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AMD touts performance and power gains with mid-range Piledriver-based Opterons

04 Dec 2012
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Chip maker AMD has worked down its Piledriver architecture to its mid-range Opteron 3300 and 4300 series processors, driving up performance while cutting power consumption.

AMD's Piledriver Opterons made their debut last month in the firm's high-end 6300 series chips that sport up to 16 cores. Now the firm has released four, six and eight-core Opteron 3300 and Opteron 4300 series processors based on its latest architecture.

AMD claims significant performance and power consumption improvements over its previous Bulldozer generation. Given AMD's aggressive pricing strategy, and armed with thermal design power (TDP) figures to back their claims, the new processors may appeal to its larger customers.

The firm has priced the cheapest quad-core Opteron 3320 EE that runs at 2.8GHz boosted to 3.8GHz at $125, but most importantly achieved a TDP of 45W, with a lower clocked version available that uses just 25W.

Most of AMD's Opteron 4300 series lineup are six- and eight-core chips with prices ranging from $191 for the Opteron 4334 to $501 for the eight-core Opteron 4376 HE that is clocked at 2.6GHz and boosted to 3.6GHz with a TDP of 65W.

The firm is pitching the chips at cloud server providers and given the focus on core count and chips with TDPs less than 45W it is not surprising.

AMD's Opteron 3300 series chips have one 16x Hypertransport link rated at 5.2 gigatransfers/s and support four DIMMs per processor with up to 32GB of addressable RAM. The firm's Opteron 4300 series chips support six DIMMs per processor and up to 192GB of memory with two 16x Hypertransport links rated at 6.4 gigatransfers/s.

As with AMD's other Piledriver processors, the Opteron 3300 and 4300 series chips are drop-in replacements, meaning those using the first generation Bulldozer processors do not have to change servers, mainboards or cooling to accommodate AMD's latest chip models.

The firm touts hypervisor support from Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat and VMWare, while operating system support includes Microsoft's Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Suse Enterprise Linux.

While AMD's Bulldozer and Piledriver architectures have failed to set the consumer market on fire, the architecture is better suited to server workloads. The ability for customers to divide four cores into four virtual machines and consume just 25W to 45W to run all four images can be particularly attractive when it comes to pleasing the bean counters.

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