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AMD's Opteron 150 and 250 processors

Workstation-class whup-ass
— 12:00 AM on May 18, 2004

TODAY AMD IS LAUNCHING its Opteron 150, 250, and 850 processors. These CPUs pack all the same goodness we've come to appreciate in the form of the Opteron 148, 248, and 848 models, plus 200 more megahertz, for a total of 2.4GHz. Like all previous Opterons, the x50 series is built using AMD's 130nm fab process. Since this is just a speed bump for the Opteron, we decided to throw a party and spice things up a bit by testing the new Opterons against over twenty different competitors.

Of course, at 2.4GHz, the Opteron 250 threatens to be the fastest system we've ever tested here at TR. Will these newcomers distinguish themselves in an insanely crowded field? Keep reading to find out.

Our centerfold
The Opteron 250 comes in a ceramic package with a 940-pin socket interface and an attractive metal cap, of which I've taken an extreme close-up photograph.

The Opteron 250

The Opteron 250's 940-pin underbelly

Physically, the Opteron 150 and 250 are identical, but they are slightly different internally. Both chips can support up to three 16-bit, 800MHz HyperTransport links to the outside world, but none of the HyperTranport links on the 100-series Opterons are coherent, or capable of being used to talk to another CPU. As a result, only the Opteron 250, which has one coherent link, can be used in dual-processor systems. (For systems with four or more CPUs, you've gotta pay the price for the Opteron 850, which has three coherent HyperTransport links.)