AMD has introduced a new line of Opteron processors, updating the high-end server chips with its latest Piledriver core design to deliver more performance within the same power budget.
Available immediately, the Opteron 6300 processors effectively supersede the current Opteron 6200 parts, but are capable of up to 40 per cent greater performance per watt thanks to the Piledriver core, first introduced earlier this year in AMD's mobile A-Series APU.
Like the existing chips, the Opteron 6300 processors are available with up to 16 cores and target two or four-socket server systems that meet the requirements for cloud computing and enterprise customers with highly virtualised datacentre environments.
However, the new processors fit the same chip socket and the same 85W to 140W power envelope of their predecessors, which means that customers should be able to upgrade existing servers.
Meanwhile, vendors such as Dell and HP, which already ship Opteron 6200 systems, should be able to offer configurations of these with the new chips almost immediately.
Aside from the Piledriver core, which offers more instructions per clock (IPC) and can therefore do more work at the same clock speed, the Operon 6300 also bumps up the clock to support higher base speeds of 3.5GHz for some models.
The Opteron 6300 is also capable of supporting DDR3 memory at up to 1,866MHz, and with its four memory channels, a four-socket system can be configured with up to 1.5TB of memory.
"Customers who need that sort of memory capacity will be those with really heavy workloads, such as high density consolidation through virtualisation and the heaviest database type applications," said Michael Detwiler, server product marketing manager at AMD.
However, AMD is also pushing the economic case for its Opteron 6300, citing benchmarks that indicate that a system running its Opteron model 6380 is comparable in performance to one based on Intel's Xeon E5-2690 chip, while the AMD processor costs barely half as much.
"We've designed it for driving down the datacentre total cost of ownership," added Detwiler.
At launch, the top-end chip in AMD's new line-up is the Opteron 6386 SE, which runs 16 cores and is clocked at 2.8GHz, for a price of $1,392. However, the highest clock speed is available on the Opteron 6308, which has just four cores but is clocked at 3.5GHz for a price of $501.
The move comes a week after AMD announced it was preparing to ship an ARM-based server platform. However, AMD said that x86 server chips such as the Opteron are not going away and the ARM platform will target different workloads.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.