AMD launches 16-core Opteron 6200 server processors

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AMD has announced the availability of its first sixteen-core server chips, the new Opteron 6200 (codenamed "Interlagos"), as well as a new six and eight-core parts launching under the Opteron 4200 series (codenamed "Valencia"). The company is promising up to 84% higher performance compared to their predecessors, up to 73% more memory bandwidth for virtual machines and energy efficiency improvements.

The Opteron 6200, based on AMD’s Bulldozer-architecture, will include ten different models clocked between 1.6GHz and 2.6GHz and priced between $523 and $1,019. Only five of them are packing the full sixteen cores, however, as the line up also include a couple of twelve-core chips, two eight-cores and a quad-core model that also drops AMD's Turbo Core frequency boosting feature. They all draw between 85 watts and 140 watts of power and are designed to fit into the same socket as the previous-generation Opteron 6100 models that reached up to 12 cores.

Meanwhile, the Opteron 4200 series comprises four eight-core models and four six-core models. The higher end Opteron 4284 boasts a 3.0GHz clock speed and 95W TDP, while the Opteron 4256 EE on the other side of the spectrum features a 1.6GHz frequency and 35W TDP. These will fit into the same C32 socket as their 4100 series siblings.

The launch comes as AMD tries to reverse its fortunes in the server market after losing ground to Intel over the past year. AMD's worldwide server market share was only 5.5% during the second quarter of this year, while Intel held a 94.5% share, according to IDC. With a new management in place, lead by CEO Rory Read, the company is looking to boost the high-margin commercial business and focus its efforts on low-power computing, emerging markets and the cloud.

AMD last week unveiled a program, dubbed Ready Solutions for servers, designed to offer a wide range of motherboards compatible with the Opteron 6200 chips to quicken adoption of the processors. High-end servers from Dell, HP and others are expected to start shipping soon. Among the notable customers of the new processor is Cray, which is going to upgrade the Jaguar supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory into Titan with the new 16-core chips.

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