AMD announced the availability of the Opteron 6000 Series platform Monday, featuring the world's first 8- and 12-core x86 processor. The new series addresses workload-specific performance and power efficiency, while delivering more cores and more memory for less money.
In AMD's constant battle with rival Intel, the battlefield focuses on quantity vs. speed. While individual cores from Intel are faster, the recently released 5600 series Intel processor maxed out at 6 cores, while AMD offers 12 core processors. AnandTech makes the nice comparison, calling Intel a Porsche, and AMD an American muscle car. Late last year Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion to settle a lawsuit over unfair sales tactics by Intel.
When it comes to pricing, the AMD core count may refocus corporate IT from focusing on raw speed. Twelve cores, accompanied with virtualization will allow businesses to consolidate more applications to a single server. Additionally AMD has removed the '4P tax', since the same processors can be used in both 2 processor and 4 processor designs, and 4 processor capable processors are now the same price as 2 processor capable processors.
AMD says a number of benchmarks highlight the 6000 series, including a 119 percent increase in floating point performance, 33 percent more memory channels per processor than competitive 2 processor solutions and 50 percent higher DIMM memory capacity compared to previous generations.
Refocusing to just two product lines, AMD will release the Opteron 6100 series for the high end performance-per-watt market, and the Opteron 4100 series for the energy efficient and cost optimized market in 2010. AMD also launched a server platform, code named Maranello, moving up to support four DDR3 memory channels.
The product launch for the Opteron 6000 series included a number of blog entries, a Flickr gallery of photos and numerous videos. Several hardware vendors showed their support of AMD with individual announcements:
- SGI announced the immediate availability of AMD Opteron 6000 series platforms across all SGI scale-out server platforms. For the first time SGI will support Opteron processors in the ICE Cube modular data center, which will now scale to 41,760 cores per container. SGI also expects to release Opteron processor-based configurations of its Altix ICE high performance computing (HPC) clusters and Octane III personal supercomputer later this year.
- Cray and AMD have a long history of collaboration and with this launch Barry Bolding, VP of Scalable Systems for Cray said "AMD is making one of the most significant strides ever in improving computational density, energy efficiency, memory bandwidth and thus, overall system performance." The Department of Energy' Oak Ridge facility houses the Jaguar Cray XT5 system, using 37,376 six-core AMD Istanbul processors. They Cray XT6 supercomputer features Opteron 6100 Series processors and supports 16 or 24 processing cores within each computational node.
- Acer and AMD announced a strategic relationship, where Acer Group intends to increase its presence on the server market and extend its range of products featuring AMD as a strategic partner for its new server line up. “The AMD Opteron 6100 Series processor is the only server processor with up to 12 cores and four channels of DDR3 memory, providing the muscle to tackle larger, increasingly complex and multithreaded applications, while scaling memory and maintaining power efficiency and overall value for customers," said Patrick Patla, Vice President and General Manager, Server and Embedded Divisions at AMD.
- HP launched three new ProLiant G7 server platforms featuring the AMD Opteron 6100 series prcoessors. HP claims a 23:1 consolidation ratio delivered, when ProLiant G7 servers are ProLiant DL 165 G7 and DL 385 G7 rack-optimized servers, as well as the HP ProLiant SL 165z G7 scale-out 'skinless' server. These new servers start at $1,449 and are expected to be available in April worldwide.
- Dell announced the PowerEdge R815 featuring the AMD Opteron 6000 series platform, designed to deliver up to 48 processor cores with a balanced architecture of advanced manageability, memory scalability of up to 32 DIMMs, massive I/O, and system redundancy.