Single page Print

Pricing and availability
Istanbul Opterons will populate the new Opteron 2400 and 8400 series lineups, and their introduction brings with it some price reductions on existing Shanghai Opterons.

Model Cores Clock speed North bridge/
L3 cache speed
ACP Price
Opteron 2435 6 2.6GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 75W $989
Opteron 2431 6 2.4GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 75W $698
Opteron 2427 6 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 75W $455
Opteron 2389 4 2.9GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $698
Opteron 2387 4 2.8GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $523
Opteron 2384 4 2.7GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $523
Opteron 2382 4 2.6GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $316
Opteron 2380 4 2.5GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 75W $316
Opteron 2378 4 2.4GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 75W $174
Opteron 2376 4 2.3GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 75W $174

The three 2P versions of Istanbul run at 2.2, 2.4, and 2.6GHz, and all fit into AMD's mainstream 75W ACP power envelope. AMD is quick to point out that its entire product lineup shares the same basic feature set—including cache sizes, memory speeds, and virtualization support—in contrast to the breathtaking variety of the Xeon 5500 series, which can be rather daunting to keep sorted.

One can see here how AMD intends for the quad- and six-core Opterons to coexist. The top Shanghai model, the 2389 at 2.9GHz, drops from $989 to $698 to make room for the 2.6GHz Istanbul. The other Shanghais tumble in reaction. At that same $698 mark is the Opteron 2431, a 2.4GHz Istanbul. So the customer is faced with a fairly straightforward choice between four cores at 2.9GHz or six cores at 2.4GHz for the same price. The 4P-and-greater Opteron 8000 series presents the same choice, with higher stakes.

Model Cores Clock speed North bridge/
L3 cache speed
ACP Price
Opteron 8435 6 2.6GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 75W $2,649
Opteron 8431 6 2.4GHz 2.2GHz 2.4GHz 75W $2,149
Opteron 8389 4 2.9GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $2,149
Opteron 8387 4 2.8GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $1,865
Opteron 8384 4 2.7GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $1,514
Opteron 8382 4 2.6GHz 2.2GHz 2.2GHz 75W $1,165
Opteron 8380 4 2.5GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 75W $989
Opteron 8378 4 2.4GHz 2.0GHz 2.0GHz 75W $873

The first wave of Istanbuls all occupy standard power envelopes, but the six-core chips will proliferate to the other Opteron power grades this summer. We expect to see an SE model (105W ACP) at 2.8GHz, an HE (55W ACP) at 2GHz, and an EE (40W ACP) at 1.9GHz.

We have in our labs a pair of Opteron 2435 processors, and we've selected as their most direct competition a pair of Xeon X5550s. These Nehalem CPUs have a core clock of 2.66GHz, a 6.4 GT/s QPI link, support DDR3 1333MHz memory, and list for $958.

The X5550 has a 95W TDP rating, but there is some dispute over whether AMD's ACP and Intel's TDP are truly comparable. AMD has its own TDP numbers for its processors—SE chips are 137W, standard ones are 115W, HE models are 79W, and EE models are 60W—but it claims those numbers are more of an absolute peak than Intel's. Hence the development of its ACP metric. We'll measure power ourselves shortly, so I wouldn't get too hung up on that issue.

After this, there's that and the other
AMD has already outlined its plans for the next little while, including the introduction of the Socket F-compatible Fiorano platform later this year, an all-AMD effort that will bring PCIe Gen2 and HyperTransport 3 support (for the chipset link, not just CPU-to-CPU links like now), along with hardware support for I/O virtualization. After that, in early 2010, will come the bifurcation of Opteron socket types into two classes, the higher-end G34 with four memory channels and the mid-range C32 socket with dual-channel memory. These new sockets will enable some features already present in 45nm Opteron silicon, including DDR3 memory support and a fourth HyperTransport link. The two socket types will overlap in the 2P space, while only the G34 will serve 4P and beyond.

Source: AMD.

For sheer power, the most interesting of the two is the G34 socket, which will play host to Magny-Cours, a 12-core monster that's essentially comprised of two Istanbuls in a single package, with an in-package HyperTransport interconnect between the two dies. AMD's Mike Goddard told us this on-package HT connection isn't anything special, just a pair of HT links (one x16 and one x8) running at regular frequencies. However, without the need to traverse a longer distance over a motherboard, Goddard said AMD should be able to tune the synchronizers on the HT links to achieve much lower latencies than a socket-to-socket connection.

Beyond that, mapping out the multi-chip-per-package future of the Opteron becomes rather tricky. Magny-Cours, for instance, will be fully connected on a per chip basis, not just per socket, in a 2P system. The routing on a 4P system becomes very daunting, very quickly, but the bottom line is that it's fully connected per socket, not per die, with no more than two hops required in any scenario. Goddard said it was "a science experiment" getting that 4P routing topology done.

Source: AMD.

After a refresh with 32nm processors based on the next-generation "Bulldozer" microarchitecture on the G34 and C32 platforms in 2011, AMD plans to introduce a new platform again in 2012. Details about this one are sketchy, but Goddard told us that platform would include on-die PCI Express connectivity. I expect we'll learn more about that as the time approaches.