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AMD's Quad Opteron Firing On All Cores

Reports from the field indicate that AMD's quad-core Opteron processor has rebounded big time from problems surrounding its launch late last year. Several resellers tell me that customers have been snapping up significant numbers of quad-core Opteron systems, including high-end, four-socket servers with 16 cores In all. Meanwhile, AMD has rounded out its Opteron lineup with a host of new parts.
Reports from the field indicate that AMD's quad-core Opteron processor has rebounded big time from problems surrounding its launch late last year. Several resellers tell me that customers have been snapping up significant numbers of quad-core Opteron systems, including high-end, four-socket servers with 16 cores In all. Meanwhile, AMD has rounded out its Opteron lineup with a host of new parts.The import of this fairly tame news is actually pretty big. It means that AMD is well past the translation-lookaside buffer bug, which tainted the Opteron's launch. Not that the recovery phase was without growing pains; many motherboard vendors went through a period of dealing with BIOS workarounds before shipment of the fixed stepping.

But that's all in the past. What we now have is a real, two-horse race in the server arena, between AMD's "Barcelona"-class Opteron (i.e., the new quad-core 10h-architecture part) and Intel's quad Xeons.

I've written in detail about both Intel's Penryn architecture and AMD's Phenom desktop and Opteron server architectures, so I won't bore into the details again in this post, other than to say that both architectures have their adherents in terms of performance. (Both AMD and Intel are also crowing about the appearance of their respective processors on the http://www.top500.org/list/2008/06/100">Top 500 supercomputer list.)

There's also a huge competitive angles regarding power dissipation. As for design rules, Intel is one step ahead at this point, having already fielded its 45-nm, Penryn-class Xeons. AMD is supposed to launch 45-nm Opterons later this year.

AMD's most recent additions to the quad-core Opteron line include new speed grades (2.4 GHz and 2.5 GHz) in the Opteron SE line, which is intended for use in four- and eight-socket servers. On the SMB front, AMD has floated three new 1P parts -- i.e., for single-socket servers -- at 2.1 GHz, 2.2 GHz, and 2.3 GHz.

Here's a video I shot back in March, where AMD discusses Barcelona and the shipments of the bug-free stepping, which were about to begin at the time:


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