AMD unveils Opteron X 'Kyoto' processors

AMD unveils Opteron X 'Kyoto' processors

Summary: Intel's Atom series gets a new quad-core rival in the high-density, low-power microserver market.

TOPICS: Processors, Servers

Microservers are a hot topic at the moment for two main reasons: the exponential rise of cloud computing, where servers are often required to handle massively parallel workloads rather than perform traditional database or high-performance computing tasks; and the need for data centres to "improve the efficiency of their profit-generating unit" — their servers — as Andrew Feldman, general manager of AMD's server business unit, put it when he spoke to ZDNet last week.

AMD's server boss Andrew Feldman shows off the new Opteron X. (Photo: Charles McLellan/ZDNet)

Around 70 percent of a data centre's operational costs are generated by its power and space requirements, which makes high-density, low-power microservers such as those from AMD acquisition SeaMicro, and HP with its Moonshot project, very interesting products these days.

New types of low-power processors are required for these single-socket microservers — something that has been addressed by Intel with its Atom S1200 (Centerton) series and forthcoming Avoton upgrade, ARM and now AMD, which has formally announced the Opteron X (previously codenamed "Kyoto").

There are two quad 64-bit "Jaguar" core Opteron X processors, the X2150 and the X1150. Both chips incorporate a 128-core Radeon HD 8000 graphics processing unit, but only the 11W X2150 has it activated; the GPU-disabled Opteron X1150 consequently has a lower typical power consumption — as low as 9W, according to AMD.

AMD describes the 32nm Opteron X as the highest density, most power-efficient small core x86 processor ever built. The speeds and feeds certainly stack up well against Intel's current dual-core Atom S1200 processors:

Speeds and feeds for the Opteron X series, and a comparison (top) with Intel's dual-core Atom S1200 series. (Images: AMD)

AMD's Feldman claimed: "This is the dominant small-core part in the industry," and highlighted its 1.9X single-thread performance advantage over the Atom S1200 in particular. AMD already has a design win for the Opteron X from HP, which will include the processor in its Moonshot microserver in the late summer, and promises more announcements in the next few months.

Talking of HP's Moonshot, Feldman stressed that, despite SeaMicro and HP competing on the same microserver turf, AMD was a big supporter of the Moonshot project, while naturally emphasising what he saw as the particular advantages of the SeaMicro architecture: "First we reduce the number of components on the motherboard, and then we separate compute, storage and networking with our multi-dimensional torus fabric."

The 11W Opteron X2150, which runs its cores at up to 1.9GHz, will cost $99 (£65) in 1,000-unit volumes, while the 9W X1150, which runs at up to 2GHz, will cost $64 in 1,000-unit volumes.

Topics: Processors, Servers


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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  • Great!

    Now can we please have an OEM build a Mini-ITX board with these parts so that home users and SMB's can use these? Microservers might be nice, but only in an enterprise environment with high density. I don't know any mom-and-pop business that wants to invest in a climate-controlled, sound-proof rackspace for their shoppe.
  • Good job AMD

    AMD beat Intel almost every where now server market can see the memorable performance ......

    AMD have better solutions ...
    • Except Your Comment is Not Relevant Here

      You must have missed the part where the author said:

      "...something that has been addressed by Intel with its Atom S1200 (Centerton) series and forthcoming Avoton upgrade, ARM and now AMD."

      Seems to me that means AMD is the Johnny Come Lately.
      • AMD did beat Intel!

        Intel doesn't have integrated GPU Compute in an SoC. Neither does ARM for that matter (when have you seen ARM do OpenCL?).
  • not obvios to me

    It looks like the Intel part is 6 watts and half the price so the AMD has to at least double the performance to even be worth looking at. Next year the Atoms will be based on 14nm tech. At that point AMD will be less attractive.
    • and

      During that time, AMD and everyone else will just sit and do nothing?
  • Atoms

    I've been looking at Atoms since they came out, at NO time was I impressed and I seriously doubt I ever will be. But my 20 years in IBM compatibles has been thoroughly immersed in AMD technology and never have I been disappointed by their hardware except in one case that never made it to knowledge of most except for the very few who actually troubleshoot computers. Never once saw it listed in any internet site. And since obviously you are not aware of it now, no need for me to make you aware.
    If and when I have money to spare on a system using an opteron technology, you can bet it will be used on AMD tech compared to ANY ATOM. The problem with AMD is not their tech, but putting that tech in the hands of the people who want it. And the OEMs are doing a terrible job of that. And this coming from an I7 powered laptop that is kept busy and HOT 24/7
    • +1

      I've been looking for micro-server motherboards and processors and AMD hasn't had any OEM's with any design wins for Mini-ITX for compact server units. Honestly, for mom-and-pop businesses of less than 20 users, there shouldn't be a need for a high-end server machine, but I know several businesses that absolutely need desktop management and mass amounts of local storage that put cloud computing completely off the map, and a Windows Server Essentials box is ideal. Mini-ITX boxes have evolved into machines that can take 4-6 hard drives (I like the new Fractal Design Node 304), but without server-grade motherboards or processors, you can't count on the reliability that you need for always-running operation that a server requires.

      Intel makes the S1200KP board though, and it's not too shabby. I have a couple clients using it with Multipoint Server 2012 and it works great! I just wish AMD would push more into the APU space for servers. The FirePro APU is only available via the motherboard OEM (I can't remember which one), but the board and APU combo is something like $600US, and it isn't much more than a standard A10 APU with a regular FM2 motherboard with maybe an extra GbE port. Sure, the validation costs money, but holy crap! Intel's 1P boards don't cost much more than a comparable desktop board, and their server processors are on price-parity with their desktop chips. AMD needs to get OEM's on this market. Quite frankly, I'd like to see CPU makers do away with differentiating between 1P server chips and their identical desktop versions, and unify the socket design (I hate AMD's previous attempts at this because it made it difficult to find a compatible heatsink). Make the boards and maybe the chipsets different if you have to, but keep the processors the same. Only the 2P and 4P systems should make the chips and sockets different when required by the pinouts.