AMD officially introduced its first 45nm processors today. Compared to its existing 65nm AMD Opterons, the new quad-core server processors code-named Shanghai, will offer better performance and use less power, and because they use the same socket and have the same thermal requirements, they will be available in more than 25 server systems by the end of the year, according to the company.
The new AMD Opterons range from 2.3- to 2.7GHz with an ACP, or Average CPU Power, rating of 75 watts (AMD uses different power ratings so you can't directly compare this with the TDP rating on Intel Xeons). In the first quarter of 2009, AMD will release additional server chips with both lower and higher power ratings, as well as a new high-end desktop platform, code-named Dragon, which will include 45nm Phenom II X4 processors paired with the existing 700 series chipset and ATI Radeon 4000 series graphics.
The key improvements in the new Opterons include higher frequencies without using more power, a 4X increase in L3 cache to 6MB and support for 800MHz DDR2 memory. AMD says this will result in performance improvements of as much as 40% over the current Opterons (aka Barcelona) on certain applications such as virtualization, databases, and Java. The new chips also include several new power management features, and AMD has posted some performance test results which it claims show that clock-for-clock the new Opterons deliver better performance per watt than Intel Xeons.
Today's announcement was expected. AMD executives have repeatedly said Shanghai was running ahead and schedule and the company is holding its annual analysts day today. In addition to its server and desktop roadmaps, AMD is expected to discuss the pending spin-off of its manufacturing operations, the Fusion processor with on-die graphics, and its strategy to address the growing netbook market.
[Read the AMD 45nm press release.]