updated 12:40 am EST, Thu November 13, 2008
AMD releases Shanghai'
AMD has taken the wraps off it's 45nm quad-core 'Shanghai' Opteron processor line", promising improved performance and energy savings. The company says "Shanghai" will be widely available -- unlike its predecessor "Barcelona" which was delayed for months due to production glitches. Designed for the server and workstation market, Shanghai reportedly delivers up to 35 percent better performance while using 35 percent less power at idle -- all at a lower price than competing products from Intel. As it continues to duke it out with Intel, AMD appears to be aiming at the bottom line, hoping to lure recession-weary customers looking for value.
AMD says improved design methods, such as 45nm immersion lithography technology, led to higher clock speeds ranging from 2.3 to 2.7GHz. Other new features include support for DDR2-800Mhz memory, and a larger 6MB Level 3 cache. The company says its streamlined manufacturing process has laid the foundation for further improvements due early next year, including enhanced Direct Connect Architecture with coherent HyperTransport 3.0, providing up to 17.6GB per second of bandwidth for processor-to-processor communication.
Shangai includes new energy-saving features "Smart Fetch" which temporarily shuts down cores during idle time with what the company claims is "zero impact on application performance or data already in the cache." AMD's CoolCore technology -- which shuts down unused sections within each core -- has been extended to the Level 3 cache, so that parts of the cache can be turned off independently to save power.
The company says virtual machine users will notice significantly faster "world switch" time and improved hardware-based virtual memory management. Since Shanghai uses the same "F" socket as its predecessor, AMD says the cost of upgrading is reduced. The next generation "Istanbul" processors will also use the Socket 1207 architecture
AMD says the 75-watt quad-core Shanghai models are now available, with the 55-watt Opteron HE, and 105-watt SE models available in the first quarter of 2009. The company also provided hints about similar upgrade to its desktop line. Due early next year, the 45nm "Dragon" platform will replace the current "Spider" line released earlier this year.