AMD adds low-power and higher-speed 45nm Opterons

Fresh from the release of its 45nm Phenom II desktop CPUs, AMD has bolstered its workstation and server lineups with seven new 45nm Opterons. This latest batch includes five Opterons with 55W ACP ratings and another two clocked at 2.8GHz—the fastest yet for quad-core AMD server chips.

Processor Max. sockets Clock speed North bridge speed ACP Price
Opteron 2386 SE 2 2.8GHz 2.2GHz 105W $1,165
Opteron 2376 HE 2 2.3GHz 2.0GHz 55W $575
Opteron 2374 HE 2 2.2GHz 2.0GHz 55W $450
Opteron 2372 HE 2 2.1GHz 2.0GHz 55W $316
Opteron 8386 SE 8 2.8GHz 2.2GHz 105W $2,649
Opteron 8376 HE 8 2.3GHz 2.0GHz 55W $1,514
Opteron 8374 HE 8 2.2GHz 2.0GHz 55W $1,165

For reference, AMD's first 45nm Opterons run at 2.3-2.7GHz and all have 75W ACP ratings. AMD claims these ACP numbers are equivalent to Intel's TDP figures, although to be fair, the new 2.8GHz Opterons do have maximum power consumption of 137W.

These new HE and SE Opterons are shipping already. AMD expects to follow up with faster 75W models later this quarter and faster 105W chips in Q2. The company also plans to introduce a new iteration of the Shanghai core with coherent HyperTransport 3.0 support in the second quarter. Full HT 3.0 support (including I/O) won't become available until AMD rolls out its Fiorano platform, however.

Along with the new chips, AMD has taken the wraps off of two new features that can help keep power consumption in check. Extended CoolCore clock gating can save power by shutting down portions of the L3 cache that aren't needed in 1MB or 2MB increments. This feature should be enabled in all 45nm Opterons via a BIOS update. Also, AMD is introducing the PowerCap manager, a BIOS setting that can limit Opterons to certain peak frequency and voltage combinations below the chips' usual maximums. AMD's Brent Kerby says PowerCap "knocks the teeth out of peaks." The server admin can choose one of several options—essentially, the different steps up and down the ladder for PowerNow! dynamic scaling—as a new limit. Different PowerCap settings can trim power consumption by roughly 30%, 40%, or 65%.

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