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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    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    Magny Cours – fancy spelling for many cores?

      • Flying Fox
      • 11 years ago

      It’s a place in France, where the Formula 1 French GP used to be held.

        • cubical10
        • 11 years ago

        It looks like someone in AMD is an F1 fan, as all of the code names are locations that have held an F1 race in the recent past.

    • AMDisDEC
    • 11 years ago

    Not bad for a German company

      • Krogoth
      • 11 years ago

      Ahem, both AMD and Intel are international companies. XD

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Thanks for pulling this info out of the pod cast. I haven’t been blessed with an interest in listening to talk shows / radio shows.

    • willyolio
    • 11 years ago

    despite this news, people will probably still continue to babble on about how ATI brought no benefits to AMD and such.

      • just brew it!
      • 11 years ago

      Yes, chipsets have historically been their Achilles heel. Their heavy reliance on VIA, ALi, and SiS back in the K6/K7 days hurt them a lot. The flakiness of many of these 3rd party chipsets was a major factor in the poor image they had among the general computer buying public, and gave the Intel fanboys and FUDsters plenty of ammunition. Their own chipsets (AMD 750, 760, and 760MPX) were decent from a stability standpoint, but tended to come up short on features and performance.

      It is good to see ATI’s chipset tech being put to good use.

      • Silus
      • 11 years ago

      You seem to have missed it, but it’s not about how ATI’s acquisition didn’t bring anything to AMD, but rather what AMD payed for them. This kind of deal is a long term investment, because nothing pays off immediately, but AMD does need to survive through these times where they have a HUGE debt, mostly gotten because they over-paid for ATI.

      And that’s why paying what they did for ATI, was a BIG mistake and they confirmed that themselves, by writing off a couple of billions from that purchase already.

        • SubSeven
        • 11 years ago

        Though i agree with you, you are judging them with the advantage of hindsight. Perhaps AMD knew something you still don’t. For example, maybe some other company wanted to buy ATI at the time. Perhaps AMD believed that it was more worth to overpay and possibly struggle in the short run, for longer term success. Most people still see the ATI purchase as a miserable failure. This notion can completely change in say 5 years if AMD somehow manages to get some amazing product to the market with the help of its acquisition.

          • Silus
          • 11 years ago

          But that’s exactly the point I was making. The problem with ATI’s acquisition is not IF it’s going to pay off. It will, but it takes time for that, which is why I mentioned it being a long term investment. The problem is that by overpaying for ATI, AMD put itself in a very difficult situation, where they have a huge debt. They need to survive that, before ATI’s acquisition really starts to pay off.
          Obviously, we know they payed too much, after the fact, but also obviously someone at AMD, didn’t do their homework, because they know their financial records better than we do and they must’ve known that by paying that much for ATI, they would be having some problems in the future.

        • willyolio
        • 11 years ago

        i understand that, it’s just that some people actually don’t think ATI is even worth keeping *cough*PRIME1*cough*
        §[< https://techreport.com/ja.zz?id=351740<]§ =P i know he's not the only one, though. the internet has spawned stranger things, for sure.

    • swaaye
    • 11 years ago

    There’s a Mangy 12-core comin’ our way! omg!

    eeheeheehee….

      • Palek
      • 11 years ago

      I chuckled, FWIW.

    • 0g1
    • 11 years ago

    Wow, 12-Core, 4way HT3, and supports unregistered DDR3 in 1H 2010. It seems all during 2009 the server space will only support registered DDR2? I hope that desktop Shanghai supports DDR3.

    • cegras
    • 11 years ago

    Yay .. sort of.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      (Cue “death sequence” music from Donkey Kong.)

    • Prototyped
    • 11 years ago

    As I mentioned in a comment to the podcast, the IOMMU (known as AMD IOV technology) allows for device assignment so the VMs to which devices have been assigned can use native drivers and not involve the hypervisor at all. This is of course aside from the ability to remap 32-bit devices into higher address space in hardware and so improve DMA performance by eliminating the need to copy buffers.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, an IOMMU is a big deal for virtualization, and might even make the transition to 64bits a little cleaner (in terms of legacy devices). AMD has been talking about it for a long time now. Of course, nested page tables was also a big deal for virtualization performance that AMD talked about for a long time, and it ended up contributing to the TLB bug. Virtualizing IO is just as tricky.

    • robspierre6
    • 11 years ago

    Come on AMD, two fabs in germany…..you can beat INTEL.

      • shank15217
      • 11 years ago

      What are you talking about?

    • grantmeaname
    • 11 years ago

    AMD’s the 45nm Opteron

    ummm?

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