AMD Shanghai Adds Energy Saving Features

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Advanced Micro Devices today introduced new quad-core processors with energy-saving features, including the ability to cap a server’s power usage. The AMD Opteron HE processors are part of the Shanghai line of 45nm servers. AMD is also introducing an Opteron SE line optimized for high-desnity server farms.

The Opteron HE (for “high efficiency”) targets data center operators wrestling with rising energy bills. John Fruehe, AMD’s Director of Business Development for Server/Workstation, outlines the power capping features of the new HE processors at the AMD at Work blog:

Because many workloads tend to be spiky in nature, the need to run at the highest clock speed is often only for a cycle or two. Power capping helps smooth out the peaks and can help maintain a better overall average power. In fact, AMD PowerCap manager can reduce server processor power consumption by up to 63%. And our AMD CoolCore™ technology, which lets you turn off unused parts of the processor, is now extended to include L3 cache.

The new processors are now available in eight server systems from HP and additional systems from Dell and Sun.

Rackable CEO Mark Barrenechea described the Shanghai HE as “impressive” at his  Rackable Raconteur blog. 

Shanghai is important to the industry for what it represents today and for the future. As for today, the technology is available and proven and operates within existing socket technology (Socket F).  This allows new systems to fully leverage the feature set and investment protection for existing systems (upgrade the CPU, Memory and BIOS with known thermals and operating characteristics). As for the future, Shanghai is also an architecture.  It is intended to serve as the foundation for the future generations of AMD processors: Istanbul, Magny-Cours, and San Paolo.

AMD’s Fruehe provides an overeview of the new processors in this four-minute video:

HP announced the availabiloty of power cappingfeatures on its ProLiant servers in November.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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