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AMD Packs Six-Core Opteron Inside 40 Watts 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-a-power-of-two dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Advanced Micro Devices has launched a low-power version of its six-core Opteron processor in time for VMworld, a key virtualization show that opens on Monday. The six-core AMD Opteron EE consumes 40 watts, and is designed for 2P servers, among the most popular in the virtualized server space."
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AMD Packs Six-Core Opteron Inside 40 Watts

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  • Hardware (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:08PM (#29261953) Journal

    The six-core AMD Opteron EE...is designed for 2P servers...

    All I really want to know is: can you install it in a toaster?

    • by eln (21727)
      Netapp already has boxes that run on Opterons, so probably, but you'd need one of their SEs and a support contract to do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by oldspewey (1303305)
      If you want a toaster, you want Netburst.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      can you install it in a toaster? Yes, but at only 40 watts, it will take forever to brown your bread!
      • by maino82 (851720)
        It's like the easy bake oven of processors. It just leaves your cupcakes gooey and soggy.
      • can you install it in a toaster? Yes, but at only 40 watts, it will take forever to brown your bread!

        He only needs to replace NetBSD in his toaster by Vista and to overclock it slightly.

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      whatever you install it in, it becomes the toaster
  • Not a good idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:10PM (#29261987) Journal
    But with a 40 watt chip you could get that into a laptop, if you felt like it. Not the thinnest, lightest, or quietest laptop around; but plenty of 14-15 inch units under two inches thick(though often not far under) were running P4s at least that power hungry back before P-Ms became cheap enough for common use.

    If you were willing to deal with the size and weight of those high-end gamer laptops, the ones with quad core i7s and SLI, you could probably build a 17-inch dual socket system....
    • by ciroknight (601098) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:34PM (#29262409)
      Most laptops today have much more power efficient chips (AMD's line tops out at 35W, Intel's 25W, most do quite a bit less, especially with all of the fancy power-saving junk thrown in like QuickStart and SpeedStep w/ deeper-sleep DC4). And both of those numbers are just embarrassing with chips like the newer dual-core Atom chips which run at 4W or less at full-tilt and do most everything anyone demands of a laptop anyways.

      Now if only someone would wise up and build a 15" laptop with an Atom chip, and LED display and a 9-cell battery... mmm, 8+ hours of battery life.
      • by Ant P. (974313)

        Now if only someone would wise up and build a 15" laptop with an Atom chip, and LED display and a 9-cell battery... mmm, 8+ hours of battery life.

        They can't. Intel doesn't allow the Atom in full-size laptops at all, or something stupid along those lines.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by WaroDaBeast (1211048)
      Fudzilla [fudzilla.com] claims these 40 watts we're talking about translate into a 60W TDP though.
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:13PM (#29262043) Journal

    Here are a few quick bits from the article:

    • Full name: Opteron 2419 EE
    • Cost: $989
    • Begins shipping: Today
    • Power consumption: 40 watts
    • Clock speed: 1.8 GHz
    • Compatable with DDR-2 [wikipedia.org] memory (cheaper than DDR-3; AMD claims this could save about $1000 per server)
    • Compare to the 2377 EE, 40-watt quad-core @ 2.3 GHz: approximately 1/3 more performance from the new six-core chip.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:24PM (#29262243) Homepage Journal

      Compare to the 2377 EE, 40-watt quad-core @ 2.3 GHz: approximately 1/3 more performance from the new six-core chip.

      Depends on what kind of server. If you're talking about a Web server, IIS 5.1 and later or Apache 2.x and better with multithreading on, yes. If you're talking about Apache 1.x or 2.x without multithreading, or some older versions of IIS, no.

      • Interesting; straight math didn't seem to support the article's claim of a 1/3 performance gain, but I assumed the increased parallel capability must be responsible for the extra performance. I'm glad someone with more knowledge was able to clear that up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tietokone-olmi (26595)

        Except that with multiprocess concurrency (i.e. non-multithreaded Apache on Unix), you actually gain in a NUMA setup like the Opterons have been from day 1. See, in the optimum case in a NUMA environment, the server process that handles a request gets an entire memory bus for itself. That's far more scalability than with multithreading in the absence of memory duplication, which AFAIR Linux doesn't implement on a per-thread basis in the same address space.

