Advanced Micro Devices has begun quietly selling new 3GHz versions of its dual-core Opteron server processor.
The new "special edition" models, the 2222 SE and 8222 SE, feature higher performance but consume up to 120 watts compared with 95 watts for conventional 2.8GHz Opterons and 68 watts for 2.6GHz high-efficiency models.
The 2222 SE, for dual-processor systems, costs $873 in quantities of 1,000, according to the Web site, and the 8222 SE, for systems with four or eight processors costs $2,149 for quantities of 1,000. For comparison, the 2.8GHz 2220 SE and 8220 SE cost $698 and $1,514 in that quantity.
AMD spokesman Phil Hughes confirmed that the company has begun shipping the new chips. The company will officially launch the products Monday, he said.
The Opteron chip family has won the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company a place in the x86 server lines of all four of the top server companies--IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Dell. Of those companies, Dell, Sun and HP use the Opteron SE models in their servers.
But Intel in 2006 fought back with the competitive dual-core Xeon 5100 and quad-core Xeon 5300, which squeezes two dual-core chips into a single package, and AMD's selling prices have plummeted as it fought to maintain market share.
The company is counting on its quad-core "Barcelona" chip, expected to hit the market in the second half of 2007, to restore some of its fortunes. But at that time, Intel also will release its quad-core Xeon 7300 "Tigerton" processor for four-processor servers, and its next-generation "Penryn" family is waiting in the wings.