AMD today launched its first platform specifically engineered for cloud computing. The Sunnyvale-based chipmaker says its Opteron 4000 series was designed from the ground up for hyperscale data centers comprised of 1P and 2P machines, but the company kept SMB customers and embedded systems in mind too.

Codenamed "Lisbon," the 45nm processors are said to be the most power efficient in their class, consuming less than 6W per core and averaging from 32W to 75W, depending on the product. There are nine chips in total with four or six cores running between 1.7GHz and 2.8GHz, all of which have 6MB of cache per die.

One of the beefier models, the hexa-core 4164EE, consumes 133W at full load and 63W during active idle - a 24% reduction from the older 2419EE, which uses the same fabrication technology and runs at 171W/83W. AMD says such an improvement can save nearly a million dollars a year in a 10,000-server farm.

The new Opteron processors are available worldwide immediately, with prices starting at only $99. Acer, Dell and HP designing servers that include the chips. Looking ahead, the company expects its forthcoming "Bulldozer" technology to succeed existing 4000-series CPUs.