        This is why Opterons practically own the 4-socket x8

    • by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:45PM (#29262573) Homepage Journal

      The important information FTFA is here:

      "AMD also estimated that the power consumption for a fully populated 42U rack would be 9.2 KW using the six-core Opteron 2425 HE, a 55-W part. Replacing those chips with the 2419 EE would require 7.5 KW, about an 18 percent power savings."

      That's just in the rack consumption. I would imagine these probably run cooler, too, which will help with HVAC costs.

      AMD seems to be doing a better job shrinking down dated designs at this point. While Intel is selling the Atom, which is undoubtedly cooler and less power-hungry, it's still based on a very old CPU design, which isn't up to heavy computing tasks. AMD, OTOH, has now established a pretty good record of taking mainline processors, and developing lower-power versions. They scaled down what used to be a pretty hot Athlon core (Thunderbird) to the Geode (as used in the OLPC). They followed that with a 45W Athlon 64 X2. Now the Opteron. Intel does have a 35W Conroe, but it's in Celeron cripple-mode badging, a shadow performance-wise, of the original C2Ds that initially came out on that core.

      I hope that AMD does release a desktop version of this, but I don't know if they could keep it profitable ($900+ eek.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dirtyhippie (259852)

        Actually the geode used in olpc is not a scaled down thunderbird. The Geode LX series is based on old cyrix chips (although the Geode NX is a scaled down athlon).

        • by mollog (841386)
          Cyrix! I had one of those. A DRX 50, IIRC. I upgraded and overclocked my 16MHz 386 HP Vectra to 50MHz with one of those. Those were the days.

          I running a funky AMD four core with a TLB bug. Works fine on Windows XP. I own Intel stock but use AMD chips. I'm looking forward to using one of these low power chips on a HTPC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mikehoskins (177074)

        > That's just in the rack consumption. I would imagine these probably run cooler, too, which will help with HVAC costs.

        I understand that for every "power watt," it takes 1-2 additional "cooling watts" additional power, in a server room.

        So, if a rack takes 10KW, expect an additional 10-20KW of electricity to cool the server room.

        I'd, then, estimate 30KW total for a 10KW rack, just to be safe.

        So, an 18% savings on 10KW (1.8KW saved), is really saving you on the order of 3.6KW to 5.4KW, when you include co

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dirtyhippie (259852)

      I love how AMD is touting the lack of DDR3 support on a new chip as a "feature".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by John_Booty (149925)

        I love how AMD is touting the lack of DDR3 support on a new chip as a "feature".

        That was my initial reaction too. However, remember that most (not all, obviously) typical server tasks aren't particularly memory bandwidth-hungry. Email, web serving... even databases aren't usually coming anywhere close to saturating the bandwidth DDR2 can provide, even with several virtualized OSes sharing that bandwidth.

  • 2P (Score:5, Funny)

    by Enry (630) <.enry. .at. .wayga.net.> on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:13PM (#29262049) Journal

    Do they mean Dual Processor? I've never heard the term 2P server before.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      Neither have I. Either they mean 2U or it's a case of " language changes - get used to it !" which roughly translated means "we made up a new term for an old idea to make ourselves look relevant (and we didn't know how to spell 'dual')".
    • Maybe they mean 2U
    • Re:2P ... (Score:5, Funny)

      by lagfest (959022) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:26PM (#29262271)

      or not 2P, that is the question.

      It might get unpleasant if you hold it in too long.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Schrodinger's [angryflower.com] beehive -- two bees, or not two bees? THAT is the question!

        2P or not 2P is a bad question. As General Patton said (at least in the movie portrayal of him), "never turn down a chance to piss!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Do they mean Dual Processor? I've never heard the term 2P server before.

      My guess would be 2-partition (as in, two virtual partitions on a single physical server).

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      I've never heard it before either. Seems like a SEO-only term. You see it in the head tag, but the marketing dribble doesn't mention it. Server specs for anything coming up "2p" includes 2 processors, but correlation != causation, especially with marketing folk.

    • 2P = Dual Socket (Score:2, Informative)

      by HighWizard (91134)

      Single socket (1P), Dual socket (2P).

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Apparently, "2P" does indeed mean dual processor in adspeak.

