AMD 6-Core Opteron Demo

February 22, 2009

Chris Tom at AMD Zone let us know about a recent demo of a quad-socket, 6-core Opteron (code name “Istanbul”) running Windows Server 2008 and three virtual machines. The demonstration is a great example of how extendable socket “F” systems are and how, with a simple BIOS update and processor swap, your favorite hypervisor can add 50% more threads and capabilities.

The trick gets even better when you stay in the same power envelope. One of the biggest issues curbing adoption of the Intel 6-core Xeon has been its enormous power consumption. The Opteron “Shanghai” series (45nm) has proved to boost performance per watt considerably, so it is safe to assume a significant gain for “Istanbul” against Xeon in 6-core performance as well. This is already evident in current virtualization benchmarks where 16-core Shanghai systems best 24-core Xeons in head-to-head comparisons with VMware ESX Server 3.5.

That’s right, dual-socket systems will expand to 12-cores, 4-socket systems 24-cores and 8-socket systems top-out at 48-cores: that’s tasty virtualization goodness! In addition to scaling cores, systems with the ability to take advantage of HyperTransport 3 will get a boost, according to the TechReport article cited in Chris’ blog.

For companies investing in AMD Eco-Systems, this news is a significant milestone that stretches-out your platform investment by another 12-18 months. This again shows the excellent value provided by AMD’s “stable image” and related “validated server” platforms where system longevity is by design not by accident.

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