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AMD Opteron Due In April 303

updog writes "Here's an article from Infoworld claiming that the new 64-bit AMD Opteron is ready to launch on April 22. Some of the notable features of the new chip are an address space capable of addressing up to 1 Terabyte of memory, the ability to link up to 8 processors without any external chips, and backwards compatibility with existing 32-bit applications ..." PapaFSmurf, meanwhile, links to a disclaimer-heavy article posted at amdboard.com which says that 64-bit Athlons may arrive in June rather than September as previously expected.
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AMD Opteron Due In April

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  • Whoa (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:12PM (#5520731) Homepage
    Imagine how fast THE INTERNET is gonna be now!

    TWICE as fast, at least!
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:13PM (#5520735) Homepage
    Barton isn't enough to keep AMD going against Intel until Sept. Simply not gonna happen, and I think they have seen that coming and are trying to head it off by launching the Athlon64 closer to its originally planned release.

    Once the Athlon64 is available and people are building systems using it, AMD just stole back the "King of PC processors" title and in a BIG way.
    • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:36PM (#5520815) Journal
      The nice thing about Opteron is that it's main competitor will be the P4 Xeon processor, which will soon start showing signs of age. The P4 was designed for high clock speeds, but it can only go so far. When Clawhammer is released this Winter, AMD will truly have a more rounded product line. For the time being, all they have is the Athlon, which seems like a big mistake to me.

      AMD's future existence depends very much on the performance of the Opteron and Clawhammer with 32-bit applications, in a 32-bit environment. The best case scenario for AMD would be if M$'s next major OS release were 64-bit only. Unfortunately, this seems highly unlikely, but AMD can dream, can't they?

      "Yes, sir, that new system with the latest Windows will be $12,000 if you go with Intel and the Itanium, or $699 if you go with AMD and the Athlon64. Yes, sir, it is pretty funny; I agree."

  • This is huge (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toasty16 ( 586358 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:14PM (#5520743) Homepage
    Affordable x86 64-bit servers for the masses, this is going to revitalize AMD and really put it on the map as a serious challenger to Intel. I hope Chipzilla wakes up and sees that its incredibly expensive and backwards-incompatible Itanic 2 chips are the result of engineers developing for themselves instead of developing for the needs of their customers. Finally, AMD will be able to court the high profit business market, though I fear that they might alienate their hardcore enthusiast consumers in the process...
    • Affordable x86 64-bit servers for the masses, this is going to revitalize AMD and really put it on the map as a serious challenger to Intel.

      But there already are affordable 64-bit servers for the masses, cheap SPARCs, PPCs and so on. What does anyone need a 64-bit computer for? If you need to address large amounts of memory, or require compatibility with apps that are written to do so. The speed advantages of 64-bit per se simply aren't that great. People who need 64-bit can already get it, the apps are
      • "But Engineers are the only people in the near future who need 64-bit processors on their desktops."

        To add to the list of this siblings' posts, most newer video games from the top manufacturers are also going to need 64 bit. Unreal will soon require 64 bit for their mod development tools, I'm sure id software is also going to have no problem improving performance on 64 bit platforms.

        Did anybody really need 32 bit CPU's when intel went from 286 -> 386? Maybe not, maybe so. But that is what happened, and
  • Just in case (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:14PM (#5520745)
    AMD's enchanted April
    AMD's 64-bit alternative

    By Tom Yager March 14, 2003

    After years of hype, the AMD Opteron 64-bit processor will debut in April. The company and its shareholders might curse the rotten timing, but the current contracted market is actually the perfect setting for AMD's new technology. While other chipmakers scramble to adapt, AMD seems to have designed current business challenges and priorities into its architecture. Considering how long Opteron has been in engineering, AMD is either very smart or very lucky. Opteron may be an opportune solution for customers looking to consolidate their servers and reduce operating costs.

