updated 02:55 pm EDT, Mon March 29, 2010
AMD Opteron 6000 series takes on six-core Xeon
AMD scored a key victory in processors today by launching the Opteron 6000 series. The members of the Magny-Cours family are the first using the x86 architecture to ship with either eight or 12 cores and can handle many more tasks at once than previous processors. A 12-core example can be twice as fast as the previous six-core Opteron and fend off Intel's six-core Xeon 5600.
The 6000 is simultaneously much less expensive and potentially even faster in practice, the company argued. A four-socket Opteron system should cost 10 percent less than a two-socket Xeon 5600 but can run roughly twice as quickly when every core is active. AMD pitches the concept as particularly ideal for servers where massively parallel tasks are important, especially since 50 percent more bandwidth should be available.
A full 10 processors join the list and scale widely in speed, ranging from the 1.8GHz, quad-core Opteron 6124 HE designed for low-power servers to the 2.3GHz six-core 6176 SE. Each version has 12MB of Level 3 cache and supports up to 256GB of RAM across 24 slots.
All of the processors should be available today and will usually be found in servers from Dell, HP, SGI and other large-scale builders.