AMD on track to ship Bulldozer server chips in Q3

AMD also announces new 12-core Opteron 6100 server processors

Advanced Micro Devices' upcoming Opteron server processors based on the new Bulldozer architecture will become available during the third quarter, the company said on Monday.

The new microprocessors include chips code-named Interlagos with up 16 CPU cores, and microprocessors code-named Valencia with up to eight cores, an AMD spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The chips will launch as AMD tries to reverse its dipping fortunes in the server market. AMD has been losing market share to Intel, and the new products will replace existing Opteron chips with up to 12 cores that have been built around an aging architecture. AMD held only a 6.5 per cent server market share compared to Intel's 93.5 per cent share during the second quarter last year, according to IDC.

The production of Bulldozer chips will begin in the second quarter, AMD said. The chips will be made using the new 32-nanometer manufacturing process, compared to the 45-nm process used for existing Opteron chips. Last July AMD cited ramp and yield problems with the 32-nm process, which prompted the company to delay shipment of its first 32-nm chips, code-named Llano, by a few months. Llano chips are targeted at consumer PCs and are due to start shipping in the first half this year.

Bulldozer processors will be up to 50 per cent faster and include more memory throughput than current server chips, AMD has said. The new architecture shares more components such as floating point units between CPU cores, which helps chips execute more operations per clock cycle while consuming less power.

The Bulldozer chips are also socket-compatible with existing Opteron 6100 chips, which should make it easier for customers to upgrade servers.

AMD on Monday also boosted its existing chip offerings by announcing three 12-core Opteron 6100 processors that run between 1.8GHz and 2.5GHz. The Opteron 6166 HE runs at 1.8GHz, draws 65 watts of power, and is priced at US$873. The Opteron 6180 SE runs at 2.5GHz, draws 105 watts of power, and is priced at $1,514.

The company also started shipping two new eight-core Opteron 6100 processors. The Opteron 6132 HE runs at 2.2GHz and is priced at $591, while the $989 Opteron 6140 runs at 2.6GHz.

Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer will ship servers with the new processors, AMD said. Dell on Monday announced the PowerEdge C6145, an eight-socket server that can accommodate 96 CPU cores.

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