Berlin, Warsaw are the future of AMD's x86 server lineup

We've already discussed the ARM-based server chip, code-named Seattle, that AMD announced as part of an updated server roadmap today. The firm also disclosed plans for the next generation of its x86-compatible server chips. Here's that updated roadmap slide again:

 First, "Berlin" will replace the current Opteron 3300 series processors at the end of this year, and then "Warsaw" will succeed the Opteron 4300 and 6300 series in the first quarter of 2014.

Berlin looks to be a server-oriented version of the upcoming Kaveri APU that I discussed at the end of my Richland review.  It has significant new technologies incorporated, including the Steamroller CPU microarchitecture, which promises higher per-clock performance than today's Piledriver modules, and integrated graphics based on the GCN architecture that power's today's fastest Radeons. Berlin's accommodations for servers include ECC support in the internal caches and external memory. Beyond that, the APU-style integration of graphics and PCI Express I/O should offer welcome benefits in terms of the physical footprint and power consumption of Berlin-based systems.

This APU will also support the "uniform memory access" model that's part of AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture push. The ability to share memory between the CPU cores and the IGP could make Berlin well suited for GPU computing applications, and I'd expect to see AMD attempting to sell it to HPC clusters and the like.

Unfortunately, since it's derived from a consumer APU, Berlin doesn't appear to have the ability to work in multi-socket configurations. Instead, it will likely be integrated into single-CPU blades for larger enclosures.

Meanwhile, Warsaw looks to be a fairly minor update to the current eight-core Opteron silicon, although it will apparently only be offered in dual-chip package configs with 12-16 cores. The chip is still built with a 32-nm fab process, still has Piledriver cores rather than Steamroller, and is socket-compatible with the Opteron 6300 series. AMD is promising power efficiency improvements, but it achieved those with Richland without changing the silicon.

The biggest news with Warsaw is what wasn't announced. One would have expected a transition to Steamroller cores and 28-nm fabrication for the big Opteron chip, along with the long-overdue integration of PCI Express on the CPU die and the introduction of a new socket type to go along with it. The absence of such a product would appear to signal a major change in AMD's strategy.  We're probably also seeing the end of the road for Socket AM3+ on the desktop, which is based on the same technology.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options

This discussion is now closed.