AMD Unveils New Opterons in White Boxes

AMD Monday released several new versions of its Opteron server processor along with a new white box partnership to distribute them.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor debuted new 800-series server chips for 4-way and 8-way servers and new 100 Series processors for 1-way servers and workstations.

With the Opteron and anticipated Athlon-64 launch this year, AMD has tweaked the way it numbers its processors based on more on the chip’s attributes.

The new chips join the Opteron processor 200 Series launched in April 2003. AMD designed its 64-bit Opteron processors with backward compatibility with 32-bit applications. The chips come with an integrated memory controller — a 128-bit, dual-channel design supporting DDR266 and DDR333 SDRAM.

“We delivered on our promise to provide the highest-performing 2P and 4P server processor in the world,” AMD vice president Marty Seyer said in a statement. “We are now offering IT managers a complete range of 64-bit solutions that are designed to protect investments in 32-bit applications and lower their total cost of ownership.”

Like their 200-series counterparts, the new 800- and 100-series Opterons also offer support for SSE, SSE2, MMX, 3DNow! technology and legacy x86 instructions.
The Opteron series also has 64-bit integer registers, 48-bit virtual addresses, 40-bit physical addresses, eight new 64-bit integer registers (16 total) and eight new 128-bit SSE/SSE2 registers (16 total).

The chips also include AMD’s HyperTransport technology to I/O devices complete with three links, 16-bits in each direction. Each supports up to 1600 MT/s or 3.2 GB/s in each direction. Each link can connect to an I/O device or another processor.

In 1,000-unit quantities, the AMD Opteron processor Model 840 retails for $749, Model 842 is $1299 and the 844 goes for $2149.

For the 100-series, Model 140 is retailing for $229, the AMD Opteron processor Model 142 is $438 and the AMD Opteron processor Model 144 is $669. All are in 1,000-unit quantities and all 800- and 100-series chips are available now.

AMD said motherboards based on its 100- series are expected worldwide in July 2003 from ASUS with chipset support from NVIDIA. Systems based on the AMD Opteron processor 100 Series are expected to be available from such vendors as Angstrom MicroSystems and Boxx Technologies in the third quarter of 2003.

To help sell its chips faster, AMD also launched a brand new Validated Server Program (VSP) in concert with white box manufacturer Celestica .

Best known for its past work with IBM, Lucent, and Sun Microsystems, Toronto-based Celestica said it will give AMD customers a single point of contact for server manufacturing, service, support and shipping.

The program will initially offer two servers in both barebones and fixed configurations — a 4-way capable rack-server, the 4U/4P A8440 based on the AMD Opteron processor 800 Series, and a 2-way capable rack-server, the 1U/2P A2210 based on the AMD Opteron processor 200 Series.

Currently available in North America, the companies say continued global rollout is expected throughout the rest of the year.

AMD is counting on its Opteron series to help it out of its current financial conundrum. The Opteron server chips, which analysts say is on par to fiercely compete with Intel’s Xeon lineup, come at a time when recession-weary IT buyers are tossing aside their costly RISC/Unix-based architectures in favor of the economical and scalable CISC, or x86, solutions.

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