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AMD Targets Blade Servers With New Chip

The new Opteron balances power needs and performance for a growing market.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. believes the growth of the blade-server market provides a perfect opportunity for its Opteron processor. The company Wednesday unveiled a processor for that market with optimized power and performance.

At the Server Blade Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., AMD revealed the availability of the Opteron 248 HE, a 55-watt processor that boosts the clock-cycle performance for the HE line of Opterons from 2 GHz to 2.2 GHz.

"We think blade servers represent a very strong opportunity for AMD because of the value proposition we can bring," says Pat Patla, director of server and workstation marketing for AMD.

By offering its 64-bit Opteron processors in three power grades--a standard 95 watts, the midrange 55-watt HE, and the low-power 30-watt EE--AMD can provide the correct range of options that blade- and conventional-server manufacturers require to meet specific customer demands, Patla says.

At the conference Wednesday, a number of systems manufacturers revealed plans to offer servers based on the 284 HE, including Angstrom Microsystems, Appro, Pinnacle Data Systems, Rackable, Tarox, and Verari. Hewlett-Packard last month unveiled new blade-server offerings based on Opteron processors.

Customers can choose to create two-way and four-way server blades based on specific requirements for power and performance, Patla says. For systems aimed primarily at the lowest-power requirements, manufacturers can use a 33-watt Opteron with 1.4-GHz clock-cycle performance, or gain greater performance while maintaining a relatively low thermal envelope with the new 2.2-GHz, 55-watt device.

The next step for AMD will be the introduction of dual-core versions of Opteron, which is expected within the next two months.

"We've been hearing about the potential for blades for a couple of years now," Patla says. "We think in 2005, with the introduction of dual-core devices, we are going to be solidly putting a value proposition in that space that will put us at the forefront of rapid adoption."