Volume 8, Number 18 -- May 8, 2008

AMD Revises Opteron Roadmaps, Pushes Out Rev Gs

Published: May 8, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Hoping to build some confidence in its processor roadmaps, Advanced Micro Devices this week is talking more specifically about its Opteron and Athlon X64 processor plans between now and 2010. With the difficulties of the "Barcelona" quad-core Rev F Opterons for two-socket and larger machines behind it and the "Budapest" quad-core variants for single-socket boxes coming this quarter, AMD has taken a hard look at its roadmaps and made some important changes--changes that should improve its chances of keeping pace with a resurgent Intel.

What is immediately obvious after reviewing the new AMD processor roadmaps is that the eight-core "Sandtiger" Opteron processor, which was going to plug into the new Rev G socket, now known as the Socket G34, has been thrown onto the scrap heap. AMD first started talking about the Sandtiger kicker to the now-current Socket F1 Barcelona and Budapest chips last August, when it became clear that Barcelona was going to be delayed. Not only is the Sandtiger family of eight-core chips gone, but the Rev G socket that it was designed to plug into has been pushed out to 2010 from its original 2009 launch date (according to the roadmaps from last summer, anyway). It now becomes apparent why the heads in marketing and engineering have been rolling lately at AMD.

Many of the Sandtiger features are being put into the revised Opteron and Althon products, of course, and the transformation of the Sandtiger products into the new X64 chips is really AMD's desire to better hit the sweet spots in the server and workstation market in terms of core counts and clock frequencies than the eight-core Sandtiger family would have done. The lower core count will allow not only higher chip yields potentially--if AMD even decides to keep fabbing its own chips--but will also allow the clock cycles to be boosted. This is why Intel's future Xeon chips are moving to six cores per die, and AMD has little choice but to follow. And the same holds true--and many observers of the chip industry have noted--with AMD having to concede that multichip packaging, such as that pioneered by Hewlett-Packard for the Itaniums and then by Intel and IBM for their Xeon and Power processors to boost the performance per socket in their chips, is not always a bad idea if the chip is architected for it. (And, to Intel's credit and profit, maybe even if it isn't.)

Randy Allen, general manager of AMD's server and workstation division, didn't even mention the Sandtiger processor in his briefing with the IT press this week as he laid out the new chip roadmap, and AMD is not even issuing a press release about the roadmap even if it is putting the information out on its Web site. Allen said that the "Shanghai" kicker to Barcelona is on track for shipments at the end of this year as AMD transitions from the 65 nanometer processes used to manufacture the Barcelona and Budapest Opterons to a 45 nanometer immersion lithography technique that is going to allow AMD to boost its quad-core processor performance by about 20 percent compared to the current quad-cores. The Shanghai chips will have 6 MB of shared L3 cache (more than three times that of the Barcelonas) and 512 MB of L2 cache per core (double that of the Barcelonas). The AMD-V hardware assisted virtualization features are also being improved to allow for 25 percent faster virtual machine migrations inside a system. The Shanghai chips will support 800 MHz DDR2 main memory as well, which runs about 10 percent faster than the 667 MHz DDR2 main memory used with the Barcelonas. The Shanghai chips will also include support for the HT-3 HyperTransport interconnect, and will plug into the existing Socket F1 CPU sockets (formerly known as the Rev F socket or the Socket 1027). nVidia nForce 3050 and 3600 chipsets and Broadcom HT-1000 and HT-2100 chipsets will therefore support the Shanghai chips, just as they supported the dual-core "Santa Rosa" and quad-core Barcelona Rev F chips.

The Shanghai processors will be available in standard, Special Edition (SE for short, and meaning higher clock speed and much hotter temperature), and Highly Efficient (HE, and meaning lower voltage and therefore lower heat for a given clock speed) variants. Allen said that the Shanghai chips are sampling now to server and workstation partners, who are now doing their platform validation on the chips; he did not elaborate on what clock speeds the chips will run at.

With Sandtiger gone, AMD has to do something in 2009, and it is therefore going to extend the life of the Socket F1 and crank out a new monolithic, six-core chip code-named "Instanbul," which is expected to come to market in the second half of 2009. The addition of two more cores to the basic Shanghai design will be accompanied by a number of small tweaks, and while the extra cores could, in theory, deliver as much as a 50 percent boost in performance for heavily threaded applications, Allen is cautioning that customers should expect a something more in the range of 20 percent or so more oomph in the jump from Shanghai to Istanbul chips. (Incidentally, AMD's latest generation of X64 chips are all based on the cities where Formula One races are held.)