    The advantages of AMD's new design are many. The most talked-about feature is the CPU's support for 64-bit applications. Unlike previous 64-bit processors, Opteron implements the full x86-32 instruction set. Software that runs on a Pentium III or AMD Athlon now will run unmodified on Opteron. Opteron-based servers will likely spend the majority of their time running the 32-bit Windows and Linux programs that businesses use today.

    Software written to exploit Opteron's 64-bit capabilities will break through the barriers that prevent the x86 from running extremely demanding server and technical applications. A vastly expanded address space (up to 1TB of physical memory), a larger set of high-speed registers, and new instructions will take affordable servers to a higher level of performance. Running in 64-bit mode, an Opteron application can crunch through mountains of in-memory data and perform blazingly fast data transfers to network and storage devices.

    Unlike other x86 processors, the Opteron CPU has the inherent ability to link up to eight processors without specialized chips. Every processor has three HyperTransport bus controllers for fast connections to other CPUs and devices. Instead of using an external memory controller, which complicates system design and adds latency, AMD links memory directly to each CPU. The design has plenty of headroom to accommodate faster memory and I/O devices. The only speed limit is the 19.2GB per second capacity of each chip's combined HyperTransport channels, which exceeds the top speed of the most capable PC server bus.

    In systems that require more than eight processors, Opteron will rely on external chipsets to provide communications between CPUs. The fact that HyperTransport is already on the chip simplifies the engineering. Systems running two- and four-CPU configurations -- which account for most x86 server sales -- will ship in 2003. How soon larger systems appear depends entirely on market demand.

    Answering critics

    The chief criticisms leveled against the platform by Intel and critical analysts -- mainly that Opteron is immature technology and that Microsoft is dragging its feet porting Windows to it -- will prove groundless. The well-respected and thoroughly debugged Athlon x86 processor is the foundation of the Opteron chip. The remarkable HyperTransport bus that AMD uses to tie Opteron chips to each other and to I/O devices is already in widespread use. The DDR (double data rate) memory that AMD has chosen for its first implementation is inexpensive and readily available. AMD's chipset implements standard PCI-X and AGP ( Accelerated Graphics Port ) peripheral buses. System manufacturers and customers will have relatively few adjustments to make.

    The Windows question is slightly trickier, but it isn't an issue Intel should press too hard. Yes, the sole 64-bit version of Windows runs on Itanium and Itanium 2. However, Microsoft has repeatedly stated that it strongly prefers AMD's 64-bit architecture to Intel's. Opteron is not stuck in the same spot as Intel at the launch of Itanium. Intel had to wait for Microsoft to announce its Itanium-specific port of Windows . Opteron already runs 32-bit Windows at full speed, while other 64-bit CPUs must use emulation to run most Windows software. Microsoft's engineering task, which it needn't hurry to accomplish, is to
  • by DJPenguin ( 17736 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:17PM (#5520755)
    Duron? Opteron? Who comes up with these? They sound like types of rubber, or possibly fuel additives...
    • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:39PM (#5520826)
      I think they sound like Decepticons personally but maybe that's just too much time spent watching Transformers as a kid.
    • Let me remind you of Celeron, Deshutches, Klamath, Mendocino .... It might be the same guy!
    • Duron, Opteron.. I suppose the next one will be called Moron ;)
      (after considering other names like Dodecahedron, Rhododendron, CowboyNeal-drone, etc.)
    • by Selanit ( 192811 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @06:49PM (#5521117)
      Makes sense to me. The -on suffix has a nice ring to it, sort of techy in a Greek kind of way. Plus it's an English word in its own right with generally positive connotations, turning you on to the product.

      The prefixes are just common sense, conveying to the potential buyer what the company would like you to believe about their product. Athlons are Athletic. Durons are Durable. Opterons are Optimized for Optimum performance, suggesting that it's the best of the best. The Latin optimus, from which the prefix is ultimately derived, simply means "best".

