Video: AMD 'Shanghai' Quad Core Makes Compelling Server Upgrade Argument - InformationWeek

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11/23/2008
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Alexander Wolfe
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Video: AMD 'Shanghai' Quad Core Makes Compelling Server Upgrade Argument

AMD's just-launched, rearchitected Opteron -- code-named 'Shanghai' -- is the centerpiece of the company's compelling case that now's the time for businesses to upgrade their servers, notwithstanding the current economic squeeze. Check out my video with Randy Allen, senior VP of AMD's Computing Solutions Group, to hear his arguments about Shanghai's performance, virtualization abilities, and energy savings.

AMD's just-launched, rearchitected Opteron -- code-named 'Shanghai' -- is the centerpiece of the company's compelling case that now's the time for businesses to upgrade their servers, notwithstanding the current economic squeeze. Check out my video with Randy Allen, senior VP of AMD's Computing Solutions Group, to hear his arguments about Shanghai's performance, virtualization abilities, and energy savings.As Antone Gonsalves noted in his story on the official launch: "Compared with the previous generation of Opteron chips, the new processor is expected to deliver a 35% increase in power efficiency and performance, triple the cache, and higher clock speeds."

There are actually multiple Shanghai SKUs being released, with quad-core offerings for servers with up to eight sockets. (This equates to 32 physical cores; when you add virtualization on top of that, you're talking a huge number of logical cores.)

Perhaps most important, the new Shanghais get AMD into the 45-nm game, since the chips mark their first processors manufactured using the smaller design rules. (Intel has shipped 45-nm parts for nearly a year.)

Speaking of Intel, the other interesting angle here is that we're about to enter a very exciting (for buyers and users, anyway) new phase of the chip wars. That's because Intel recently launched its own new line in the form of the Core i7. Those devices -- code-named Nehalem -- are shipping first in their desktop iterations, with server parts to come in 2009.

AMD is taking the reverse tack, rolling out its new 45-nm parts now, with desktop processors to come next year.

Bouncing back to servers, I should mention that AMD is readying a six-core server chip, code-named Istanbul, for release in late 2009.

OK, so back to the point I came in on. Namely, times are obviously tough now, and it's perhaps difficult to get companies to think about spending money on server upgrades. The canonical argument, of course, is that downturns offer precisely the opportunity businesses need to take advantage of, to put themselves into a superior position for when the economy rebounds.

If these new parts were simply incremental upgrades, I'd say financial caution would trump the technological arguments. But they're not (just small improvements, that is). Both AMD and Intel are making major rev's to their product lines, and it behooves buyers to check the new stuff out.

I was at an event last Monday where HP showed off its latest Shanghai-based ProLiant servers. They're impressive. (Even if you don't want to spring for new boxes, Shanghai is a drop-in replacement into many existing Opteron servers.)

But enough blather from me. Listen to AMD's Randy Allen explain it all in this 3-minute video, shot at the HP ProLiant event in New York City.

Are you considering upgrading your servers? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at [email protected].

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