AMD's Shanghai chips appearing at resellers

October 30, 2008 // 1:55 p.m.

Tags: #amd #cpu #opteron #processor #server #shanghai #xeon

If you're still waiting for AMD's answer to the current offerings from market leader Intel, you might be one step closer to being satisfied today.

According to CNet, the first 45-nanometre server chip to come out of AMD – the quad-core 'Shanghai' Opteron processor – is starting to see availability at selected resellers, despite not officially launching until 13th of November.

The processor ranges – Opteron 837X and 838X – don't come cheap, however: the relatively high-end 8384 model, which features quad 2.7GHz processing cores and takes a surprisingly low power draw of 75 watts, is listed on reseller's sites for a whopping $2,350 (£1,443) per chip.

The good news is that as well as a quartet of cores in a low-power package, your hard-earned money also nabs you 6MB of L2 cache compared to the 2MB available on AMD's previous 'Barcelona' quad-core chips. Improvements in the amount of work the chip does per processing cycle combine with the increased cache to offer a promised 20 percent speed boost over a similarly clocked Barcelona chip. AMD is also enabling the HyperTransport 3.0 interconnect on new Opteron systems, with the first systems certified for the technology due early next year.

While AMD will be hoping that the introduction of the new 45nm chips will help regain ground lost to rival Intel's Xeon range, the company has a way to go: after the debaclé that was the eight-month delay to the previous generation Barcelona chip, expectations are high and it's important that AMD delivers on its promises this time round: the server market has a long memory, after all.

Are you hoping that this could be the sign that AMD are finally starting to be competitive with Intel again, or will you believe it when you see benchmarks for Shanghai-based systems? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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