AMD launches 'Istanbul' six-core processors

The new Opteron processors are aimed at the high-performance computing and virtualisation markets

AMD has launched its 45nm 'Istanbul' six-core server processors, which offer up to a third more performance per watt than their four-core predecessors.

The new six-core AMD Opteron processors were made available on Monday, almost nine months after the launch of rival chipmaker Intel's six-core 'Dunnington' Xeon processors. Manufacturers such as Cray, Dell, HP, IBM and Sun are lined up to release products this month based on the new Opteron processors, AMD said in a statement.

The new Opterons are available for two-, four- and eight-socket servers. The fact that they can use the same server boards as their quad-core predecessors makes them field-upgradeable, whereas Intel's six-core Xeons required new infrastructure.

AMD is pitching the six-core processors at the high-performance computing and virtualisation markets, saying Opterons provide increased memory bandwidth and reduced processor-to-processor latency.

These boosts are the result of AMD's new HT Assist HyperTransport technology, the company said, providing up to 60 percent improvements in memory bandwidth performance by reserving a portion of each CPU's L3 cache as a directory, thereby cutting down on system-probe traffic and improving performance.

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