After over a year of anticipation, numerous delays, lots of propaganda from different sides and much more, AMD has finally brought the next generation of their CPU architecture to the table. In the form of a native quad-core Opteron, AMD's long-awaited Barcelona has finally arrived.

Representing change in many areas, AMD's new core offers promises of many significant advancements, from power reduction to performance boosts and a host of features aimed at the high end. Since the first CPUs to market are Opterons, there's little to be said regarding performance. Even the reviews that came out this week are sparse and don't shed a whole lot of light. One very interesting thing of note, however, was AMD's introduction of Average CPU Power. ACP isn't a technology, but a new standard to rate the power consumption of a processor

The idea behind this change is that older power rating methods don't give an accurate depiction of the actual amount of power a CPU will use in any given environment. Whether or not the ACP figures are accurate still remains to be seen, but they are happy to announce it:

AMD also today introduced the Average CPU Power (ACP) metric, which represents processor power usage, including cores, integrated memory controller, and HyperTransport™ technology links, while running a suite of typical and relevant commercially useful high utilization workloads to be more indicative of the power consumption that end-users can expect. ACP is a useful metric for data center operators when estimating power budgets to size their datacenters. AMD will continue to provide thermal design power (TDP) specifications to platform designers in AMD power and thermal datasheets.
The release of Barcelona will bring answers to many questions over the following months. Will AMD be able to continue growth of the Opteron over the Xeon? Are they too late to market to reclaim what has been lost to Intel? Will their next line of desktop CPUs launch on time, and will they be able to cope with Intel?

A lot of questions, though after so many months of waiting I am glad to see AMD finally got this out the door. The full press release is on AMD's site.