AMD has extended its Opteron processor line-up with new energy-efficient chips fitting within a 40W power envelope, aimed at high-density environments such as cloud computing. The firm has also added faster speed grades to its existing power bands.
Available immediately, the new Opteron EE chips extend AMD's quad-core processors for workstations and servers based on its Shanghai architecture, which are already available in HE (55W), standard (75W), and high-performance SE (105W) power bands.
AMD said the new Opterons are designed for very dense datacentre environments where custom-built servers often have two motherboards crammed into a single 1U rack-mount chassis. In such scenarios, power efficiency is paramount to avoid heat issues, according to the firm.
"The industry is demanding more and more energy savings, and we believe we now have the lowest quad-core x86 server power band at 40W ACP [Average CPU Power]," said John Fruehe, AMD's worldwide business development manager.
AMD uses ACP to rate the efficiency of its chips, which specifies the average power consumption while handling typical workloads.
Fruehe said that there is a lot of interest in cloud computing, which many analysts expect to be a fast-growing segment of the industry this year. However, "datacentres are running out of power sooner than floor space", he added, hence the need for more energy-efficient processors.
The EE chips have the same features as all other Shanghai Opterons and are not cut-down versions.
"We believe customers do not want compromise, they want all the features across all the power bands," Fruehe said.
The first Opteron EE chips are the 2.3GHz Model 2377 and the 2.1GHz Model 2373, aimed at dual-socket systems. AMD said these chips offer a 62 per cent increase in performance per watt compared with its earlier Barcelona quad-core Opterons.
AMD also introduced new 2.5GHz and 2.4GHz Opteron HE chips, while the standard Opterons now include 2.9GHz and 2.8GHz versions. A new top-end Opteron SE runs at 3.1GHz. All these latter chips are available in versions for two-socket systems and four-socket and above.
Meanwhile, the power-saving features found in the Shanghai Opterons will now collectively be known under a new AMD-P Suite label. These include Smart Fetch caching, the Power Cap technology that lets customers set a maximum performance level to control power consumption, and CoolCore technology that turns off parts of the processor that are not being used.
The name has been chosen to follow the AMD-V Suite of features that support virtualisation, the company said.
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