Acer among first to sell AMD's newest Opteron server chip

Acer one of four major computer makers that will release servers based on the Opteron 6100

Acer will be among the first major computer vendors to sell systems based on Advanced Micro Devices' latest Opteron server chips, the 6100 series, the chip company said Monday

Along with Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Cray, Acer will soon be announcing servers based on the Opteron 6100 series, said Ben Williams, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Asia-Pacific, during an interview on Monday.

"We'll be hearing a lot more from those folks over the next few weeks," Williams said.

Better known for selling PCs like its popular Aspire One netbook, Acer has long sold servers as well, although the company has never been a major player in the market. However, the Taiwanese computer company aims to make inroads into the server market this year, targeting small and medium-size businesses as well as the high-performance computing market.

Formerly known by the code name Magny-Cours, the Opteron 6100 series consists of 10 chips with either eight or 12 cores, offering clock speeds ranging from 1.7GHz to 2.4GHz. They range in price from US$266 up to $1,386 each in 1,000-unit quantities, a common way of quoting chip prices. The chips are designed for servers with two or four processors and offer significantly better performance than AMD's current offerings, Williams said.

The Opteron 6100 chips are made using a 45-nanometer process by contract chip maker Global Foundries. The chips consist of two silicon dies packaged together, each with four or six cores.

The impending release of servers based on the Opteron 6100 chips, as well as new server chips from archrival Intel, comes amidst general expectations that corporate IT spending on computers and other hardware, which has suffered because of the weak economy, is on the path to recovery.

"In Asia, which is coming out of the downturn, growth is starting to happen again," Williams said, noting that Gartner expects to see Asian server sales begin growing from the middle of 2010.

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