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Monday, November 05, 2012
AMD Releases New 16-core Opteron 6300 Series Processors


While AMD is flirting with ARM on future servers, the company continues to deliver x86 chips. Today Advanced Micro Devices announced its fastest 16-core Opteron 6300 server chips.

The five new Opteron chips, code-named Abu Dhabi, are based on the company's next-generation "Piledriver" core architecture. Compared to the prior generation AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors, the new 6300 series processors offer up to 24 percent higher performance in SPECjbb2005, a server benchmark used to evaluate Java performance. Performance per watt is up to 40 percent higher than the prior generation solutions, according to figures released by AMD.

The Opteron 6300 chips have clock speeds ranging from 1.8GHz to 3.5GHz using AMD Turbo CORE technology. They feature up to 16 cores, AMD-P power management to allow IT managers better control their data center power profiles; AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology for high performance in virtualized environments and lowest cost per virtual machine (VM); up to four memory channels with up to 1866 MHz memory; they support up to 12 DIMMs per CPU for up to 384GB memory per processor and up to four x16 HyperTransport technology (HT3) links at up to 6.4GT/s per link.

The new Opteron chips have Piledriver cores, which AMD has been putting in Trinity laptop and desktop chips. The Piledriver cores are based on the older Bulldozer core, which is found in Interlagos, but the new core delivers major performance boosts, AMD has said. The Piledriver core mixes CPU, integer and floating point units to execute more operations per clock cycle while using less power.

The new processors support the older PCI-Express 2.0, while Intel's server chips have moved on to the faster PCI-Express 3.0. PCIe 3.0 can move data at 8 gigatransfers per second, which is a significant improvement over PCIe 2.0, which has a transfer speed of 5 gigatransfers per second.

As you see n the table below, the 140-watt Opteron 6386 SE has a base speed of 2.8GHz that can scale to 3.5GHz, and is priced at US$1,392 in units of 1,000. The Opteron 6380, 6378 and 6376 use 115 watts, have clock speeds of 2.3GHz to 2.5GHz that can scale to 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz, and are priced between $703 and $1,088. The Opteron 6366 HE uses 85 watts, has a base clock of 1.8GHz that can scale to 3.1GHz, and is priced at $575. The company also announced two Opteron 6300 8-core chips priced starting at $293, and a quad-core chip starting at $501.

AMD Opteron 6300 Series Processors 
CPU Model  CPU Cores  Base
Frequency 
Turbo
Frequency 
TDP  Pricing 
6386 S  16  2.8 GHz  3.5 GHz  140W  $1,392 
6380  16  2.5 GHz  3.4 GHz  115W  $1,088 
6378  16  2.4 GHz  3.3 GHz  115W  $867 
6376  16  2.3 GHz  3.3 GHz  115W  $703 
6348  12  2.8 GHz  3.4 GHz  115W  $575 
6344  12  2.6 GHz  3.2 GHz  115W  $415 
6328  3.2 GHz  3.8 GHz  115W  $575 
6320  2.8 GHz  3.3 GHz  115W  $293 
6308  3.5 GHz  N/A  115W  $501 
6366 HE  16  1.8 GHz  3.1 GHz  85W  $575 


Servers from Dell and HP based on the AMD Opteron 6300 Series processors are expected to be available before the end of the year. Systems and platforms are available today from Cray, SGI, and Supermicro as well as AMAX, Appro, ASUS, ClusterVision, Colfax International, MEGWARE Computer, Microway, Penguin Computing, Silicon Mechanics and ZT Systems. AMD?s own "Roadrunner" platform, developed for the Open Compute Project, will be available in the first quarter of 2013. Moreover, AMD has already seen traction with the AMD Opteron 6300 Series processor leveraged in a supercomputing deployment at Indiana University.

AMD is also changing its strategy to include ARM-based servers, which it will start selling in 2014. However, AMD says x86 processors will remain a mainstay of its server business.

AMD's new Abu Dhabi chips right are currently not be directly compatible with ARM servers in a data center, but the company is trying to bring the architectures closer and in the future will be able to combine both ARM and x86 in a server installation.


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