|The Leading Source for Global News and Information Covering the Ecosystem of High Productivity Computing / August 18, 2006|
AMD has introduced its Next-Generation AMD Opteron processor family, claiming industry-leading performance-per-watt and increased virtualization capabilities. With planned upgradeability to native quad-core within the same thermal design power envelope, the new Opteron processors are designed to enable customers to increase computing capacity without altering datacenter infrastructure. New platforms based on the Next-Generation Opteron processors will be offered from a wide variety of OEMs.
"Customers trust AMD for critical server applications, as evidenced by our record Q2 2006 AMD Opteron processor sales, and in 2006, AMD expects to double the number of AMD Opteron processor-based systems offered from global and regional tier-one OEMs," said Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, AMD. "Today's announcement represents continued innovation along the customer-directed path we blazed years ago; we provide the complete x86 processor architectural standard for others in the industry to emulate and have planned a seamless upgrade path to quad-core processors."
In addition to launching its new Opteron processors, AMD also announced the completion of the design, or tape-out, of its native quad-core AMD Opteron processors. AMD plans to deliver the quad-core chips to customers in mid-2007.
Quad-core AMD Opteron processors are expected to be electrical-, thermal- and socket-compatible with the Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors introduced this week. This approach enables AMD customers to benefit from a common architecture that scales to meet changing needs and escalating demands, to be able to select quad-core ready platforms today. The upgrade path offered by the Next-Generation Opteron processors also enhance the potential benefits to OEMs, system-builders and semiconductor companies who elect to innovate on the AMD64 architecture via the AMD Torrenza initiative. Torrenza capitalizes on the Direct Connect Architecture and HyperTransport technology advantages of the AMD64 architecture to enable other processor and hardware providers to innovate within a common ecosystem. According to AMD, the enhanced capabilities and innovation options now available through the extensible system bus via the HTX connector with new AMD Socket F (1207) compatible processors serve as the infrastructural underpinnings for advancing AMD64 as the x86 open innovation platform.
The new Opteron processors represent the latest products based on AMD's Direct Connect Architecture, the industry's first architecture to deliver x86-based 32- and 64-bit computing and to reduce traditional front-side bus bottlenecks, offering customers processing core consistency and stability across 1-, 2-, 4- and 8-way systems. Additionally, with only two sockets for SMP planned over a seven-year period, AMD is delivering a growth strategy for its customers who want simplicity, longevity and stability across products and platforms for their datacenters.
Power consumption continues to be one of the top concerns for managing today's datacenters. AMD Opteron processors address this concern by providing customers with overall power-efficiency and can deliver significant performance gains over single-core AMD Opteron processors while operating in the same thermal infrastructure. The Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors will use the PowerNow! capabilities and energy-efficient DDR2 memory support to maintain a maximum 95-watt thermal design power envelope. The company claims that the memory capacity offered with AMD's Direct Connect Architecture provides customers with the the memory performance they require with DDR2 and avoids the premature use of memory technologies that are not yet at an optimal price-to-performance ratio and that require more power.
The new Opteron processors will be hosted in blade platforms offered by tier one OEMs. AMD Opteron processor-based blades make up more than 50 percent of HP's x86 blade server platforms. IBM brought the LS20 AMD Opteron processor-based blade to market in 2nd quarter 2005 and recently expanded its offerings to include the industry's first "snap-in" scalable, 2- to 4-socket blade that allows customers to scale their business in seconds -- doubling the processing capacity. AMD Opteron processors are also at the foundation of Sun's re-entry into the x86 blade server market with its Sun Blade 8000 modular system, which combines the high-performance of rackmount servers in a more power-efficient blade environment.
The combination of AMD Virtualization technology and Direct Connect Architecture is intended to provide a balanced approach to enhanced virtualization performance. AMD Virtualization is designed to extend AMD's Direct Connect Architecture by providing additional silicon-based features to allow a hypervisor (the component in a native virtualization scenario that manages the partitioning of the processor) to support guest operating systems. The integrated DDR2 memory controller on Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors enhances virtualization and provides efficient isolation of virtual machine memory for improved security and support of virtual users. AMD Virtualization was developed in collaboration with AMD's enterprise-focused OEM partners and ISVs currently shipping commercial virtualization software such as Microsoft, Novell, VMware and Xen.
This week's announcement marks Sun's continued support of AMD Opteron processors in its Sun Fire and Sun Ultra x64 servers and workstations, including the Sun Fire X2100 M2 server, Sun Fire X2200 M2 server and the Sun Ultra 20 M2 Workstation. Sun has revamped and expanded its entire x64 AMD Opteron processor-based server, workstation and HPC product lines with AMD's Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors. Sun Microsystems continues to be the only AMD partner who offers a complete solution of hardware and the Solaris 10 OS pre-installed on every system shipped, while still offering professional services and software solutions. The Solaris 10 OS sits at the core of many datacenter applications and supports more than 680 x86/x64 platforms.
"AMD understands that our customers don't want to adapt to a new infrastructure every time a new processor is introduced, which can translate into headaches for end users," said Lisa Sieker, vice president of marketing for the Systems Group at Sun. "With Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors powering Sun's extensive line of x64 systems, we're able to bring our customers the continued advancements they need to meet their datacenter challenges, with a stable migration path to quad-core and beyond."
HP will add Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors to the HP ProLiant DL385 and DL585 rack-optimized servers and the HP ProLiant BL25p, BL45p, BL465c and BL685c server blades as well as future workstations.
"Our strong, global relationship with AMD is built upon a commitment to deliver advanced technologies and high-performing platforms that meet the ever-changing demands of enterprise customers," said Paul Miller, vice president, marketing, Industry Standard Servers and BladeSystem Division, HP. "Given HP's success of delivering superior system performance and best-run server infrastructures through a broad array of power efficient enterprise-class platforms with AMD Opteron processors, we plan to support Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors in our server and workstation product lines."
IBM, one of the first vendors to ship Next-Generation AMD Opteron processor-based platforms, is supporting the new processors in the five new System x and BladeCenter servers it now offers for business performance computing -- a new compute model that leverages high performance computing capability to more effectively meet general business needs, such as business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and more.
"IBM was the first global OEM to market with AMD Opteron processor-based systems in 2003. The growth of our portfolio of AMD-based systems, coupled with our leadership innovation in IBM X-Architecture, will provide customers with the broadest arsenal of leading-edge x86 systems," said James Gargan, vice president, IBM System x. "IBM has invested in a complete line of differentiated offerings based on Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors. With these platforms, customers will uniquely be able to achieve their business objectives for performance, total cost of ownership and power management. IBM's CoolBlue datacenter power management and optimization initiative, including PowerExecutive software, and innovations like Xcelerated Memory Technology, will give customers the ability to get the most from their datacenter with these new systems."
Systems based on the new Opteron processors are also being announced this week by a host of other manufacturers, including Egenera, Rackable Systems, Supermicro and others.
Starting with Next-Generation AMD Opteron processors, AMD will move to a 4-digit model number system. The new model numbers will continue to feature a 1, 2 or 8 in the first position to represent the scalability of each processor while adding a 2 in the second position, representing the second socket generation.
Model numbers will be as follows:
-- Up to 1P = 12xx. Socket AM2
-- Up to 2P = 22xx. Socket F (1207)
-- Up to 8P = 82xx. Socket F (1207)