AMD launches six-core chip

AMD has launched six-core Opteron chips, the fastest server chips the company has released to date.

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AMD has launched six-core Opteron chips, the fastest server chips the company has released to date.

Until now, AMD offered only quad-core server processors, with the fastest being Opteron chips code-named Shanghai.

The new six-core chips, code-named Istanbul, will offer 30 percent faster performance while drawing the same amount of power as Shanghai chips, said Brent Kerby, product marketing manager for AMD's server workstation group.

AMD is in a race with chip rival Intel to put more cores on processors to improve chip performance while drawing less power.

Officials from Intel, which already offers quad-core Xeon server processors, last week detailed their upcoming eight-core Nehalem EX server processors, due in 2010. But by the time Intel ships Nehalem EX, AMD will be ready with its 12-core chip code-named Magny-Cours.

AMD is releasing five Istanbul chips that run at speeds of up to 2.6GHz and draw up to 75 watts of power during average CPU usage. Two chips will be part of Opteron 8000 series of chips, while three will be part of the Opteron 2000 series of chips. The chips will include 6MB of L3 cache and 512KB of L2 cache per core.

Istanbul chips will go into servers with up to eight sockets, which could bring the processing power of 48 cores. The chips will plug into existing servers that already have AMD's server processors, Kerby said.

Upgrading a server would simply require replacing existing CPUs with Istanbul chips, which could reduce the hardware acquisition costs.

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