The arms race in the chip world is to see how many cores can be crammed into a processor. Intel and AMD have been tied at six-core server chips, with an eight-core Intel Nehalem due later this year. But AMD beat them handily with the release of the 12-core Opteron. Hardware Central has the specs.
Advanced Micro Devices today announced it has begun revenue shipments of the “Magny-Cours” line of Opteron 6100 server processors, with eight or 12 cores per massive package.
The news came courtesy of a blog post by John Fruehe, director of product marketing for server/workstation products at AMD (NYSE: AMD). “I wasn’t really expecting to write this blog just yet, I was hoping to spring that news sometime in the near future, but the Internet’s ‘series of tubes’ have been lit up and stole my thunder,” he wrote.
Fruehe is referring to an eBay listing that offered four of the processors for sale for $7,000. With no motherboard to run them, the chips — being sold by a central Missouri merchant — were useless, and given that the processors had not even been officially announced, it might not be surprising that they received zero bids.
The Magny-Cours design essentially takes two of the six-core “Istanbul” generation of Opteron processors and connects them with a HyperTransport interface in one package. With eight to 12 cores in one chip package, it’s a very large die, rectangular in shape instead of the usual square chip.