      Course, they had to throw an "er" into that last one, 'cause otherwise it would have sounded like some sort of legion of boxy doom robots in a low budget SF invasion flick: Oh my God, the Optons are coming! Run . . . RUN!

      But even then that extra joining syllable was carefully chosen. They could have picked an i, making the product Option. That would pick up on the Opti- prefix of optimum and optimize, but it would also make the word an English word that merely means "one possible choice", clearly not the best message to send to a potential buyer looking for the best.

      -er- works much better. Not only does it call to mind the English comparative adjectival ending ("It's not only opt, it's opter!), it also rhymes with the middle syllable of their highly successful Duron line, suggesting by extension that these new chips will carry on that tradition of excellent value for the money.

      Over-analysis, you say? That which we call a CPU would perform its function by any other name? Certainly the silicon would work the same; but the perception of the chip would be different, perhaps worse for AMD, and for that reason the name matters. Names are words, and words are how we define reality. You might ask me "What's a figgin?" And I would say "A figgin is a type of pasty, with chicken inside and raisins on top." Prior to that you probably had no notion what a figgin was, and I have now created in your mind the idea that it's a chicken pasty with raisins on top, and I may also have conveyed the idea to you that it is tasty and filling. And I have done it using words. This is exactly what the AMD marketing people are trying to do: they are using words to create a reality in which people believe that AMD's products are superior (Ha! there's the next one: the Superion), and buy from AMD rather than its competitors as a result.

      Typical attention spans are short, moreso now than before we got so saturated with advertising, so they have to pack as much meaning into as few words as possible. Figgin is a rotten product name. It has no linguistic history; it could just as easily be a bodily organ, often removed in unpleasant ways by sadistic tyrants. Athlon, Duron, Opteron are much better: they are made from phonemes that have positive connotations to English speakers, and in several other languages as well, notably the Romance tongues.

      Sensible buyers will not make purchasing decisions based solely on this, of course, but the initial impression remains and is reinforced every time you see, hear, or think the name. That counts . . . it may not be logical, but humans are not always logical. (Seldom, in fact.)

      Basically, I think AMD's marketing team has done an outstanding job picking these names. Even you, oh parent poster, must have picked up on the positive connotations, even if you then realized how silly the whole thing is and mocked them for it. AMD's going to need every advantage they can get to win serious market share from Intel, but if their naming team is anything to judge by, then they've made a good start.
  • Only 1 TB? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MagPulse ( 316 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:18PM (#5520758)
    64 bits should give you 18 exabytes right? What's the limiting factor?
    2^64 = 18,446,744,073,709,551,616
    ^EB ^PB ^TB ^GB ^MB ^KB
    • Re:Only 1 TB? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cheezedawg ( 413482 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:21PM (#5520766) Journal
      The "limiting factor" was AMD's decision to only use 40 bit addresses at first.
      • Can they provide more bus lines in the future without ISA modifications? If so, then this is a smart design decision. Using only 40 bit addresses reduces the cost of the complete system while providing enough address space.
        • Re:Only 1 TB? (Score:5, Informative)

          by BrianB ( 7440 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @06:17PM (#5520992)
          Yes, much like the original 68k (68000, 68010) chips could only address 16 meg, but the instruction set was 32 bit and therefore able to go to 4Gig with subsequent chips without any problems (well, except the Microsoft-written AmigaBasic used the 8 upper bits as flags and therefore broke when the 68020 wanted to actually treat those bits as part of the address....horrible, horrible kludge).

          Anyway, future opterons will be able to address a larger amount of memory without modifying the instruction set, and let's face it, by the time 1 TB of memory is affordable/useful, that original opteron is going to be long surpased.
    • I'm pretty sure this is the physical address space and not the virtual one (which should be 2^64). So the external bus of the processor can "only" address 1TB (i.e. 40 address bits)
    • by JamieF ( 16832 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @06:14PM (#5520984) Homepage
      So, if you like storage systems that can hold >1024 TB...

      does that make you a "peta-phile"?

