AMD Launches All-AMD Server Solutions

The integration of AMD and ATI took yet another step today with the introduction of low-power, all-AMD chip designs for servers developed under the codename “Fiorano.” This new strategy mirrors what AMD has done on the desktop and laptop by marrying its CPUs with ATI chipsets and graphics.

In this case, AMD (NYSE: AMD) is building all-AMD solutions for the Opteron server processor that include ATI chips for I/O. Unlike the desktop and laptop versions, graphics isn’t needed since rack-mounted and blade servers are rarely connected to a monitor anyway.

The company admits that this is more directly beneficial to OEM partners than end user customers, but users will still see some good in it. “I see it definitely as more of an OEM message that, from a design perspective, they can take advantage of that integration. The way I see how that relates to the end user is [OEMs] will be able to bring better products to the market,” Gina Longoria, senior product manager for server and workstations at AMD told

AMD has three chipsets in the the SR56x0 line, all of which correspond to different target markets. The SR5650 is the energy efficient chipset for low-power systems and works ideally with AMD’s HE and EE lines of processors that have a low power draw.

The SR5670 is the mid-range part, balanced for performance and power consumption, primarily aimed at blade systems. The SR5690 is the high-performance chip use in things like high performance computing (HPC) and server-side rendering. All three chips support Quad Core and Six Core Opterons.

All three also offer improved performance of virtualization and HPC workloads through PCI Express (PCI-e) 2.0, HyperTransport 3, advanced AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology and AMD-P. HT3 will support high-speed chip-to-chip communication with more data lanes and support for DDR3 memory.

It also has a new virtualization technology called I/O Memory Management Unit (IOMMU), which protects the memory from illegal access by other I/O devices and allows for the virtualization of the system’s I/O traffic.

A new socket in the works.

This is the first server chipset from AMD to offer PCI-e 2.0 and HyperThreading 3. AMD expects a bigger uptake in support for Fiorano next year when it launches the six-core Lisbon and 12-core Magny-Cours platforms, because that will introduce a new socket. AMD has stuck with the same CPU socket, called Socket F, since 2006, when Opteron was dual core.

“From a server perspective, people have been looking at our platforms for their longevity. So rather than ripping all of their existing hardware, this gives them some longevity of the platform. We saw this as an inflection point to bring PCI-Express 2 and HyperThreading 3 to the market,” said Longoria. “This is the starting point to the adoption but there will be a much bigger roll out in 2010 with the new socket design.”

New motherboards from OEM partners with the SR56x0 chipsets will begin coming out this month through November.

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