Opterons to have 12 cores in early 2010, 16 cores in 2011


— 2:31 PM on April 22, 2009

To coincide with the original Opteron processor's sixth anniversary, AMD showed the latest version of its server roadmap to the press earlier this afternoon. Among other revelations, the company said its 12-core Magny-Cours processors will launch in the first quarter of 2010. A 16-core, 32nm successor based on the next-gen Bulldozer architecture will follow in 2011, as well.

First things first, though. AMD reiterated the new June launch schedule for Istanbul, its six-core Opteron processor. Istanbul will augment the two-, four-, and eight-socket Opteron lineups with up to 30% higher performance within the same thermal envelopes, the company says. AMD also prides itself on the fact that it will end up taking the first Istanbul tape-out to production—that's the first blueprint sent to GlobalFoundries for manufacturing.

In the first quarter of next year, AMD plans to introduce a revamped server platform together with the 12-core Magny-Cours CPU. Rather than continue the tradition of the one-size-fits-all Socket F, AMD will offer two distinct platforms with different capabilities and different Opteron lines tied to them:

Magny-Cours will be the first member of the Opteron 6000 series, which will slip into two- and four-socket G34 systems with quad-channel DDR3 memory, up to 12 DIMM slots per socket, and quadruple HyperTransport 3.0 links. AMD plans nine Magny-Cours variants with 8-12 cores and ACP ratings of 105W, 75W, and 55W.

For one- and two-socket servers, AMD will also offer Opteron 4000-series processors with a new C32 platform. The first Opteron 4000 CPUs are code-named Lisbon; they'll feature 4-6 cores and 75W, 55W, and 40W power envelopes.

The following year, AMD will make the move to its next-gen 32nm Bulldozer core—and with it, 16-core Interlagos processors that will be drop-in compatible with G34 systems. In the Opteron 4000 line, Lisbon will be succeeded by 32nm Valencia processors with 6-8 cores.

So, how will all these next-gen CPUs perform? We'll have to test them ourselves to be sure, but AMD provided some in-house projections for Istanbul, Magny-Cours, and Interlagos:

AMD is evidently banking on major performance improvements, especially in the case of Magny-Cours, which it expects to nearly double integer performance compared to Istanbul. The company expects Bulldozer to make major strides in terms of floating-point performance compared to its predecessors, as well. Bulldozer should also debut in desktops in 2011.

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