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.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Honestly, I’ve begun to think that AMD’s Bulldozer isn’t really a bad architecture. It just so happens that there are other architectures out there that best it in terms of power efficiency and performance. I skipped price because AMD is free to price this any way they want relative to Intel. Trouble is, Intel knows it can’t cede the lower price segments to AMD. AMD can very well price the FX-8150 at $500 if they want to and they’d still sell it by the boatload if Intel is pricing Core i5 SKUs at the $1000 mark. But since Intel prices their Core i5’s at around $200, AMD has no choice but to go below that.

    Anyway, that’s just to illustrate the Opteron’s situation as well. These Opterons aren’t really bad. The only problem is that there’s another chipmaker in town calling themselves Intel and they’ve got a bunch of Xeons they’re dying to show you. That’s when the Opteron starts to look less interesting.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    That 6366 HE looks interesting… Too bad there aren’t many overclocking friendly motherboards, I only know of one and it’s for Intel (made by Asus)…

    I really think out of this whole BD fiasco their server chips could really be taken advantage of it. They’re dirt cheap relatively speaking and some of the lower tier models are clocked quite low. Like that HE, it has a quite high turboclock frequency and it sits at 85w, that just screams overclocking potential. These are based on the same cores that the desktop variants use too, unless I’m missing something.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 7 years ago

    These are great for virtualizing x86 based systems. A majority of costs in building massive VM farms is ram. We’re realistically looking are a memory to blade ratio because our goals are more about getting towards 256GB to 512GB of available memory.

    Many and fast cores are useful, but we’re building dozens of machines off a handful of blades and they all manage/monitor in the same way. Saving the miniscule amounts of cash between Intel/AMD go immediately toward more ESX licenses and/or SAN storage.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, we’ve found the Bulldozer architecture actually works very efficiently at virtualization and on Java workloads.

    • shank15217
    • 7 years ago

    Good news considering this is a drop in upgrade. It will make these clearly better than mangy-cours.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    It would have been nice if they offered the 6380 for AM3+ as well……imo it would have been a far better choice for people who neeed more cores for various applications, for gaming though it would probably fall behind on old, non multi core optimised games.

    Edit:
    Secound thought it would need a new socket and chipset (plus 8 memory slots of the full ATX version of the mobos), but i still think they should have made it available for home users.

    • Goty
    • 7 years ago

    So are the yields just that bad overall that they’d have to make such a large cut in clockspeed to reach an 85W TDP or are all the “good” parts going to the desktop?

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      What is your reference product ?

      Normalized watt per module, per ghz

      Server
      115w at 2.5ghz for 8 module : 5.75w
      85w at 1.8ghz for 8 module : 5.9w

      Desktop
      125w at 4.0ghz 4 module : 7.8w
      95w at 3.8ghz 2 module : 12.5w

      So it seem that piledriver sweet spot is about 2.5ghz

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      That includes 16 “cores,” 32MB of cache, 4 memory channels, and the HT links to tie four CPU sockets together. A step down in TDP would be in laptop range. What did you expect?

      Intel’s 8 core SB-EN is similar, but without much turbo range and only for the dual-socket version:

      [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Xeon_microprocessors#.22Sandy_Bridge-EN.22_.2832_nm.29_2[/url<]

        • Goty
        • 7 years ago

        Ah, you are quite right. I missed the core count. Not so bad, then.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    For a relatively close cost comparison at Newegg (which is not always the best source for high-end server components), $1,499 will get you an 8-core Sandy Bridge E7 Xeon with a 2.3Ghz base and 3.1Ghz Turbo: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117274[/url<] And for slightly less than the high-end Opteron you can get a slightly slower 8-core Sandy Bridge for $1,329: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117265[/url<] (only a 95 watt TDP on either one of those Xeons) Edit 2: For the lower-end of the spectrum there is a 6-core Sandy Bridge EP for only $424 that is definitely faster than any of the 8-core Piledriver offerings while actually being cheaper: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117269[/url<] Bear in mind that in high-end servers, the raw cost of the CPU is a relatively small fraction of the total price. The point is: While on the desktop AMD can be quite a bit cheaper, in the server world it is not necessarily a huge bargain, which is why AMD's server marketshare has atrophied since the days of the original Opterons when AMD had > 25% server marketshare.