      Yuk yuk yuk.

    • Re:Only 1 TB? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Weirsbaski ( 585954 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @07:35PM (#5521265)
      The linear (virtual) address is 64 bits, but only 48 bits are implemented. This means that pointers will only have the bottom 48 bits "arbitrarily" chosen. (The upper 16 bits are a sign-extension of bit 47). Future x86-64 revs can implement up to 64 bits if desired. Advantage: only 48 wires are needed to pass linear addresses around within the cpu.

      The physical addresses are 52 bits, but only 40 bits are implemented. This means that the page tables can only assign pages to 40-bit physical addresses. Future x86-64 revs can implement up to 52 if desired. Why 52? The upper bits in the page tables that would be used for larger addresses are instead marked "available for software use". Advantage: only 40 wires are needed to pass around physical addresses, the caches only have to store 40-bit physical tags.

      So in theory, one task could use 2^48 bytes of memory, but only 2^40 bytes would be in memory at any one time, the rest would be swapped out. The virtual-memory-manager (not the task iteself) would be responsible for keeping track of which pages are currently in memory.
  • by handsomepete ( 561396 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:19PM (#5520761) Journal
    The only thing the article references is that Newisys [newisys.com] is leading the charge, but I don't see anything I would consider a source. Racksaver [racksaver.com] is claiming that evaluation units are available now, but mostly there's just a lot of Opteron Server Evaluation signups. Does anyone have any real information? Cost? Non-evaluation release? Anything?
  • by Guysdrinkingbeer ( 207045 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:22PM (#5520769)
    No, I ma not making a joke. Yesterday, Friday March 15 2003 I bought my new Soyo KT400 Dragon motherboard and a AMD 2600 Athlon with 333 bus. I have been cutting edge for 24 hours.
    I never will win.

    On a more positive note, any body know of motherboards for these monsters yet?
    • No, I ma not making a joke. Yesterday, Friday March 15 2003 I bought my new Soyo KT400 Dragon motherboard and a AMD 2600 Athlon with 333 bus. I have been cutting edge for 24 hours.

      Um, I hate to break this to you, but you should have read the . You weren't cutting edge for even a day. Close, but no cigar. [slashdot.org]

      I never will win.

      Yea, that pretty well sums it up if you want state of the art.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But were you seriously ready to plunk down the money for a Opteron? Since you didn't even buy a Barton 3000 it doesn't sound like your even close to being able to afford an Opteron. So why the regrets? You obviously wounldn't have bought one.

      I think a lot of AMD users are misguided if they think 64bit chips are going to be what most users would call "afforardable" in the next year. Corporations might get ahold of these but only the most hardcore of hardcore will spend what's necessary to go 64bit x86 for a
      • I think a lot of AMD users are misguided if they think 64bit chips are going to be what most users would call "afforardable" in the next year.

        I'm an AMD user
        I don't believe I'm misguided
        I know many computer users
        I don't know one person who has referred to the chip professionally, casually, verbally, or in any other form, as "afforardable".

        Where are you getting your informatinion?

        sorry, couldn't resist ;)
      • It won't be as cheap as other x86 chips, but remember, it is NOT an x86. Opterons will be expensive, but their desktop/workstation counterparts, the Athlon64, probably will be competitive with the fastest Intel chips in price and performance. If AMD isn't fudging its numbers, and a 2000 MHz Opteron is competitive with a 3600 MHz Pentium 4, I think that the future is bright for AMD and their chips. I do want one, and I will buy an Athlon64 machine to run Linux and Windows. If AMD can keep the prices on the A
    • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @12:41AM (#5522265) Journal
      I've always upgraded by the rule of "order of four". This gives me what I need at minimal expense.

