by Anton Shilov
02/02/2012 | 12:41 PM
Advanced Micro Devices has cancelled its multi-core Opteron server chips code-named Sepang (up to 10 cores) and Terramar (up to 20 cores) that were supposed to be launched in 2012. Moreover, the company decided to keep the existing server platform for its 2012 - 2013 server refreshes, which means that AMD-based machines will not support numerous new features.
In the 2012 - 2013 timeframe AMD plans to release Opteron code-named Abu Dhabi microprocessor with up to 16 Piledriver cores for 4-socket servers, Seoul central processing unit with up to 8 Piledriver cores for 2-socket servers as well as Delhi chip with up to 8 Piledriver cores for 1-socket servers. All the new CPUs will fit into existing socket G34, socket C32 and socket AM3+ and will therefore bring no improvements on the platform level. The new processors will be made using 32nm SOI process technology at Globalfoundries. Both chips are currently expected to arrive in the second half of the year.
"This change removes the 20-core [and 10-core] option[s] and postpones the introduction of support for PCI-E Gen 3 until the market is better positioned for wide adoption of that very high-end technology," a statement by AMD reads.
Previously, AMD planned to release Sepang and Terramar chips along with new G2012 and C2012 server platforms in 2012. The new platforms were supposed to bring-in PCI Express 3.0 support as well as triple-channel memory controller for 2P server chips. All-in-all, the previous plan was designed to boost amount of cores per Opteron chip as well as improve AMD servers on the platform level.
The reason for a major change of the Opteron roadmap was not revealed, but AMD indicated that the new lineup "delivers better performance", which is a rather questionable claim. There is a rationale for AMD not to change its server platform and omit any tangible design changes for its processors. The company's share on the server market at present is 5% - 6% and any platform switch will cause either stagnation or even drop of that share due to natural business reasons. Moreover, since 32nm SOI is not a problem-free process technology, a substantial architectural change may reduce yields.