AMD today announced a handful of new processors for the enterprise market. Based on a 45nm process, the new six-core “Istanbul” server chips will be able to deliver a significant performance boost without consuming more power compared to existing Opterons. AMD estimates that the new parts will deliver a 34% increase in performance-per-watt, an area the company used to excel in and an attractive selling point for businesses.
Variants focusing on differing levels of power and performance will begin shipping by the third quarter of the year as HE, SE, and EE versions. There's no mention of a transition to DDR3 platforms, with AMD believing that DDR2 is still the memory of choice for the enterprise. The processor vendor cites that low TCO is a concern for themselves as well as their customers, which probably has a lot to do with a six-core offering as opposed to eight. It also likely has a lot to do with the engineering involved, as AMD has already indicated they believe that triple-core processors have room to grow on desktops.
IBM, Sun, HP, Cray, Dell and others are planning to release Istanbul-based servers soon. You can read the official press release here and view some additional information over at the company’s blog.