      I generally hold off upgrading until I see at least 4x performance improvement, barring special needs. My recent upgrade from a 450 Mhz PII >> 1800 Athlon is no exception. I probably won't upgrade again until at least 4 Ghz unless there is a real need for it.

      Also, I never buy the "top end". If you look at prices, you'll find that prices start kinda cheap, rise slowly for a while, and then suddenly climb, as you go from low to high end.

      The last item before that spike is the one I buy.

      Notice: hard drives. (pricewatch.com =)

      $49 = 20 GB
      $58 = 30 GB
      $59 = 40 GB (who'd get a 30?)
      $67 = 60 GB
      $77 = 80 GB
      $100 = 100 GB (small spike = 80'd be ok)
      $106 = 120 GB (don't bother with the 100)
      $151 = 160 (Big spike. Go with an 80 or a 120)

      Or, perhaps, AMD CPUs?
      $50 1500 Mhz
      $49 1600 Mhz // here, availability is the issue
      $50 1700 Mhz
      $58 1800 Mhz
      $63 1900 Mhz
      $71 2000 Mhz
      $83 2100 Mhz
      $95 2200 Mhz
      $122 2400 Mhz
      $170 2500 Mhz (Big spike, get a 2200 or 2400)

      This is true in almost every part of the computer industry. At this point, a 2400 Mhz AMD is considered "commodity" while the 2500 is not. Same with 160 GB HDs vs. 120s.

      With this, I'm almost happy with my equipment, and still have money to spend on my 5 (yes, FIVE) children.

  • Maybe I'm trying to open a can of worms similar to VI vs EMACS, but so be it.

    More addressable memory: cool.
    8 way processors: cool*. (insert "do you have parallel apps to take advantage?" disclaimer. And some apps do.)

    But if all my stuff is running in some 32 bit compatibility mode, then what real gain am I going to realize? The article did mention something about faster registers- does that mean small fixed point instructions run faster? (like increment register i, or add n to x, etc.)

    And how many apps
    • by vlad_petric ( 94134 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:32PM (#5520803) Homepage
      The width of the machine is not the number of threads it's able to run at a given time (SMT like P4), but the number of instructions you can execute in a cycle (in a parallel fashion, of course). The difference between x86 and Itanium is that on Itanium the instructions are "explicitly parallel", i.e. the compiler bundles instructions together and the processor knows it can execute them in parallel, while on x86 the processor is smarter and determines itself which
      micro-ops (actually it's rops for AMD) it can execute in parallel.

      You're very likely going to see speedups on 32 bit code, simply because Opteron is twice as wide as P4 (and this has nothing to do with the size of the operands, which probably is not going to matter as much).

      As far as the 64 apps are concerned - Linux already runs on it.
    • by updog ( 608318 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:49PM (#5520870) Homepage
      And how many apps for 64 bit exist in the market?

      If you use a source-based distribution, like Gentoo [gentoo.org], everything in your system will be compiled for your 64-bit architecture when it's installed. You'll be able to take advantage of your new 64-bit architecture right from the get-go.

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @06:25PM (#5521016) Journal
        There are previous posts repeating this, but there's one problem with the theory: That taking advantage of the 64-bit architecture from the get-go will actually give a speed benefit. It also assumes that all of the source code is '64-bit clean', although that is likely not going to be much of a problem.

        The problem is that, sure, everything is compiled into 64-bit mode. Fine. But can the compiler optimize the 64-bit code as well as it can optimize the older 32-bit code? Will the compiler make good use of the extra registers? I'm willing to bet that, for the first while, 64-bit AMD compilers will generate slower code than their 32-bit counterpart. (For 99% of all applications -- those which do NOT need more than 2 GB of memory).

        And, of course, there is my major question: What kind of context switch and/or process latency can we expect from the Athlon64 & Opteron? I realize nearly all hard real-time apps don't need anything this powerful-- most good engineers will just put a microcontroller in to handle the hard real-time, and buffer things enough so that it doesn't matter that the workstation isn't hard real-time; but it does have a serious impact on other aspects of system responsiveness, as well as overall system performance for a microkernel architecture (such as HURD, Darwin, or QNX).

