AMD has expanded its Opteron server lineup with new chips designed for cloud-based services like Facebook and Amazon, which call for large volumes of high-density energy-efficient systems to serve the ever-growing data needs of mobile devices.
Available immediately, the Opteron X-Series is styled as the highest performance small-core x86 processor on the market, competing directly against Intel's Atom S1200 chips. Like the Atom, the Opteron X-Series is set to be delivered in HP's Moonshot servers as well as AMD's own SeaMicro Fabric Compute systems.
However, the Opteron X-Series is all quad-core, delivering twice the performance of the Atom at the same clock speed for single-threaded workloads, according to AMD. It also supports up to 32GB of memory, four times that of Intel's microserver chip.
Those cores are also AMD's next-generation Jaguar architecture, as seen on the AMD 2013 mobility platforms that the chipmaker introduced last week.
The first versions available are the X1150 CPU and the X2150 APU. The latter also integrates an AMD Radeon 8000 GPU with 128 cores, enabling it to handle highly parallel workloads such as offloading video decoding from client systems.
AMD's new chips are similar to Intel's Atom chips in power consumption and price. The 9W X1150 is clocked at up to 2GHz and will cost $64 in volume, while the 11W X2150 is clocked at up to 1.9GHz and costs up to $99 in volume. However, AMD points out that its chips have twice the number of cores.
The new Opteron parts will enable AMD to target "a vast array of the fastest growing workloads," according to Andrew Feldman, head of AMD's Data Center Server Solutions team and former chief executive of SeaMicro before AMD acquired it last year.
"A fundamental shift is taking place away from some types of workloads and towards other workloads. Workloads in the data centre used to be heavily computational. It used to be big hard problems, but right now the big driver is for highly parallelised modest-sized problems that suit low-power 2P servers," Feldman said.
"Portable devices like tablets and smartphones essentially present information that is computed elsewhere, and that is the underlying driver for server growth," he added.
The Opteron X-Series is "not good for heavy compute workloads like CAD/CAM," Feldman explained, but it is ideally suited for hosting, driving virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Hadoop deployments and handling object storage.
Feldman showed sample Opteron X-Series motherboards that meet the Open Compute specifications, with the implication that the chips will soon be finding their way into data centres that have adopted servers based on this platform.
AMD also hinted that the Opteron X-Series could be found in some workstations or other client systems. Both the initial models are system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs that integrate I/O including PCI Express, Serial ATA and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.
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