AMD Shipping 12-core, Not Cutting Down Feature Set

Magny-Cours on schedule, future chips will differ in performance

By Sebastian Pop on February 24th, 2010 09:58 GMT
Advanced Micro Devices has been working on its 8-core and 12-core ”Magny-Cours” server processors for a while and, according to a post on the company's official blog, the chips are already shipping to customers. Of course, AMD is already designing the next-generation processors, as it is necessary in order to maintain competitiveness. Recent reports suggest that the chip maker will not cut down the feature set for any of its next-generation Magny-Cours, having resolved to only providing variations in performance.

“Scaling back the features for marketing purposes is really not a very appetizing prospect for us. We believe that you should have the full set of features, no matter where you buy in the stack. You won’t see us scale back the memory speeds. You won’t see us scale back the I/O speeds. You won’t see us pull features. That is not our way to bring products to market,” John Fruehe, the director of product marketing for server/workstation products at AMD, said.

In contrast, Intel periodically cuts down certain features from its less pricey desktop or server CPUs in order to make them more appealing on the market. AMD, on the other hand, intends to keep the same high level of functionality and features, a move supposedly aimed at improving the value of the chips.

“When you look at our existing AMD Opteron processors as well as our upcoming new products (Magny-Cours), you see two big themes: we don’t compromise on features and we are going to deliver the feature customers care most about: value. As you look at our products, you’ll see that as you move down the stack, from those fastest processors that everyone lusts after (but few buy) down to the value-priced processors, you’ll see the same set of features. You won’t see AMD artificially limiting the capabilities or punishing a focus on low power,” Mr. John Fruehe noted.

XbitLabs reports that, according to unofficial sources, the AMD Opteron 6000 series of processors will be made up of three CPUs with clock speeds of 1.90GHz, 2.10GHz and 2.20GHz. The company also aims to release three standard-voltage 8-core chips at 2.0GHz, 2.30GHz ans 2.40GHz, along with two high-efficiency 8-core processors with clocks of 1.80GHz and 2.0GHz. Furthermore, AMD also intends to launch a highly efficient (HE) AMD Opteron 6000 12-core chip at 1.70GHz, as well as a special edition (SE) 12-core AMD Opteron 6000 at 2.30GHz. Maximum stability for these 12-core chips will be enabled by reduced frequencies for the L3 cache memory and integrated memory controllers, compared to 6-core and quad-core chips.

In order to make up for the added cost brought by the higher power consumption of the 8- and 12-core CPUs (as an effect of more cores), AMD's upcoming CPUs will boast innovative elements such as an increased HyperTransport bus speed (6.4GT/s), and the power consumption-reducing Cool Speed and C1E technologies.
AMD starts shipping 12-core and 8-core Magny-Cours chips, won't reduce feature set
   AMD starts shipping 12-core and 8-core Magny-Cours chips, won't reduce feature set
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