        For that matter-- how will the Opteron's context switch time compare to other 'server' processors, like the UltraSparc, POWER4, Itanium, and, for good measure, PowerPC? Most of the arguments I've seen about modern x86 having a horrible context switch time don't seem to hold up to benchmarks I've seen-- where identically-clocked PowerPC and Pentiums take nearly the same time (and hence nearly the same number of clock cycles) to context switch...
        • Blockquoth the poster:

          The problem is that, sure, everything is compiled into 64-bit mode. Fine. But can the compiler optimize the 64-bit code as well as it can optimize the older 32-bit code? Will the compiler make good use of the extra registers? I'm willing to bet that, for the first while, 64-bit AMD compilers will generate slower code than their 32-bit counterpart. (For 99% of all applications -- those which do NOT need more than 2 GB of memory).

          Your caution in this is reasonable, but don't forget

        • by Neon Spiral Injector ( 21234 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @07:58PM (#5521340)
          I compiled everything from source for my Alpha, not one problem with 64-bit cleanliness. That was a problem in the early 90s. There are enough 64-bit chips around now, that every serious application has been compiled on one at some time.

          GCC is already ready for the Hammer chips. If compiling for x86-64 you get code generated that can make use of mmx, mmxext, 3dnow, 3dnowext, sse, and sse2. It actually prefers those instructions over the old x87 functions by default.

          I've heard that the Hammer is 2.5 times faster per clock than the lastest Athlons in 32-bit mode, and faster still in 64.

          I WILL be building a machine around 2 of these chips as soon as the first Tyan board ships with PCI-X slots.
      • I wonder what kind of library compatiblity problems something like that would cause... Image I'm running a Gentoo x64 64-bit compiled system.. SO what happens when I decide to install some product that I don't have source to?? Would I have to have a 32bit glibc hanging around? Or would it be able to work?
      • ...and take a speed hit as all the mundane programs like 'cat' and 'ls' now have double the memory footprint...

        64-bit code should be applied selectively, only to the prorgams that actually need the extra address space.
        • They really shouldn't have double the memory foot-print. Code size increases only slightly (from an average of 3.4 bytes per instruction to 3.8 bytes per instruction). Integer size remains the same. Only long integers and pointers double in size. You'd probably get more of a noticible growth by compiling with GCC with inlining enabled.
    • And how many apps for 64 bit exist in the market?

      And how many 32-bit OSses and apps were there back in 1985, when the 80386 was released? At the time it was released, it was treated by most users as an even faster 8086. It took ten years before a semi-32bit OS was accepted mainstream, and on top of that another 7 years before every sold PC had a full 32-bits OS. The success of the 386 was in its backward compatibility, and so will the success of x86-64 and the failure of the Itanium as mainstream-cpu be.
    • And how many apps for 64 bit exist in the market?

      A lot more than you think. Most Open Source apps compile and run on 64-bit OSes like Solaris, HP-UX, Tru64, Linux (when run on Alpha, PPC64, etc), etc.

      There will be work that needs to be done to clean up some apps, there's no denying that. But a large chunk of the work is already done on the unix side. It's the Windows side that has a lot of catching up to do.

      I guess what I'm asking is- aside from custom code, what are the reason for me to early ado

  • by Grip3n ( 470031 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:26PM (#5520783) Homepage
    The [eweek.com] release [cpuplanet.com] date [earthv.com] of April 22 [amd.com] was released [computerworld.com] a long time ago [entmag.com]

    (ie: January 21, 2003, just incase you didn't get the picture)
  • Palladium? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rmohr02 ( 208447 ) <mohr.42@[ ].edu ['osu' in gap]> on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:27PM (#5520789)
    The big question is whether or not Palladium will be built into this chip. Anyone know?
  • by ruiner5000 ( 241452 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:30PM (#5520798) Homepage
    The Opteron is being launched on the 22nd of April. It was code named Sledgehammer, and is what Newisys and others are using. It is the server version of Hammer.

