The battle of the chipmakers heated up today with Advanced Micro Devices, one of the world's largest processor manufacturers, unveiling new dual-core chips in the Opteron line.
The new high-performance processors illustrate that the battle between AMD and Intel for the datacenter is raging on unabated. Both companies crave the No. 1 spot in the server market, and both are touting reduced power consumption as the way to get there.
AMD's new Opteron chips -- the 1218 HE, 2218 HE, and 8218 HE -- are designed to use less power while still operating at higher speeds. They also are designed to compete directly against Intel's Xeon chips.
The new 2.6-GHz processors operate at 68 watts, compared with 95 watts for the basic version of the chips. In addition, the new chips offer a 180 percent improvement in speed over older Opterons, according to AMD.
Conserving power has become critical as companies look to reduce the vast amount of heat from servers while attempting to squeeze more power from their computers. AMD expects the processors will appeal to energy-conscious customers looking to reduce electricity and cooling bills.
In a statement published on AMD's Web site, Jonathan Koomey, a professor at Stanford University, stressed the importance of reducing power at idle times, particularly for datacenters that have fluctuations in workloads from peak to off-peak times.
Helping those new processors offer that ability is AMD's PowerNow, which gives the processors the ability to reduce clock speed and voltage states up to 75 percent during idle times. AMD's PowerNow is similar to Intel's SpeedStep technology.
Cost and Future
In volume quantities, the 1218 HE costs $432, the 2218 HE runs $611, and the 8218 HE goes for $1,340. In addition to unveiling these chips, AMD introduced two other additions to the Opteron line: the 2220 and 8220. Both are 2.8-GHz processors geared toward high-end servers and workstations. The 2220 costs $648, while the 8220 is priced at $1,514.
AMD said Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems will offer systems using the new chips, which AMD says will pave the way to the company's planned quad-core processors -- codenamed Barcelona.
The Barcelona Opterons, which are expected to feature heavy-duty enhancements, should be available by the middle of this year, and, according to AMD, will offer a 40 percent performance advantage over Intel's quad-core processors.