AMD delivers its 8- and 12-core server lineup; Preaches value

AMD unveiled its updated server processor line, including 8- and 12-core x86 chips for the high-volume markets. Will the company's value for good enough performance resonate?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

AMD on Monday unveiled its updated server processor line, including 8- and 12-core x86 chips for the high-volume markets.

The platform, dubbed the Opteron 6000 Series, comes a week after Intel launched its latest server chips. Meanwhile, Intel on Tuesday will hold a server press conference that will unveil more on the server front.

AMD's servers will get support from HP, Dell, Acer, Cray and SGI. Those partners will all announce new systems around the AMD platform. Acer plans to launch servers in Asia and then bring them to the U.S. later this year.

Dave Peterson, group manager for product marketing with HP's industry standard servers, said that the company will roll out three AMD systems. It has 16 for Intel's latest Xeons. When asked how an enterprise should weigh the AMD and Intel servers---given that both provide ROI when moving from a single-core environment---Peterson said potential customers should line the two chips side-by-side in their own data center labs.

Intel vs. AMD: Does the processor matter when buying servers?

With the Opteron 6000 platform, AMD is pitching a value play. The argument is that AMD will deliver workload specific performance, efficiency and power savings aimed at the so-called 2P and 4P server market.

John Fruehe, director of product marketing for AMD's server and workstation unit, said the idea is to provide chips that appeal to customers that want more performance and scalability as well as those looking for more energy efficiency and lower costs. I had asked for specific ROI figures to compare with what Intel lined up and was told those numbers would be forthcoming later.

Also: Will Intel's latest Xeon lineup be an 'economic no brainer'?

AMD's latest Opterons deliver performance two times of the previous generation 6-core processors, provide for more memory bandwidth and feature expanded DIMM capacity. In addition, the processors will be compatible with AMD's next-gen processor core, called "Bulldozer."

Add it up and AMD is pitching the cores, memory and price equation in an effort to reach value conscious customers. Among the key slides from AMD's presentation:


As you can see, AMD isn't getting drawn into a performance war that it can't win against Intel, which has Xeon 6500 series chips north of 3 GHz. Instead, AMD is talking price, value for good enough performance. Speaking of pricing:

Will AMD's approach gain traction in your data center and in what situations would the underdog chip maker be a better choice?

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