    Athlon 64 is coming out in September. It is the desktop and mobile version of Hammer that was codenamed Clawhammer.
  • by gearheadsmp ( 569823 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @05:35PM (#5520810)
    here [amdboard.com]
    and Athlon64 boards here [amdboard.com]
  • Other rumours (see the Inquirer) suggest that it may be _later_ than Sept - _maybe_ arriving in time for the xmas season, though maybe not.

    When betting on Clawhammer release dates, you'd be best advised to always count on the later date, rather than the earlier.

    I'm actually more excited about PPC 970, thus finally allowing Apple to have a decent amount of hardware horsepower.
  • <QUESTION type="dumb">
    What's the difference between an Opteron and an Athlon64?
    • by gmack ( 197796 )
      Simple... The Opteron is designed for server use and has the massive cache etc while the athlon64 will be priced for home use.

      • by kangasloth ( 114799 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @09:09PM (#5521589) Homepage

        What makes the Opteron a server chip is the presense of three hypertransport links, the bus used for communication between multiple CPUs and other components such as the motherboard chipset. The Athlon64 will have only one. This is important since hypertransport, unlike say PCI, uses point-to-point links. The AGP and PCI bridges could be on separate hypertransport links and in theory we could see things like gigE controllers directly attached to the hypertransport bus.

        Also, last I heard, the Opteron will use Dual DDR memory, while Athlon64 will have to make do with single-channel DDR. Recall that both Hammer chips (SledgeHammer, aka Opteron, and ClawHammer, aka Athlon64), have the memmory controller integrated onto the CPU.

        For both of these reasons, the Opteron and Athlon64 sockets are incompatible (Socket 754 vs Socket 940). There's an old review with plenty of information here [anandtech.com]

    • Opteron will cost more :)
  • Vendorwise I mean. Dell won't touch AMD flakiness with a 10 foot pole, I don't recall seeing many IBM AMD servers, and HP has too much tied up in IA64. So you're going to build your datacenter around Gateway? MOO.
    • Vendorwise I mean. Dell won't touch AMD flakiness with a 10 foot pole

      I don't know, they have used AMD off and on, and any look at TV shows that Dell is going for the server market with a vengence. I could possibly see only using AMD for servers and not the regular athlons. I own several dell servers, they are aggressive as hell on price and marketing, and frankly, make a good entry to entry/midlevel server, IMHO.

      So you're going to build your datacenter around Gateway? MOO.

      Yea, thats not gonna happen
  • by The Analog Kid ( 565327 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @06:07PM (#5520949)
    Windows is still going to use the swap file.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @07:16PM (#5521194) Journal
      No Matter How Much Ram You Have
      Windows is still going to use the swap file.

      Why was this moderated as funny? It's certainly true for the NT series (including 2K and XP). Their VM strategy allocates all the ram (except the part reserved for the kernel) as disk cache, and all allocated memory is swap, cached by the main memory. This allows the kernel to dynamically tune the amount of disk cache used according to how much is required. It sounds insane, but is actually quite an elegant solution (in theory at least, I'm not convinced it works in practice. A lot of disk I/O throughput will kill system performance as all your apps get swapped out in favour of disk cache).

  • Dual 64 boards (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 )
    I want to know if there will be dual boards out that are affordable. Currently the only options for a dual cpu environment is the P4 with hyper threading, Dual Xeon, or older AMD MP boards. All which are very affordable.

    I've been using dual boards for awhile, then switched my workstations to a fast single CPU setup. What a mistake. With I/O taking so much CPU time, a dual setup is the best solution. I have not tried P4's hyper threading, but I wonder if thats the cheapest way to get the performance on a s
    • The nice thing about hypertransport is the fact that the boards are simple design wise and cheaper to manufacture. The current Athlon boards are expensive to make and difficult to get right and that lead to the lack of vendor support and the general lack of quality. It's good to see they have learned from past mistakes.

