interlagos will have twelve or sixteen cores based on Bulldozer micro-architecture be drop-in compatible with existing G34 multi-socket server platforms and will bring a number of enhancements. In particular, the new microprocessors will sport a new memory controller with higher bandwidth, dynamic overclocking technology and some other improvements. Just like the predecessor, the Interlagos is a multi-chip-module that incorporates two code-named Valencia dies that contain up to eight cores each.

Given the fact that multi-core server microprocessors do not require high clock-speeds, while AMD, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, cannot increase frequencies of its Bulldozer chips above certain levels, it is not surprising that the chip designer can easily start to sell twelve- and sixteen-core flavours for servers despite of postponement of the desktop products on the same design to September from June.

Being on-track with 16-core AMD Opteron "Interlagos" processors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture is crucial for AMD, whose server market share has been declining for many years now. The new Bulldozer micro-architecture is projected to increase performance significantly compared to the previous-generation K10.5, which is why the actual Opteron chips will be more competitive. AMD also cannot risk its reputation among server makers, who either have already started to pre-announce systems with Bulldozer microprocessors or to recommend the machines to their clients with estimated deliver dates. For example, Cray said back in May that its hybrid XK6 systems based on AMD Opteron 6200 "Interlagos" processors and Nvidia Tesla 2000-series compute boards would be available in the second half of this year.