AMD cooks up its own Opteron chipsets for 2009

In our latest podcast, TR Editor-in-Chief Scott Wasson went into a great deal of depth about AMD's latest server roadmap. We already covered some of the chipmaker's plans back in May, but AMD has released some new information since then. For the folks who've missed the podcast, here's the full roadmap:

What's changed since May? Most notably, AMD now has a "Fiorano" server platform with its own, AMD-branded chipsets scheduled for mid-2009. The SR5690 hub and SS7100 south bridge will bring goodies like 5.2GT/s HyperTransport 3.0 connectivity, second-generation PCI Express, PCIe hot-plug support, and an I/O Memory Management Unit (IOMMU). In AMD's words, the IOMMU will provide "superior virtualization performance through more direct CPU/peripheral interaction." An older AMD document (PDF) also says the IOMMU "protects memory from illegal access by I/O devices."

AMD will launch the RS5690 together with a MIMO-less SP5100, and both chipsets will compete with Broadcom and Nvidia offerings that power current Opteron systems. Fiorano might help put AMD on more equal footing with Intel, which has been rolling its own CPUs and chipsets into server platforms for years now.

Speaking of virtualization, Shanghai will bring some new hotness on that front, too. When it hits servers next quarter, AMD's 45nm Opteron will purportedly offer "25% faster 'world Switch' time" than Barcelona—that is, it should let servers switch back and forth between virtual machines quicker. Shanghai Opterons should also have higher power efficiency, greater clock-for-clock performance, more L3 cache, and higher memory bandwidth than AMD's current server offerings.

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