Retiring the Workhorses
There is an inevitable shift coming. Honestly, this has been quite obvious for some time, but it has just taken AMD a bit longer to get here than many have expected. Some years back we saw AMD release their new motto, “The Future is Fusion”. While many thought it somewhat interesting and trite, it actually foreshadowed the massive shift from monolithic CPU cores to their APUs. Right now AMD’s APUs are doing “ok” in desktops and are gaining traction in mobile applications. What most people do not realize is that AMD will be going all APU all the time in the very near future.
We can look over the past few years and see that AMD has been headed in this direction for some time, but they simply have not had all the materials in place to make this dramatic shift. To get a better understanding of where AMD is heading, how they plan to address multiple markets, and what kind of pressures they are under, we have to look at the two major non-APU markets that AMD is currently hanging onto by a thread. In some ways, timing has been against AMD, not to mention available process technologies.
Kabini is a pretty nifty little chip. So nifty, AMD is actually producing server grade units for the growing micro-server market. As readers may or may not remember, AMD bought up SeaMicro last year to get a better grip on the expanding micro-server market. While there are no official announcements from SeaMicro about offerings utilizing the server-Kabini parts, we can expect there to be sooner as opposed to later.
The Kabini parts (Jaguar + GCN) will be branded Opteron X-series. So far there are two announced products; one utilizes the onboard graphics portion while the other has the GCN based unit disabled. The products have a selectable TDP that ranges from 9 watts to 22 watts. This should allow the vendors to further tailor the chips to their individual solutions.
The X1150 is the GPU-less product with adjustable TDPs ranging from 9 to 17 watts. It is a native quad core product with 2 MB of L2 cache. It can be clocked up to 2 GHz, which we assume is that 17 watts range. The X2150 has an adjustable TDP range from 11 to 22 watts. The four cores can go to a max speed of 1.9 GHz while the GPU can go from 266 MHz up to a max 600 MHz.
Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2013 - 02:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opteron, history, get off my lawn, amd, 64-bit
AMD64 arrived a decade ago with the launch of the first Opteron processor in April of 2003, back in the days when NVIDIA made motherboards and ATI was a separate company. In those days AMD looked like serious competition for Intel as they were out innovating Intel and competing for Big Blue's niche markets as they were first to cross the GHz line and the first to offer a 64bit architecture on a commercially available platform. At that point Intel actually licensed AMD64, re-branded it as x86-64 and used it on their Xeon processor line, a huge victory for AMD. Unfortunately there was not much in the way of consumer software capable of taking advantage of 64-bit architecture and unfortunately remains so to this day, apart from peoples ability to benefit from the enlarged RAM pool allowed. Take a walk down memory lane at The Inquirer, and remember the good old days when AMD was prospering.
"A DECADE AGO AMD released the first Opteron processor and with it the first 64-bit x86 processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
Subject: Processors | December 5, 2012 - 02:58 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: servers, opteron 4300, opteron 3300, opteron, amd
AMD has officially released a number of new server processors based on its latest Piledriver cores. The new Opteron 4300 and Opteron 3300 series processors will replace the 4200 and 3200 series, and are aimed at the server market. The 4300 series uses Socket C32 while the Opteron 3300 processors use socket AM3+. They are significantly cheaper Piledriver-based parts than the higher-end Opteron 6300 series processors. AMD is aiming these lower cost Opterons at servers hosting websites and internal applications for small to medium businesses.
There are a total of nine new Opteron processors, with three being 3300 series an six being 4300 series. Both the 3300 and 4300 series Opterons are socket compatible with the previous generation 3200 and 4200 series respectively, allowing for an upgrade path in existing servers. According to AMD, the new Piledriver-based processors have 24% higher performance per watt and use 15% less power than the previous generation parts based on the SPECpower and SPECint benchmarks. AMD is also touting support for low power 1.25V memory with the new chips.
The chart below details the specifications and pricing all of the new Opteron parts.
The new AMD Opteron 3300 series includes two quad core and one eight core processor. The parts range from 1.9GHz to 2.6GHz base and have TDPs from 25W to 65W for the lowest and top end parts respectively. AMD-P, AMD-V, and AMD Turbo Core technologies are also supported. As far as memory goes, the 3300 series supports up to four DIMMs and 32GB per CPU. Further, a single x16 HyperTransport 3.0 link rated at 5.2GT/s is included.
Moving up to the 4300 series comes with an increase in price but you also get more cores, more memory, and faster clockspeeds. The Opteron 4300 series has one quad core 4310 EE, three six core CPUs, and two eight core parts. Base clocks range from 2.2GHz to 3.1GHz while boost clocks start at 3.0GHz and go to 3.8GHz. On the low end, the Opteron 4310 EE has a 35W TDP and the top-end 4386 has a 95W TDP. The 4300 series supports dual channel DDR3 1866 memory with up to six DIMMs and 192GB per CPU. Moving up from the 3300 series also gets you two x16 HyperTransport 3.0 links at 6.4 GT/s.
The new server processors are available now with prices ranging from $174 to $501. In addition, pre-built server options from Supermicro and Seamicro (SM15000) are currently available, with options from Dell and a number of other companies on the way. The prices seem decent, and these chips could make the base for a nice 2P server that brings you Piledriver improvements for much less than the relatively expensive 6300 series processors that we covered previously.
Subject: Processors | November 6, 2012 - 01:15 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: server, piledriver, opteron, datacenter, cpu, amd
AMD announced new server processors on Monday based on the same Piledriver architecture used in the Trinity APUs and Vishera desktop CPUs we recently reviewed. With the release of the Opteron 6300 series, AMD is bringing Piledriver to the server room.
The new chips – similar to the desktop counterparts – bring several performance improvements over the previous generation 6200 series Opterons based on the Bulldozer architecture. AMD is positioning the chips as a upgrade path to existing servers and on merits of performance-per-dollar efficiency. As is AMD's fashion, the new chips are competitively priced and "good enough" performance-wise. With 6300, AMD has stated the goal is to reduce the TCO, or Total Cost of Ownership for servers used in data centers, supercomputers, and enterprises by being compatible with existing AMD server platforms with a BIOS upgrade and representing efficiency improvements over previous chips.
The Opteron 6300 series CPUs themselves build upon the Vishera desktop parts by adding more cores and more L3 cache. The server parts will have up to 16 cores clocked at 2.8GHz base and 3.2GHz turbo. They will have TDP ratings between 85W and 140W and will feature prices from $500 to $1,400. On the cache front, the chips have a 16KB L1 data cache per core, 64KB L1 instruction cache per module, 1MB L2 cache per core, and a shared 16MB cache per socket. AMD has included a quad channel memory controller that supports DDR3 up to 1866 MHz and 1.5TB per server in 4P configurations. AMD has rounded out the chips with four x16 HyperTransport 3.0 links rated at 6.4 GT/s per link. Up to 4 processors per server will be supported, which means a maximum of 64 cores.
With Piledriver, AMD added a number of new instructions including FMA3, BMI, and F16c. The company has also implemented server tweaks to the Bulldozer design to improve branch prediction, instructions per clock, scheduling, and reduced the power draw at higher clockspeeds allowing for the chps to clock higher while staying within the same power envelope of the Bulldozer-based Opteron 6200 series.
AMD is using the same socket as the 6200 series processors, and the new chips can be deployed as an upgrade to the old servers without needing a new motherboard.
When pitting the new Opteron 6380 to the previous-generation 6278, AMD is claiming a number of performance increases, including a 24-percent and 40-percent improvement in SPECjob2005 and SPECpower_ssj2008 respectively.
Further, the company is claiming competitive performance in server workloads with the Intel competition. AMD offers up benchmarks showing the Opteron 6380 and Xeon E5-2690 trading wins, with the AMD part being slower in the STREAM benchmark, but being slightly faster in LAMPS and NAMD. The allure of the Opteron, according to AMD is that the AMD part is almost half the price of the Intel processor, and is hoping the lower priced parts will encourage adoption. AMD argues that the money saved could easily go towards more RAM or more storage (or simply be saved of course).
The company has announced that its first major design win is Big Red II supercomputer at Indiana University. Built by Cray, the Big Red II will feature 21,000+ Opteron 6300-series CPU cores paired with NVIDIA GPUs. It represents a massive increase in computing power over IU’s previous Big Red supercomputer with 4,100 CPU cores, and will be used for medical, physics, chemistry, and climate research. Beyond that, AMD has stated more that 30 hardware vendors are slated to introduce servers based on the new Piledriver-based Opteron processors including HP, Dell, Cray, SGI, Supermicro, Sugon, and (of course) SeaMicro. On the software side of things, AMD is working with Microsoft, VMware, Xen, Red Hat, and Openstack. The company also stated that it is leaning on the experience and knowledge gained from the HSA Foundation to improve software support and guide the future direction of Opteron development.
The Opteron 6300 series is an interesting release that brings several improvements to the company’s server chip offerings. At launch, there are 10 processors to choose from, ranging from the quad core 6308 clocked at 3.5GHz for $501 to the top-end 6386 SE with 16 cores (2.8GHz base, 3.5GHz max turbo) and a $1,392 price tag. The 6366HE is an interesting part as well. It is the same price as the 12-core, 115W TDP Opteron 6348, but its has 16 lower-clocked cores and an 85W TDP. With the non-HE edition processors with 16 cores starting at $703, the 6366HE for $575 is a decent deal if you need multi-threading more than a fewer number of higher clocked cores.
Another bit that I found intriguing is that in a few years, AMD will (likely, if all goes according to plan) be offering processors for just about every type of server. They will have low cost, low power ARM Cortex-A57 based chips, Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) well suited to mixed workloads including GPU-accelerated tasks, and CPU-only chips with lots of traditional x86-64 cores. It seems that Intel will continue to hold the high end on pure performance, but AMD and its SeaMicro server division have not given up competing in the server room by a long shot.
The Piledrive architecture and Vishera desktop CPU review and The future of AMD: Vishera and Beyond at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2012 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: virtualization, Seoul, seamicro, opteron, Delhi, amd, Abu Dhabi
AMD recently compared the cost per virtual machine of two eight-core 2.9GHz Xeon E5-2690 processors with 256GB in each node against servers with two 16-core 2.7GHz Opteron 6284SE and only 128GB per node. Hyperthreading was enabled on the Intel machines so each box presented 64 threads to the VMmark test you can see below. AMD is hoping to highlight the difference in pricing, while they may perform about 25% slower than an Intel based server, they cost 30% less to purchase, which in racks costing $10,000 or more will add up to some significant savings. As well The Register talks about the future of AMD's servers, we know that the Abu Dhabi Opteron 6300s for two-socket and four-socket machines, the Seoul Opteron 4300s for two-socket and single-socket machines, and the Delhi Opteron 3300s for single-socket boxes will arrive staggered throughout this year and next, offering some new hope for AMD's processing power. They also touch on Seamicro and the interconnect technology AMD purchased which could see next generation Opterons working with FirePro cards to really start to offer something new from AMD which could be a big jump in performance compared to their current server offerings.
"It is not as much fun to be in the server part of Advanced Micro Devices these days, with Intel surging in the server racket and expanding out to switching and storage with its Xeon processors and Intel more or less counting the substantial innovations that AMD's engineers crafted for the Opterons a decade ago. The good news if you like a good fight is that there is a whole new management and engineering team at AMD now, and they not only understand that AMD has to do some serious innovating, but they are itching for the fight."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Disable Java NOW, users told, as 0-day exploit hits web @ The Register
- Kingston launches enterprise SSDNow E100 drives @ The Inquirer
- AMD launches four TFLOPS Firepro S9000 accelerator @ The Inquirer
- Soft robots given veins the let them change their stripes @ Hack a Day
- Follow Our Live Coverage from LinuxCon and CloudOpen @ Linux.com
- Win The New iPad! @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2011 - 12:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xeon e5, xeon, servers, opteron, knights ferry, knights corner, interlagos, hp, dell, bulldozer, acer
As you would expect, no sooner does AMD release news on its new line of Bulldozer era Opterons, Intel follows suit with news on their next generation of server chips. AMD hit the news and the server room first thanks to interest shown by Dell, HP and Acer. These vendors have based a series of 2U servers on AMD's new chip as well as a family of blade servers. Dell's Poweredge C6145 was probably the most ambitious, with 4 sockets you can have 128 cores and 1TB of DDR3 in a 2U rack mount server and FusionIO was suggesting the inclusion of their 1.2TB Iodrive Duo card to ensure your storage media can keep up.
Intel also spoke with The Inquirer and other news sites about their new Xeon E5 processor family as well as providing more information about Knights Bridge. Intel has reached out to a different set of clients for the new Xeon, focusing on NVIDIA's latest target market of High Performance Computing (that HPC acronym you see hanging around Fermi). They tout over 10,000 chips sold, some of which are sitting pretty in the TOP500. Also on display was their Knights Ferry accelerator board, again targeted for the HPC crowd that NVIDIA has been courting.
So this processor generation we have Intel and NVIDIA fighting it out for HPC customers, while AMD seems to be without major competition in high density computing, although ARM has certainly been making inroads into that market.
"AMD's partners have shown a small but impressive array of Bulldozer Opteron kit. Dell's 2U eight socket beast was arguably the most impressive of the lot on show in Munich, but AMD will know it needs more than just one vendor in its fight against Intel. Thankfully it has the might of HP also showing that its traditional rackmount and blade servers can make use of AMD's Bulldozer silicon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD kills Wichita and Krishna @ SemiAccurate
- Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing @ Slashdot
- CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit" @ Slashdot
- Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it @ The Register
- Making aerogel at home @ Hack a Day
- HP unveils business ultrabook @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft moving embedded systems to Windows 8 @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- Griffin Helo TC RC Helicopter Review @ TechwareLabs
- TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2011
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 1 @ AnandTech
- Real World Labs And Cooler Master Joint Contest
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 21, 2011 - 02:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: magny cours, opteron, 2U
Bay Reviews got their hands on Thermaltake's CLS0017 CPU cooler for Socket G34 processors, specifically designed for 2U cases with multiple physical CPUs. Right off the bat the 70mm fan says a lot about how little heat the Opteron 6100 series CPUs produce compared to enthusiast parts. Most users are not going to be satisfied with that which is why they also tried the FrozenCPU 70mm to 120mm Blue UV Reactive Fan Adapter so you can get better cooling at the cost of increased size. Check out their review here.
"With the pending release of the 16 core AMD Opteron Interlagos processor, now is definitely the time to consider building a new dual CPU workstation. Until recently, the only problem for computer enthusiasts was finding a reliable CPU cooler for these elite AMD 6100 series processors.
Thanks to the Thermaltake CLS0017 CPU cooler, the wait is finally over. What are the peak AMD 6128 CPU temperatures that you can expect from the Thermaltake CLS0017? What sort of upgrade options are there for the 70MM fan? Read On To Find Out!"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- NZXT HAVIK 140 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Lamptron Fan Controller FC5V2 Review @ Madshrimps
- NZXT Phantom Case Review @ Ninjalane
- NZXT H2 Classic Silent Midtower @ Hardwareoverclock
- AZZA Toledo 301 ATX Mid Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- NZXT Sentry Mesh @ Bjorn3D
- Thermaltake Level 10GT Case @ Rbmods
- Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Fractal Design Define R3 PC Case Review @ Real World Labs
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:38 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opteron, interlagos, bulldozer, amd
It might just be that the ISC is the perfect place to show off their new chip or it may have been Intel's displaying of the 50 core Knights Corner silicon yesterday; whatever triggered it we finally get a look at AMD's Bulldozer. A 1U server by Supermicro contained two 16-core Bulldozer chips though other vendors are claiming to be able to fit a 4 socket system in the same size case. Those sweet talking wonks over at The Inquirer not only talked their way into getting a few photos of the system they were even allowed to fondle it, which revealed heatsinks that were cool enough to touch even when running POVRay which lends credence to the idea of 4 CPUs, or 64 cores, in a 1U box. We are still looking at Q3 for a release of the new Opteron architecture, with no news at all as to AMD's plans to turn that architecture into an APU in a later generation of chips.
What a little chutzpah gets you
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD chose the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) to finally demonstrate a working Bulldozer system.
At AMD's ISC stand one could find several 2U and 4U servers built with older Opteron chips, but it was a 1U pizza box server made by Supermicro that housed two 16-core Bulldozer chips running live demonstrations of POVRay. This is the first time that AMD has publicly displayed its next generation Opteron processor, codenamed Bulldozer."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 13-Year-Old Password Security Bug Fixed @ Slashdot
- McAfee announces Wavesecure security software @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft could buy RIM @ The Inquirer
- Intel to launch Ivy Bridge in March 2012 @ DigiTimes
- Google revives TV buzz with SageTV buy @ The Register
- Google bypasses admin controls with latest Chrome IE @ The Register
- Resistive memory: how small can you go? @ NanotechWeb
Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2011 - 11:51 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, coreboot, uefi, bios, embedded, llano, opteron, s3
A lot of attention is being paid to UEFI, the new graphical BIOS replacement that not only lets you utilize 2TB+ drives as a boot device but will give you mouse control over the games that come integrated with your settings. It does offer quite a few advantages over the old BIOS but adds complexity as well. AMD has gone a different route with their Opteron series with Coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS) a different way of initializing a computer. It does a very minimal hardware initialization and then moves into what is called a payload, which contains the familiar abilities of the BIOS but not integrated directly into the hardware initialization in any way. This is far more useful for server and embedded applications than the latest ROG board, which is why embedded Llano will be receiving support and why Opteron already does. Follow the links from The Inquirer for more.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced that its upcoming Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will support Coreboot.
AMD has been pushing development the BIOS replacement initiative Coreboot for many years but has focused on getting support for its embedded and server processors. Now the company has come out and said that all of its future processors will support Coreboot, from Llano onwards."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- WebGL in Chrome and Firefox is a serious security risk @ The Inquirer
- Worried about data caps? Here's how to check your usage @ Ars Technica
- Boffins develop method of driving computers insane @ The Register
- AMD's FM1 desktop test board pictured @ VR-Zone
- New Gigabyte board spotted at eTeknix HQ @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 pictures @ VR-Zone
- Essential Windows 7 Tweaks: Part 3 @ Computing on Demand
- Blackberry App World is finally here @ t-break
- Roccat Apuri Review @ t-break
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