      Citation: http://searchoracle.techtarget.com/generic/0,295582,sid41_gci1362417,00.html [techtarget.com]

    • Re:2P (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:56PM (#29262761) Homepage

      I've seen it before, usually used in a context where you have 2P, 4P, 8P = dual-processor, quad-processor, octo-processor machines because noone wants to go around remembering what that should be abbreviated like. Of course, with cores per chip varying widely just saying you have a DP/2P machine says little these days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        Of course, with cores per chip varying widely just saying you have a DP/2P machine says little these days.

        Naw, it's just been transmuted to mean processor sockets. Which from a system architecture standpoint is the more meaningful way to do it. You can put anything from a single-core to a six-core processor in a given socket (assuming they all exist in the necessary package), but you can't change the number of sockets in your motherboard. So "2P server" tells you that there are two sockets which you coul

        • by kramulous (977841)

          Works fine until we start getting specialised cores with specialised instructions. I've adopted sockets and processors. A pizza box can 8 processors (two sockets). A single processor, in this case, is still a generalised processing element.

          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            Works fine until we start getting specialised cores with specialised instructions.

            I don't see why heterogeneity should change anything.

            The processor on my desk contains two x86 cores, and a 'north bridge' memory controller with DMA engine and APIC. Soon there will be ones that also have a graphics core on them as well. I'd still call that a processor.

            The Cell Processor contains a single general-purpose Power core, 8 relatively specialized cores, and a memory controller, but I feel comfortable calling the

            • by kramulous (977841)

              I see the point you're making, but what happens when I write a parallel program? I make a request to the array services daemon that I want 4 processors and that gives me a single socket (in my current, massively outdated system :) ), or in your nomenclature a single processor. I see it as having 4 processors (or cores if you will) and hence the need to get a naming scheme that is consistant across hardware and software.

              And please don't say threads :s

              • by Chris Burke (6130)

                I see the point you're making, but what happens when I write a parallel program? [snip] I see it as having 4 processors (or cores if you will) and hence the need to get a naming scheme that is consistant across hardware and software.

                And please don't say threads :s

                Well sorry, I hate to break it to you, but regardless of whether you use my nomenclature or yours, that's the only term that is going to be consistent across hardware and software.

                Take for example a case I already mentioned: The Nehalem (Core i7)

    • by squallbsr (826163)
      2P = 2 Processor (as in physical CPU slots)...
  • It's a nice marketing strategy -- "My cores outnumber your cores" -- but where is the performance gain when the CPU speed is almost half that of a dual-core 3.2GHZ?
    • by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:21PM (#29262191) Journal

      6 x 1.8 = 10.8
      2 x 3.2 = 6.4

      If you can take full advantage of the six cores, there's a lot more computational power despite the slower clock speed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lytlebill (659903)
      From TFA: "According to IDC data quoted by Brent Kerby, a product manager for the chip, about 82 percent of cloud and Web servers only use about half of their available processor power at any given time." Not intended for gaming or compiling. Low power, multiple cores, it's a server chip.
    • by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:36PM (#29262447) Homepage
      This is a server processor. If you are either gaming or compiling on your server, you are doing something wrong. My servers here at work tend to do a high volume of low processor intensity transactions... therefore, more cores (and more simultanious transactions) is far more important than high speed.

      Also, by shoehorning this into a 40w envelope, they're obviously going for power efficiency over horsepower. Interesting fact: power usage is one of the largest costs of a data center, and it's growing.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "If you are either gaming or compiling on your server, you are doing something wrong. "

        Now I finally understand why MUD was banned on our group server.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by afidel (530433)
        Power usage is actually going down per unit work, by a LOT due to virtualization. Compared to my standard server from just 3 years ago I can do 17:1 virtualization today without any major over-subscription of resources.
    • This is for situations where you need lots of processes running but that those processes are either easily completed, are low-impact, or limited by bandwidth or the user. Web servers love lots of cores

      On gaming you could separate the game into a user environment thread, a physics thread, an object management thread, a pair of AI threads, and still have a core left over for general OS activity.

