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AMD and Intel Show off New Server CPUs

by on16 November 2011 1248 times

serversAt Supercomputing 2011 both Intel and AMD showed off their latest in HPC (High Performance Computing). From AMD we got a look at their new Bulldozer based. These new CPUs will ship in 8 and 16-core varieties. The 16-core flavor called the Opteron 6200 will also have four memory channels (like the Intel 3960X), 1MB of cache per core (level 2), and will top out at 3.3GHz. The 8-Core version will be the Opteron 4200 and will only have two memory channels, but will still have 1MB of L2 cache per core and a top clock speed of 3.3GHz.

While these new CPUs are based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture and will carry over some of the features from that lineup (like Turbo Boost and Socket Compatibility) they will have some new features that will not be found in the desktop flavors. One of these is the number of Hypertransport links; the 6200 will have four x16 links that run at the same speed as the CPU while the 4200 will only have three.

The two will have a TDP from 85W to 140W for the 6200 and from 35W to 95W for the 4200. These ranges are not that bad at all and if the memory performance can be worked out (or is already worked out) then these might actually be able to compete with Intel in the server market. Pricing will be comparable as well with the top of the line 6282 running at around $1020 per proc, if you buy 1,000 of them.

On the Intel side of the house they were showing off their new Xeon E5 processor which will have a PCIe generation 3 controller built into the CPU. However this is not a full launch as the Xeon E5 is not quite ready for sale yet, but that is ok as neither was the other piece of hardware that was being shown off. This was their Knights Ferry acceleration board. This board is Intel’s answer to the growing popularity of GPGPU computing.  The board, if Intel’s claims are to be believed, can hit over 1 TeraFlops (on trillion floating point operations per second) and will be built on a 22nm process. Other details are a little less clear including a mention that it will have more than 50 cores (anyone having a Larrabee flashback?).

Not surprisingly Intel was showing off RAW power and performance while AMD was keeping to their recent “we are more economical and power efficient” the funny thing is that both sides do fill important places in the market. If you are building a large virtual infrastructure and your primary client have lower performance demands (web servers, etc) then the AMD server CPU might be the better choice. On the other hand if you need extra horse power from your CPUs then you will probably want to stick to Intel for the time being.

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