Processors

AMD rolls out six-core Opteron, aka 'Istanbul'

AMD on Monday introduced its six-core Opteron chip for servers, also known as Istanbul, and positioned it as a value play for data centers looking for an easy way to expand and power efficiency. Larry Dignan notes the early launch of Istanbul is a positive development in AMD's battle with Intel.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

AMD on Monday introduced its six-core Opteron chip for servers, also known as Istanbul, and positioned it as a value play for data centers looking for an easy way to expand and power efficiency.

For AMD, the early launch of Istanbul is a positive development in its battle with Intel. AMD, however, is months behind Intel's Dunnington chip, a six-core server processor that launched in September.

Jason Perlow: AMD Istanbul: Field Upgrade Only If Your Hands are Nimble

Gallery: AMD Istanbul Field Upgrade

Leslie Sobon, vice president of product marketing at AMD, gave her pitch in a Webcast. Her message: Istanbul is an easier upgrade since its based on a common platform with previous generations with more performance per watt. Sobon noted that AMD's latest Opteron is available today. The AMD strategy revolves around value in a down economy. 

AMD's strategy (blog) is to talk about virtualization and power efficiency and offering those features across all of its processors. AMD called out Intel for rejiggering features based on the chip.

Here's AMD's money chart:

AMD also talked up performance per watt and additional savings since Istanbul operates on the same platform as its predecessor, Shanghai. The argument: AMD's six-core Opteron uses the same chassis, hard disk, power supply and number of DIMMs. That adds up to save money. 

Systems based on Istanbul will be available in June from the likes of Cray, Dell, HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems. HE, SE and EE versions of the six-Core AMD Opteron are planned for the second half of 2009.

And a few additional charts:

6 comments
JCitizen
JCitizen

on that chart in the article. I'm an AMD fan, but even I have my doubts that it would show that much difference in performance. Anyone in the know care to comment?

boreikm
boreikm

Something seems missing from the charts. Power consumption is one. Why would you have multiple power comsumption modes for the same performance level? If you could offer the same performance for less watts why would you choose to offer the same performance for more watts??? Again, something is missing or it just flew over my head...

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

[i]If you could offer the same performance for less watts why would you choose to offer the same performance for more watts???[/i] From the article and a chart: [i]Istanbul is an easier upgrade since its based on a common platform with previous generations with [b]more performance per watt.[/b] [/i] [i] [b]up to 34% more performance per watt[/b], same socket[/i]

JCitizen
JCitizen

that chip makers are lowering the voltage on these microchips because of the extremely small architecture involved, and the quantum limits this imposes on the design. I'm not so sure this means less over all power, however. Just seems like a lot of bold talk to me, none the less. I have never trusted commercial promoters; Intel has a bad track record on some claims, but I'm not sure of AMDs past.

dforcey
dforcey

The first chart seems to me to say that at any of the top three power levels you get 100% performance. The top two power levels seem to be offering "the same performance for more watts".

boreikm
boreikm

...but now I see that it states "Percentage of Capability". So that means each processor is able to run at 100% of its capability and stay within the power envelope? I'm not sure how that shows an advantage. I'm not pro-Istanbul or pro-Nehalem, just trying to understand what AMD is comparing in this chart and what value it is representing.