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AMD To Ship Itís 6-Core Server CPUs -----

Jun 01 2009 03:15 PM | Computerpro2 in Hardware
Views: 3023

At a press conference from its Round Rock headquarters this morning, AMD made good on one of its most important promised milestones: Itís preparing to deliver its six-core Opteron server processors, which will beat Intel to market with the first drop-in six-cores for 4P and 8P configurations. Shipping, according to executives, begins now. Intel isnít expected to have Nehalem generation EP- and EX-class Xeon processors in configurations other than 2P until sometime next year.
As the companyís server business director John Fruehe told reporters this afternoon, this new class of six-core Opteron will feature a new element of its HyperTransport bus, called HT Assist. As Fruehe explained, this feature will enable all the processors in a multi-way configuration to share portions of their L3 cache as a pooled lookup table. This way, calls to the table are directed to the appropriate processor, even across processors. The promise here is to dramatically reduce crosstalk and traffic, and cut stream memory bandwidth by as much as 30%.
AMD needs as many weaknesses on Intelís side as it can find, and this morning, it focused an intense spotlight on Intelís 2P and, in some cases (Dunnington), 4P limitations for the Nehalem generation. "Who uses a $15,000 2P server these days?" Fruehe asked, obviously relatively. "No one."

5:14 pm EDT June 1, 2009
Over the past three years, since Intelís introduction of Core Microarchitecture, AMD has been in the habit of professing that it has been listening to its customer, and whatever it is that the customer needs happens to be whatever AMD presently produces.

Some days, the company might be right. The rest of the time, itís been something of a stretch, including the day two years ago, amid the worst days of Barcelonaís lackluster performance, when AMD openly argued customers donít really want performance anyway. Certainly if thereís an exception to that argument, itís in the server space, and AMDís July 2007 dance around that exception was now almost famously ineffective. This morning, AMD is in a position where it must produce a higher performance chip for every market segment, or else become relegated to the scrap heap of history along with Transmeta. So now that AMD is more comfortable with what itís seeing from its Istanbul product line, what is it that server customers want? Startlingly, something that looks a lot like Istanbul.
"What we see with our customers is that the server market is bifurcating," stated AMD Vice President of Product Marketing Leslie Sobon this morning. "And we have two sets of server customers who are looking to optimize on different things. The first set wants to optimize on performance and expandability ó HPC, ERP, and other databases and virtualization ó and they need maximum performance, and they need to make sure they have the expandability to grow with that performance and those workloads."
The second group, Sobon continued, is looking for a more energy-efficient platform thatís better suited to highly concentrated environments such as server farms. "So thatís how we translate the usage-based platforms into exact offerings that we have, in where we see the server market today and in the future," she added rather truthfully.

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