      I know that in theory compilers could also pull loops and modules out to separate threads but I haven't the foggiest

    • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@@@jwsmythe...com> on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:40PM (#29262509) Homepage Journal

          I had this argument with someone once. They didn't quite get it. The machine they were using was a 4 CPU 700Mhz server. In their logic, 700Mhz * 4 = 2.8Ghz. I wanted to move them to a 2 CPU 1.4Ghz machine, which I promised would be blazing fast. In their mind 1.4Ghz * 2 = 2.8Ghz, so there was no difference.

          There were a bunch of reasons for the move. The hardware was old. The form was huge (like 5u tall) and power hungry. The OS needed to be updated badly, and we couldn't take it offline for a day to do that. One day there was a fault of some kind (it's been a while, I don't remember specifically), so we moved it over to the new machine that I had wanted to move them to. They were amazed. Their $40,000 server had been replaced by a $2,000 server (original costs for both), and it was running faster and better than before. After the move, I repaired their old server, upgraded the OS, and made it ready. I offered to move them back, and they refused. :)

          About a year later, we had a 2CPU 2.4Ghz machine ready for them, and I offered again, "May I move you?" This time there wasn't a complaint. We just scheduled a window and did it. I set a 3 hour window, and we had it completed in about 15 minutes.

          I agree, I'd rather have CPU speed AND cores. I'd sacrifice extra cores for more speed. CPU speed has stagnated, while they're growing cores. I remember this happening in the past too, around the time CPU's were 200Mhz. You could get motherboards that supported one CPU, then 2 CPU, then 4 CPU, but the speeds weren't going up. You could give me 100 CPU's at 200Mhz, but I'd rather have one at 10Ghz.

          I'm sure people will throw a bunch of excuses of why. I remember back when the 50Mhz CPU was the fastest available, there were all kinds of reasons thrown around of why CPU's would "never be faster". People were very insistent that they were right. There were RF interference issues. If CPU's got to RF speeds, radio and TV would cease to work. If we got up near 2.4Ghz, people would be cooked because it's the same frequency as microwave ovens. There was no way to deal with the thermal issues, and computers would be ovens requiring liquid cooling (like liquid nitrogen or helium, not water cooling). Blah, blah, blah, blah. As we've seen, we did get well beyond 50Mhz. It's just a matter of time. I'm just disappointed that we end up stagnating. It's probably financial issues. The market will support a slower multicore CPU, but people won't spend the money on faster CPU's right now.

          I always love the "latest greatest" craze. It's entertaining. People will spend mad money on latest greatest, and I'll wait 6 months or a year to buy the same thing at a fraction of the cost. Maybe I'm part of the problem there. I won't drop $500 on a CPU, but I'll drop $100 on last years model that's only slightly slower.

          At least right now it's nice, since I can buy older and older hardware, and really not be far behind the curve. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JohnFluxx (413620)

        > I always love the "latest greatest" craze. It's entertaining. People will spend mad money on latest greatest, and I'll wait 6 months or a year to buy the same thing at a fraction of the cost. Maybe I'm part of the problem there. I won't drop $500 on a CPU, but I'll drop $100 on last years model that's only slightly slower.

        Say you wait 6 months before upgrading. $400 divided by 6 months = $2 per day.
        Assuming you earn $20 an hour, if the new chip saved you just 6 minutes per day, then it's a worth while

        • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:28PM (#29263193)
          I like your math, but you do have to change it just a tad. The $2 savings is only if he is paying for the work. If he is getting paid, then there is no savings in getting the job done 6 minutes sooner. If he is hourly, he will get paid $2 less each day, while spending an extra $2. This means a $4 a day loss. If he is salary, then there is no change in his income, but he still pays out the $2 a day in equipment costs, and thus still loses money.

          For the one paying the wages, there certainly can be a savings. So, for a company that is paying an employee, your math can be correct in some instances.

          That all being said, from a non-economic standing, it may still make sense to upgrade. I know, I would rather have the extra 6 minutes of time, even if it is just spent getting a cup of coffee, or just being productive on something else. Ok, Ok, even if it is spent posting on Slashdot about how I would rather have the extra 6 minutes.
      • I wait until the latest and greatest has gained the larger part of retail shelf space then buy the most established and robustly tested stuff at the price nearest it's exit price just before retailers stop carrying it. The problem with the latest and greatest stuff is that often there's bells and whistles that won't make it because the market goes in another direction.

