AMD announces Lisbon server platform

The company has introduced the 4100 series four and six-core processors, aimed at cloud computing and small and medium-sized enterprises

AMD has announced the availability of its Opteron 4000 series platform, based on the 'Lisbon' 4100 series processors.

The 4000 is a server platform aimed at large cloud computing datacentres and also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). AMD also intends the platform to be used for embedded systems, including storage, networking and digital signage products.

Acer, Dell, HP, SGI, Supermicro and ZT Systems have indicated an interest in developing products on the platform. SGI announced on Wednesday that it will offer four scale-out server models for traditional datacentre racks or modular datacentres, based on the 4100 series.

The nine 45nm processors have four or six cores running between 1.7GHz and 2.8GHz, depending on the model, and have 6MB of cache per die. Average CPU power ranges from 32 watts to 75 watts, meaning that the lowest-power CPU uses under 6 watts per core. The platform is available immediately.

AMD says power consumption is vastly improved when compared with the previous generation of its products. At 100 percent load, the new 4164 model consumes 133 watts against the 171 watts of its predecessor, the 2419. When in active idle state, the 4164 uses 63 watts against the 83 watts of the 2419, AMD said.

Power saving is aided by the use of a sleep state when all processor cores are idle, and reducing performance when a given temperature limit is reached. Lower memory voltage of 1.35volts is used instead of the standard 1.5volts. The processors support DDR3 memory, which is faster and more power-efficient than the previous DDR2 memory.

"Until now, customers wanting to build a dense and power-efficient cloud or hyperscale datacentre had to shoehorn expensive, higher-end solutions into their computing environment, or they had to choose low-power client-based designs that may not have offered the right level of performance and server functionality," said Patrick Patla, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD, in a statement. "With the AMD Opteron 4000 Series platform, these customers now have a server platform that is extremely power and cost-efficient, allows a high degree of customisation and is also an ideal solution for high-end embedded systems."

One of the new models, the four-core 2.2GHz 4122, will sell for $99 (£67), when bought in quantities of 1,000. The 4122 might appeal for SME servers priced around the $500 (£338) mark, Mike Kreiten, product marketing manager for AMD, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

AMD added that the 4100s use the same SR5600 chipset as the Opteron 6100s, the eight and 12-core platform launched in March and known as Magny-Cours. The 4100s and 6100s will take the same naming suffixes: either SE, standard (no suffix), HE or EE. SE is the highest performing chip in each range while EE is the most energy efficient.

AMD plans to release a server processor with up to 16 cores in 2011. It will be based on a new architecture AMD is calling Bulldozer.