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AMD Packs Six-Core Opteron Inside 40 Watts 181

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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  • 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 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.

  • by lytlebill ( 659903 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:23PM (#29262235)
    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 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 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.
  • 2P = Dual Socket (Score:2, Informative)

    by HighWizard ( 91134 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:51PM (#29262679)

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

  • Re:2P (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @12:52PM (#29262697)

    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.

  • by dirtyhippie ( 259852 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:03PM (#29262883) Homepage

    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 warrior ( 15708 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:16PM (#29263055) Homepage
    It's actually more complicated than that. The six-core chips have the ability to configure up to a quarter of the 6MB L3 cache as a probe filter. This keeps most snoop traffic from reaching down into the L2 and L1 caches of the other cores on the same die and all cores on other die in a multi-socket system. The result is better memory latency and improved memory bandwidth. Here's a link: http://techreport.com/articles.x/16448 [techreport.com]
  • by WaroDaBeast ( 1211048 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:26PM (#29263165)
    Fudzilla [fudzilla.com] claims these 40 watts we're talking about translate into a 60W TDP though.
  • Re:Hardware (Score:5, Informative)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:28PM (#29263187) Journal
    With AMD's reputation for producing hot-running processors

    What reputation? Since the days of the original Thunderbird core (which still ran cooler than comparable P4s, though admittedly didn't have meltdown prevention circuitry), AMD has consistently given Intel a run for their money in that regard.

    Now, the Atom has finally brought Intel back to the realm of "reasonable", but it doesn't seriously compete with AMD, it competes with VIA (and poorly at that - The Nano blows the Atom away, clock for clock and Watt for Watt).

    Don't get me wrong, Intel has certainly regained my respect when it comes to performance, but to call AMD the toaster requires ignoring the past 10 years.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @01:43PM (#29263459)
    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.
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Monday August 31, 2009 @02:39PM (#29264319)

    $1000 for the processor is peanuts for certain applications. Generally for something like a database server most of the cost goes into software anyways (assuming you're not using an OSS database - if you are that's fine and some of this doesn't apply, but my employer simply doesn't allow it). With MS SQL Server for example, if you're not licensing by CAL's (which is a budgeting headache) is licensed per processor - at about $5000 or so per processor. Neat thing though is multiple cores don't count - only an actual physical processor counts, so for licensing reasons the more cores they can pack onto a single chip, the cheaper my licensing becomes. I've been setting up dual quad-cores on most systems lately just to keep the official processor count at 2, but six-cores would help even more. Remember too that most decent servers will be running SCSI/SAS drives in a RAID config, and many will also have fairly large tape drives (an LTO3 or 4 will up the cost another few thousand by itself).

    With those prices, most of the servers I've setup recently have run $15k-$25k with software. None of them are going to get those $50 Celeron's anyways, so these chips generally won't up the cost that much.

  • 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.

  • Re:Gimme MHz (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster.man @ g m a i l .com> on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:02PM (#29264667)

    That worked great for the Pentium 4, didn't it? Faster clock != more instructions per second. The only way to get close to 4GHz on the Pentium was with a 31-stage pipeline. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_pipeline [wikipedia.org]

    This means, on an instruction like if(a+b>c){}, the actual branch gets delayed by about 20 cycles if the processor guesses incorrectly whether the if statement should execute or not. Add the overhead due to such a fast clock (the P4 could only have 4 logic gates per pipeline stage due to the speed).

    I'll keep my more efficient, better laid out processors over raw GHz, thank you very much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @03:30PM (#29265117)
    it supports both
  • Re:Gimme MHz (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster.man @ g m a i l .com> on Monday August 31, 2009 @04:34PM (#29265979)

    The P4 only managed 4 gates at 4GHz because it was 90nm manufacturing. Phenom II and the i7 are 45nm, and the faster gates enable the higher clock speeds naturally and without huge tradeoffs, unlike the P4 where GHz drove development instead of performance.

  • Re:Hardware (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 31, 2009 @07:30PM (#29268037)

    AMD 486, K5 K6 and early K7 were really bad for "dead Buckets"
    however later iterations of K7 and all K8 are reliable.

    The introduction of large chain suppliers Lenovo, HP/Compaq and Dell releasing more AMD based systems is testament to that.
    If the components of a system have x failure rate Lenovo, HP/Compaq and Dell pays X amount honouring support and warranty on that product.

    There probably is a failure rate but each supplier expects a failure rate and integrates it with sale price.

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