updated 06:25 pm EDT, Wed April 22, 2009
AMD Opteron Roadmap
Marking thh sixth-anniversary of the Opteron processor, AMD has outlined its future server architecture and its dual-path roadmap that will focus on both developing low-power processors as well as performance on a platform level. Having introduced its Opteron EE processor on Wednesday morning, says its next-generation "Istanbul" processors are now expected to ship in May and its "Magny-Cours" processors due in the first quarter of 2010. AMD promised that the "Istanbul" will be compatible will existing processor sockets but that "Magny-Cours" features a new format known as Direct Connect Architecture 2.0. In 2011, the company expects that it will deliver Opteron chips codenamed "Interlagos" with 16 cores on its high-end "Maranello" platform.
"Istanbul" is due in shipping systems for June and has a native six-core design that may produce up to 30 percent more performance at the same thermal envelope and power consumption, according to AMD. The company continues to focus on price over performance, but does note that some of its four-core processors outpace competitors' (i.e. Intel's) six-core systems and expect that same level of performance in its six-core processors. Like the new 40w Opteron EE (and other chips) introduced today, the "Istanbul" processors will feature full support for HyperTransport 3 and offer the full gamut of features across its EE, HE, Standard, and SE lines rather than strip out some technology in lower-end chips as Intel periodically does.
Looking ahead to 2010, AMD said that the new Direct Connect Architecture 2.0 will not only support 12 cores -- three times as is about to ship from AMD -- but will also bring twice as many memory channels, three times the current memory speeds, nearly twice the HyperTransport bandwidth (4 links), and more than twice the cache. According to AMD, the upcoming DCA 2.0 architecture will bring the biggest absolute performance-per-watt increase in the history of its Opteron chips. AMD's expects a similar performance increase when it ships its 16-core "Interlagos" chips in 2011.
AMD's server platform will feature a split roadmap with the AMD Opteron 6000 series using the "Maranello" platform with the G34 socket and the 4000 series Platform running on the "San Marino" platform (with the C32 socket). The performance- and expansion-focused 6000 series will initially feature the 2-way and 4-way G34-based systems using the "Magny-Cours" chip, four channels of registered or unregistered DDR3 memory, and up to 12 DIMMs per socket, while the 4000 Series will focus on power-efficiency and cost with 1- and 2-way C32-based systems using "Lisbon" chips. The company said that 12-core "Magny-Cours" chips will launch in the first quarter of next year, as partners are already sampling the product.
Both Magny Cours and Lisbon chips will use the 45 nanometer (nm) manufacturing process, while its next generation "Interlagos" for "Maranello" will use a 32nm process and feature between 12 and 16 cores. "Valencia," designed for the 4000 series "San Marino" platform, will also use the 32nm process, but only feature 6- and 8-core chips. During the presentation, the company also officially unveiled "Bulldozer," its next-generation chip architecture that is expected in 2011, but didn't offer any additional details.
The 6000 series will be geared for high-performance virtualization and database environments in servers and thus will only be available with SE (special edition), Standard, and HE parts, while its 4000 series will be designed for lighter-duty servers as well as HPC (high performance computing) clusters with many server nodes. The 4000 series will also include the EE part introduced today and maintain a continued focus on performance-per-watt.