In the single-socket server and workstation space, 2009 is all about a kicker to Budapest called "Suzuka," which is a quad-core variant of the Shanghai core that will also be implemented in 45 nanometer technologies and that will very likely have higher clock speeds and will pull in support for DDR3 main memory. The Suzuka chip is expected in the second quarter of 2009, and will make use of AMD's RS780 chipset and its companion SB700S southbridge for I/O. It is not clear if nVidia or Broadcom will do chipsets, but they are not on the roadmaps, so they should mean something. The Suzuka chip will plug into "Catalunya" platforms, which is very likely a cut-down version of the Socket G34 chip socket. In this sense, the Suzuka is a beta test for the future Rev G chips for larger servers. Suzuka chips will probably have higher clock speeds than their brethren at the higher end of the server and workstation line, given the lower core count and the absence of multithreading for a lot of entry server and workstation applications.

For two-socket and larger servers, the first half of 2010 will see the reimplementation of the six-core Istanbul design in a chip called "San Paolo" that will sport a 12 MB L3 cache (twice that of Instanbul), DDR3 main memory, four-lane HT-3 HyperTransport links and a bunch of other features that will deliver what Allen calls "a modest performance boost" over the Istanbul chips. That sounds like maybe another 20 percent bump, maybe more if AMD can get yields on the 45 nanometer processes it is using to make the San Paolo chips. And for customers who have workloads that like threads, AMD will also debut its first two-chip packaging for a single CPU socket with a variant called "Magny-Cours," that will put two of these San Paolo chips in a single socket, for a total of 12 cores in the same thermal and power envelope as today's Barcelona equivalents. These 12-core packages will have lower clock speeds per core to stay in the same thermal envelopes and therefore offer customers a way to choose the best Opterons for their workloads.

The San Paolo and Magny-Cours Opterons will make use of AMD's "Maranello" platform, which has the G34 socket and which is implemented currently using AMD's RD870S and RD890S chipsets and the SB700S southbridge for I/O. The chipsets will support PCI Express 2.0 peripherals and will also sport electronics for virtualizing I/O through a feature called the I/O Memory Management Unit. This feature is akin to Intel's VT for Directed I/O feature on its Xeon processors and often called VT-d. IOMMU will extend support of virtualization in the Opteron chips from the instruction set with the AMD-V instructions out to I/O functions. This feature was originally expected with the now-defunct Sandtiger chips in 2009.


Server Makers Start Shipping Barcelona Boxes

AMD to Slash 10 Percent of Workforce Amid Sales Shortfall

Intel Talks Up X64, Itanium Roadmaps Ahead of IDF

AMD Says Barcelona Bug Is Fixed, Almost Ready to Ramp

AMD Stalled by a Bug in Barcelona Opterons

Intel Announces First "Penryn" Xeon Processors

AMD Gets Aggressive About Watts with Quad-Core Barcelonas

Chief Marketeer at AMD Quits Before Barcelona Launch

AMD's Chip Roadmaps: Beyond Barcelona

Intel Cranks Out Two More Quads, AMD Sets Barcelona Date

AMD Gooses Dual-Core Opteron Speeds, Cuts Prices

Intel Sets Up 'Tigerton' Xeon MPs Against Future Opterons

AMD Sets 'Barcelona' Quad-Core Opteron Launch for August

Intel Delivers Low-Power, Quad-Core Xeon Chips

AMD: Native Quad Core Opteron Will Best Intel Quasi Quads

Intel Delivers More Quad-Core Server and PC Chips

AMD Unveils Rev F Opterons, Prepares for Quad Cores in Mid-2007

                     Post this story to del.icio.us
               Post this story to Digg
    Post this story to Slashdot

Sponsored By

On Demand AIX Webcast

Next Generation Data Replication for AIX

Learn why data replication technologies
for AIX have reached new levels
of innovation and ease of use.

