AMD has announced the latest updates to its Opteron family, including its first six-core processor, and outlined its roadmap up to 2012.
John Fruehe, the firm's business development manager for servers and workstations, said the six-core Opteron chip, codenamed Istanbul, would launch in June, "months ahead of schedule".
Fruehe said the chip maker's first six-core processor would deliver " significantly more power per watts" than existing platforms. Istanbul is pitched at firms running multi-threaded applications, outperforming the company's own Shanghai server processors in this area, Fruehe explained.
It is also the first system to be built by AMD's new Global Foundries business.
Looking further ahead, Fruehe said AMD plans to introduce the second version of the Direct Connect Architecture (DCA) used in its Opteron chips in 2010. DCA 2.0 will enable processors with up to 12 cores initially, and "even more in the future", he said.
DCA 2.0 will enable this through four separate channels of integrated memory up from three in current chips. AMD said the processors will be offered on a usage-based pricing model. Fruehe added that the ability to run more virtual machines per server would be a major selling point of this platform.
AMD aims to create a consistent set of features across its product families. Fruehe promised that by 2010, "all our feature sets, and their capabilities, will be available and consistent across all of our products", saving network managers a lot of administration and support in the datacentre.
Next year will see the addition of two new Opteron lines, with the 6000 and 4000 joining the existing 1000, 2000 and 4000 series.
The Opteron 6000, designed for a server platform codenamed Maranello, will initially be made up of 45nm chips codenamed Magny-Cours with 8 to 12 cores. The year after, 32nm chips codenamed Interlagos will be added with 12 to 16 cores.
The Opteron 4000 series will follow the same timeline, with 45nm chips codenamed Lisbon having 4 to 6 cores going into the San Marino server platform, followed later by 32nm Valencia chips with 6 to 8 cores.
In 2012 both of these platforms will be added to with as-yet-unnamed next generation server chips, Fruehe said.
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