      • kc77
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<] Edit 2: For the lower-end of the spectrum there is a 6-core Sandy Bridge EP for only $424 that is definitely faster than any of the 8-core Piledriver offerings while actually being cheaper: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117269[/url<] The point is: While on the desktop AMD can be quite a bit cheaper, in the server world it is not necessarily a huge bargain, which is why AMD's server marketshare has atrophied since the days of the original Opterons when AMD had > 25% server marketshare.[/quote<] That Sandy Bridge model is running at 2.0Ghz. Even with a a 6 Core you are looking at a pretty big single thread deficit. I think you would need at least the 2.3 Ghz model at the minimum. I would not call Intel's prices in the server side competitive by any stretch. They will give you more performance but a deal it isn't. AMD is losing share because of performance and power and that's all. Pricing has very little to do with it.

      • ish718
      • 7 years ago

      The new 16 core 6300 opterons will beat those non HT 8 core Sandy Bridges in most server applications that are very threaded…

      The 16 core Opteron 6380 for $1088 is a better deal than a non HT 8 core Sandy Bridge for $1329.

      [url<]http://www.dailytech.com/AMDs+New+Piledriver+Opterons+Claim+to+Match+Intels+Performance+at+Half+the+Price/article29118.htm[/url<]

        • accord1999
        • 7 years ago

        There aren’t any 8 core SB Xeon’s that don’t have Hyperthreading, including the $1329 E-2660. Based on the Anandtech review of the E5-2660 versus the previous 16 core Opterons in server/workstation applications, it seems unlikely that the 6380 will be competitive and it’ll probably still have difficulties beating the low clock 6 core Xeons in many applications.

          • abw
          • 7 years ago

          You would be right if thoses multicores CPUs were used let s say
          for sinle threaded apps….or games…..

            • accord1999
            • 7 years ago

            Or pretty much anything else; Zambezi’s pitiful per core performance and high power consumption meant that even when multiplied by 16, it can’t match the throughput of 6 core Sandy Bridges.

            • abw
            • 7 years ago

            6 SB cores better than a 16C opteron in MT.???…TR was wrong since they showed
            us the 8C PD as often better than a 4C/8T 2600K in MT environnement so you re assuming
            that SB cores 5 and 6 are faster than 8 opterons core = i3 better than a 8C Piledriver
            in MT…..
            Seriously , you re completely out of track….

            • accord1999
            • 7 years ago

            Using the performance of desktop CPUs to extrapolate the performance of server CPUs won’t be always accurate, especially as Amdahl’s Law has a greater and greater impact as thread counts grow.

            • xeridea
            • 7 years ago

            The architecture was designed for servers and does better in the server arena than in desktop. Amdahl’s Law isn’t as much of an issue for servers, because many of their tasks are threaded in that there are just multiple single threaded requests (domain server, web server, db server, VMs, etc). So if anything, if it does decent on desktop, it should excel in server.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I think JF_AMD is the server boss who calls the shots on pricing, being the marketing guy responsible for positioning AMD’s chips. Does he still post here at TR?

        • accord1999
        • 7 years ago

        JF_AMD is no longer at AMD and now working for NextIO:

        [url<]http://www.nextio.com/about/leadership.php[/url<]

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          So if you find a new user here named JF_NEXTIO, you know who it is.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    I first liked the name Opteron because it reminds me of Optimus Prime.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Just wait for the Hasbro lawsuit when AMD releases the Opteron Prime.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Don’t give AMD ideas. They might brand their next server chips ‘Megatron’.

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