      Also I'm not saying this is the case but if your having a general IO slowdown on your workstations that goes away on dual CPU systems then you may want to check and make sure DMA is enabl
  • Since the advent of 32 bits processors there's been a huge amount of research trying to shrink the space taken by data-structures and similars. I've read of techniques devoted to save a couple of bits in Java classes for instance. Now we get addresses 64 bits long... I guess we can forget all of that... Any thoughts guys? Is it really worth trying to squeeze bits in object code if every 5/10 years processor technogy makes a leap?
  • For me its the 8 way SMP that excites me but I do have to wonder if they have any performance enhancements in? Do they have some sort of shared cache so they can talk cache->cache without have to do a lookup (TLB?) in main memory. Also what is the performace like, say compared to an Itanium 2 or Xeon? Anyone got any recent benchmarks?

    • Re:8 way interleave (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 10Ghz ( 453478 )
      The benefits should be substantial. Besides the normal benefit of havin 8 CPU's you also get massive memory-bandwidth. Each prosessor has a memory-bank of it's own with 128bit mem-bus to it. But they can also use the mem-banks of the other CPU's (altrough there is a latency-penalty when doing that. But the latency is pretty good when compared to other architectures). So you could say that 1 Opteron has 1 x 128bit mem-bus, 2 Opterons have 2 x 128bit mem-bus, 4 have 4 x 128bit bus and 8 have 8 x 128bit mem-bu
    • That is one place the OS can help too. I know a lot of work has gone into Linux's SMP to try balance favoring one CPU to keep in its cache and the processes running on it in sync, vs. keeping all the processors active.

      But yes, part of the Hyper Transport is to allow better cache sharing between chips.
  • by aminorex ( 141494 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @07:44PM (#5521295) Homepage Journal
    Just a word to root for the ISO standard terminology,
    which disambiguates the base-10 and base-2 scale
    prefixes: 2^40 bytes is a tebibyte.

    Also, although the Hammer implementation may be
    limited by physical address lines, I believe the
    AMD architecture uses a 48-bit address space,
    for 256 tebibytes of addressable memory.
  • by LordMyren ( 15499 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @08:11PM (#5521382) Homepage
    Its going to be really sad how quad motherboards are still going to cost at least $800, even though they've got to be downright trivial to make compared to modern quad system. No central switching logic, just interconnect buses between processors! PCB and sockets aint that expensive, there's really no excuse. But its going to happen anyways.

    Speak nothing of the many-thousand dollar eight processor boards.

    Damn cushy profit margins.

    The Abit BP6 was my introduction to low cost SMP. Now I've got a craving for more, but I dont think its going to happen. Even thought it could.

    Maybe someone will get smart and make a enthusiast board. I seriously doubt it though. Not when there's bigger fish to fry. How long is it going to take for someone to realize that although less profitable, there will be untapped demand for non-server class quad systems.


  • Some of the notable features of the new chip are an address space capable of addressing up to 1 Terabyte of memory

    That's awesome because, Dude, Dell is having a sale on half terabyte memory modules this week!

    But seriously, how could one ever pack that much memory onto a board? It sounds physically impossible unless you have some crazy expansion pack but that would slow the system down so what's the point?
  • by Jman314 ( 651648 ) on Saturday March 15, 2003 @11:07PM (#5521979)
    1. Load CDs into memory and achieve 20000 X speed.
    2. Make your friends jealous becuase you have more RAM as they have hard drive space.
    3. Uninstall memory cleaner programs and get a few megs back for a couple more MP3s.
    4. You just know that sooner or later your games are going to require it.
    5. Finally, Windows has enough memory (at least until the next release).

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel