AMD Bulldozer 16-core server CPUs "trounce" Intel Xeon

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - November 15, 2011.

AMD (NYSE:AMD) has launched its new server CPU chips, some of which offer a whopping 16 cores -- or, at least, 16 threads. The Opteron 6200-series "Interlagos" and 4200-series "Valencia" products are supposedly better, faster, cheaper, and/or lower-power than the Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Xeon equivalents, thanks to AMD's "Bulldozer" architecture. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers feel the need... the need for speed.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: 55 Synonyms for “Criticize”...

    Agam Shah reports:

The new Opteron 6200 chips, code-named Interlagos, are 25% to 30% faster than their predecessors. ... The processors are based on AMD's new chip design called Bulldozer. ... The chips draw between 85 watts and 140 watts of power and will plug into existing server sockets.


The processors are for heavily threaded and virtualized server environments. ... The Bulldozer architecture mixes the CPU with integer units and a shared floating point...[and] include Turbo Core technology, which can increase clock speed by...up to 1GHz on some cores.


AMD also announced the availability of Opteron 4200...with between six and eight cores...priced between $125 and $377...for dense server environments with low-power consumption.   

   Ian King adds:

[They are] priced between $125 and $1,019 per chip, said Patrick Patla, general manager of the server that they will provide 55 percent more performance than Intel equivalents.


Some of the new AMD chips will draw as little as 5 watts per processing core, making them ideal for [big data centers].   

Paul Venezia is not in peril:

If that's not progress, I don't know what is. ... Interlagos promises to bring unbeatable price-performance to heavily multithreaded workloads. ... It costs considerably less than its closest Intel counterparts.


Each [pair of cores share] FPU, fetch, decode, and execute units. ... It's not quite the same as having 16 completely independent cores. ... One definite the addition of the AES-NI instructions that dramatically reduce computation times for AES encryption.


One casualty of the architecture changes is that several operating systems simply will not run. ... These include Windows Server 2003 prior to R2 SP2; RHEL [through] 5.6, and RHEL 6.0; Novell SLES 10 through SP3 and SLES 11; and any Linux...2.6.31 kernel or earlier...includ[ing] VMware ESX 3.5 and VMware ESX 4.0 through 4.1u1.   

Eric Smalley mops up the details:

Each integer unit has four pipelines, and each floating-point unit has two floating-point processors. ... AMD claims an 84 percent performance advantage over Intel’s comparable Xeon.


The processor has a couple of power-related features that should at least get a look. ... One is a mode where modules...power down if they’ve been idle for a certain number of cycles. ... The other is a way to set the processor’s maximum power consumption...down to single watts. This gives data center operators the flexibility to increase the number of servers...within a given power budget.


So long as the Opteron processors are competitive, AMD is likely to have a shot at relevancy, if for no other reason than the industry’s need to keep Intel honest.   

And Sean Gallagher looks ahead, down the low road:

AMD['s]...upcoming addition to the Opteron targeted at hosting companies and big cloud service providers for..."micro-servers" and other applications. It designed to work with more desktop-like components—allowing AMD to take on Atom-based and ARM-based servers.   

And Finally...
55 Synonyms for “Criticize”

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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