Piledriver goes Opteron in 6300 series

As expected, AMD has rolled out a new lineup of Opteron processors based on its eight-way Piledriver chip. This is the same basic 32-nm silicon used in the FX-8350 and friends, only re-purposed for servers under the code-name "Abu Dhabi." These new Opterons should be drop-in replacements for their Bulldozer-based Opteron 6200 predecessors, with higher performance and potentially better power efficiency, as we saw in their desktop counterparts. Other details, like cache sizes and transistor counts should remain unchanged.

Here's a look at the key specs of the new model lineup, taken straight from AMD's press release:


Base and Turbo clock speeds have risen by several hundred megahertz versus last year's lineup, although power envelopes have held steady. These Opterons are built on multi-chip modules, with a pair of chips populating a single package that drops into a double-wide socket with four memory channels attached.

AMD says the Opteron 6300 series delivers "the winning solution for virtualized data centers and high-performance computing clusters" and claims performance in SPECjbb2005 is "up to 24 percent higher" than the Opteron 6200 series, with "up to 40 percent higher" performance per watt. The press release says these CPUs "offer industry-leading performance in SPECjbb2005," but no direct comparison with Intel's Xeon is made. I don't see any Opteron 6300 results published at SPEC yet, either. We would expect the 6300 series to fare relatively well in select workloads, including SPECjbb and virtualization tests, given that it improves on Bulldozer.

The firm does claim some distinctive features for the new Opterons, including support for 1866MHz memory speeds and, uniquely, for ultra-low-power 1.25v memory. Each processor can support up to 384GB of memory and up to 12 DIMMs per socket.

Opteron 6300 systems are available now from SGI, Cray, and a host of smaller vendors like Appro, Asus, Colfax, and Microway. Servers from Dell and HP are expected "before the end of the year."

Up next is a refresh of AMD's lower-end single-chip Opterons using the same silicon, the Opteron 4300 and 3300 series, slated for December.

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