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AMD ships first eight-core, 12-core x86 server chips

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.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. jslove

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007


    Article has editing errors

    According to AMD's web site, the 6176 has 12 cores, not 6. It does not make sense to compare 4-socket Opteron systems with 2-socket Xeon systems, at least if the sockets are for processor chips rather than support chips. It should be the other way around, comparing 2-sockets Opterons with twice as many cores per socket against four sockets of Intel Xeons. No justification is offered for AMD systems being twice as fast as Intel systems if they are configured with a similar aggregate core count, though it is plausible that a system with twice as many cores might be twice as fast with some workloads. The whole article is confusing.

    Please fix the article and delete this comment.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004



    they can compare anything they want to anything else they want, jslove.

    As a practical matter many companies do purchase "sockets" so they have plans for a two socket system, or a 4 socket system.

    Whether that is logical or not, depends, but take Oracle. If you have a Standard Edition One License, that is limited to a 2 socket system. No core count is applied on SE One.

    So, with two 12 core processors, you could have a 24 core system, and pay for the Standard Edition One License. That gives AMD a huge competitive advantage over Intel.

    However, if you switch to Enterprise Edition version of Oracle, that is per core. 2 cores = 1 cpu. Now, even if you buy the smallest system you can imagine: that same two socket system, you are now going to pay for 12 processor licenses with this 24 core system. OUCH...hugely expensive.

    Now say you actually need 24 cores for your really high end system - well given that most of the cost is in the license, you'd want each individual core to be as fast as possible - no extra licensing based on the processors real world performance - in that case, advantage Intel.

    I would be hugely interested in these AMD systems for two socket Standard Edition One installations. I'm still more interested in Intel, for Enterprise Edition installations.

  1. bigjimid

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009



    jslove - I know what you're saying and I agree with you, but when it comes down to it, getting more for less is always beneficial. Especially when you need things in high volume. So if AMD can sell a system that out handles Intel's by double, and costs 10% less, then I'd say they are on the right track.

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