informa
/
3 min read
Commentary

AMD Cuts Quad-Core Barcelona Prices To The Bone

The hidden story surrounding AMD's launch of Barcelona are the chips' incredibly low prices. I can't believe you can get a 1.7-GHz, quad-core server processor for $209! I'm already seeing downward pricing pressure on Intel's competing quad Xeons, and it's looking like we're going to have a major price war on our hands.
The hidden story surrounding AMD's launch of Barcelona are the chips' incredibly low prices. I can't believe you can get a 1.7-GHz, quad-core server processor for $209! I'm already seeing downward pricing pressure on Intel's competing quad Xeons, and it's looking like we're going to have a major price war on our hands.In the run-up to the Barcelona launch, we knew everything about the processors except their prices. AMD plugged that informational hole on Sept. 10, when it issued the list prices for all nine of the newly announced quad Barcelona. (Barcelona is the code name; the chips appear on the AMD price lists as series 23XX and 83XX Opterons.)

Prices range from the bargain-priced, 1.7-GHz Opteron 2344, at $209, all the way up to the 2.0-GHz Opteron 8350, at $1,019. Here's a slide from AMD's launch, showing prices for all nine quad Opterons:



Barcelona's pricing is low, low, low. (Click picture to enlarge.)

Deconstructing the AMD price list, what we see is that the prices of the 2P Opterons are incredibly low -- low enough that we're likely to see a major rush toward quad-core Opteron-based servers.

First, let me explain the "2P." This means that they're for two-processor systems; i.e, you can use one or two of them on a motherboard. This is in contrast to the 4P Opterons, which allow you to build four-socket, 16-processor systems. The 4P parts are for higher-end servers. Thus, the 2P Opterons are the more mainstream parts.

Quite frankly, I'm blown away by the low prices of the 2P Opterons. It's hard to believe that you can get a 1.7 GHz quad server chip for $209. The other 2P Opterons are $255, $316, $377, and $389. Simply amazing.

It almost makes one wonder how AMD can make money on these devices.

As for the competing quad-core Xeon processors from Intel, we've been seeing downward pricing pressure for several weeks, and I expect that to continue. Many of the quad Xeons have come down by nearly half, since I posted my Quad-Core Buyer's Guide in late July.

Specifically, as compared with the Xeon price list I posted in July, we've seen the following cuts:

  • 2.4-GHz Xeon X3220: $570, July; $298, now.
  • 2.13-GHz Xeon X3210: $423, July; $280, now.
  • 2.66-GHz Xeon X5355: $1,250, July; $794, now.
  • 2.33-GHz Xeon E5345: $920, July; $493, now.

    The cheapest quad Xeon I could find was the 1.86-GHz E5320, which listed for $500 back in July and goes for $237 today at Newegg. The fact that that part falls between the prices for two of AMD's parts ($209 for the 1.7-GHz Opteron 2344 and $255 for the 1.8-GHz Opteron 2346) verifies, I think, my point about a quad price war, as well as spotlighting the brutal efficiency of the marketplace.