View the webcast now at

Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
Contact the Editors: To contact anyone on the IT Jungle Team
Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

Sponsored Links

COMMON:  Join us at the annual 2009 conference, April 26 - April 30, in Reno, Nevada
Vision Solutions:  Stop the Downtime Monkeys! Try Your Luck, Win Prizes!
NowWhatJobs.net:  NowWhatJobs.net is the resource for job transitions after age 40


IT Jungle Store Top Book Picks

Getting Started with PHP for i5/OS: List Price, $59.95
The System i RPG & RPG IV Tutorial and Lab Exercises: List Price, $59.95
The System i Pocket RPG & RPG IV Guide: List Price, $69.95
The iSeries Pocket Database Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket Developers' Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket SQL Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket Query Guide: List Price, $49.00
The iSeries Pocket WebFacing Primer: List Price, $39.00
Migrating to WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
iSeries Express Web Implementer's Guide: List Price, $59.00
Getting Started with WebSphere Development Studio for iSeries: List Price, $79.95
Getting Started With WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries: List Price, $89.00
Getting Started with WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
WebFacing Application Design and Development Guide: List Price, $55.00
Can the AS/400 Survive IBM?: List Price, $49.00
The All-Everything Machine: List Price, $29.95
Chip Wars: List Price, $29.95

The Four Hundred
IBM Previews "Blue Business" SMB System Sales Approach

Micro Focus to Acquire NetManage for $73.3 Million in Cash

Power Systems: The Feeds and Speeds

There's No i in Future, But Is There a Future in i?

IBM Cuts CPU Prices on Power5 and Power5+ Servers

The Linux Beacon
The Linux Ecosystem to More than Double to $49 Billion

IBM Goes Stateless and Cooler with iDataPlex Servers

IBM Previews "Blue Business" SMB System Sales Approach

As I See It: That Competitive Bug

Power Systems: The Feeds and Speeds

Four Hundred Stuff
GDCM Seeks to 'Defrag' the Data Center for Higher Efficiency

Bsafe Updates Security Tools for i OS

GeneXus Brings Web 2.0 Home with Version X

Terminix Overcomes Hurdle to New B2B System, Thanks to LANSA

NSPI Launches CBU as a Service Offering

Big Iron
Micro Focus to Acquire NetManage for $73.3 Million in Cash

Top Mainframe Stories From Around the Web

Chats, Webinars, Seminars, Shows, and Other Happenings

Four Hundred Guru
Accurate Program References

Replace the Contents of a Physical File That Has Triggers

Admin Alert: How to Recreate/Restore a System Distribution Directory

System i PTF Guide
May 3, 2008: Volume 10, Number 18

April 26, 2008: Volume 10, Number 17

April 19, 2008: Volume 10, Number 16

April 12, 2008: Volume 10, Number 15

April 5, 2008: Volume 10, Number 14

March 29, 2008: Volume 10, Number 13

The Windows Observer
Microsoft Withdraws Yahoo Bid, Won't Go Hostile

GDCM Seeks to 'Defrag' the Data Center for Higher Efficiency

Hey ASA: Microsoft Delivers New Automated Service Agent

The X Factor: Everybody Wants Citrix Systems?

SugarCRM Supports Smart Phones, Including Windows Mobile

Four Hundred Monitor
Four Hundred Monitor's
Full iSeries Events Calendar


Roaring Penguin
Vision Solutions
Canvas Systems
Guild Companies
Vibrant Technologies

Printer Friendly Version

Sun Delivers OpenSolaris Development Distro, Plus Support

AMD Revises Opteron Roadmaps, Pushes Out Rev Gs

IBM Loses Two Key Executives to Retirement--Really

GDCM Seeks to 'Defrag' the Data Center for Higher Efficiency

Power Systems: The Feeds and Speeds

But Wait, There's More:

IT Managers Are Under Pressure to Cut Costs, Says IDC . . . IBM Goes Stateless and Cooler with iDataPlex Servers . . . Avocent Adds Power Monitoring to DSView Server Management . . . Power 570 and 595 Servers to Get Hot Add and Repair for CPUs . . . SAP Profits Take a Whack as Business ByDesign Ramp Slowed . . .

The Unix Guardian


Subscription Information:
You can unsubscribe, change your email address, or sign up for any of IT Jungle's free e-newsletters through our Web site at http://www.itjungle.com/sub/subscribe.html.

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Guild Companies, Inc., 50 Park Terrace East, Suite 8F, New York, NY 10034

Privacy Statement