        I just built an intel Quad core for under $400, but used some components from cannibalized systems. Right now USB, SATA, and the PCI bus all

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          While I do agree, I've been considering replacing my desktop (and adding a second one), when money allows. CompUSA is still alive in my city, so I wander the isles when I'm there. I can get a $300 machine that's faster than any of my old desktops. Ok, so it's an eMachines, big deal. I bought one about 2 years ago to be a mail filter server. It was an AMD64 with 1Gb RAM. I upgraded the RAM immediately (we needed more for the mail load). The motherboard died, so I picked up an Asus board

          • Totally agree. I still run 2 single core Athlon 64s S939 as servers. I'm typing this on my old intel D865 2.8 gaming box running Ubuntu. My dual core Athlon 3800 is my production box and runs Handbrake all day every day while I hack around with code 'n stuff. The Quad runs Vista (ya I know) as a gaming and Home Theater box in the living room. From the old P4 on up, my biggest problem is not being able to justify junking boxes that are still very usable, but they're multiplying like pet rabbits and I've got
      • by Spatial (1235392) on Monday August 31, 2009 @02:47PM (#29264437)

        CPU speed has stagnated

        It hasn't stagnated at all. You're equating cycle rate with performance, that's incorrect.

        Each processor architecture does a different amount of work each cycle. Counting only the number of cycles is like comparing the running speed of two men by the number of steps they take each minute - but one guy may be a midget and the other eight feet tall. Clock speeds remain similar but performance doesn't correlate.

        For example, a 3Ghz P4 isn't even half as fast as one core from a 3Ghz Core i7. The number of instructions per clock have been continuously improving with each new architecture.
        Phenom is faster than Athlon X2. Phenom II is faster than Phenom.

        Core 2 is faster than Pentium 4. Core i7 is faster than Core 2.

        So you can have what you want - improvement continues in both per-core performance and the number of cores.

      • A switch from PC100 to DDR would yield quite a bit more performance than just going from 4 processors to 2. While it's true that a single processor is better because it has a unified cache and no contention with other processors for the memory/IO bus, those days are over for now. Multiprocessing is making a comeback, and unless there's an amazing revolution in chip design it will be easier to get bigger overall MHz numbers by multiprocessing than my speeding up individual processors. If you really want t
        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          I won't argue the memory probably helped with the overall speed, just as better drives did, but all in all I'd say it was the CPU speed. The faster memory and better drives are an added bonus. :)

          It was really hard to get him to step away from that old server, since there was such an investment made in it. In the end, after we decided not to put that server back into production for that purpose, I couldn't convince anyone to use it. I don't know it's final fate, but I did sug

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        One possible way to solve this is to figure out how to scale single processes over multiple cores. As far as I know, that hasn't been done yet, and I don't even know if it's possible. But if it is possible, that adaptability seems like it'd kick the whole "programming for multiple cores" thing in the ass pretty readily.

        Multithreading? Check, we've got that. Multiprocess? Sure, we've got that too, though there are still a lot of applications which don't do it, or do it wrong. But if it could be done transpar

      • by kramulous (977841)

        CPU speed has stagnated,

        Not even close. Floating point performance on a single core has still been increasing according to Moores law. 256 bit wide registers, vectorised/packed instructions, xsse4.1, etc

    • This is a server processor - one of the biggest concerns is performance per watt. I'm assuming you're referring to one of Intel's dual cores (but even if you look at dual core AMD offerings the wattage is a significant increase) First you're ignoring pipeline utilization. Generally speaking, slower and newer processors make better use of their pipelines. Of course older procs don't have all of the design improvements that increase throughput, but the factor that's ignored is that a lot of "high-end" ultra
  • How many U to a P?
    Or is that supposed to be dual CPU/dual socket?

  • This makes me feel all warm and toasty inside.

    My electric heating pad, which helps me with little muscular issues, is 50 watts, but that dissipation is spread out over a 30 cm x 65 cm surface.

  • What does Intel have to compete with this on price/power/performance?
  • by spazimodo (97579) on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:30PM (#29265123)

    The previous generations of multi-core CPUs weren't 2-core and 4-core, they were dual and quad-core. These new chips should pretty obviously be called sex-cores. Not since the 667MHZ PII have I been so disappointed.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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