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AMD Aims Opteron X-Series CPUs at Cloud Data Centers

Today, AMD took the wraps off its new line of Opteron X-Series low-power processors that the company hopes will pave new inroads to the blisteringly hot cloud infrastructure market.

Codenamed "Kyoto" and based on the 64-bit, multi-core "Jaguar" microarchitecture that will make an appearance later this year in the next-generation Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation video game consoles, the new X1150 and X215 chips are poised to do battle with Atom in the cloud server race.

AMD boasts that the new processors "are the highest density, most power-efficient small-core x86 processors ever built."

According to the company, the Operton X-Series processors top Intel's best Atom processor in practically every respect, including core count, L2 cache and throughput performance. In addition, the AMD processors support up to 32 GB of DRAM per socket, four times what the Atom S1260 can handle.

The Opteron X2150 has the distinction of being the first server APU (accelerated processing unit) system-on-a-chip (SoC), says the chipmaker. AMD's APU technology is a hybrid technology comprised of CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) silicon on a single die.

AMD KyotoIn the case of the X2150, that means four 64-bit x86 CPU cores and 128 Radeon HD 8000 GPU cores. Aimed at "multimedia-oriented server workloads," the X2150 operates at 1.9 GHz and consumes as little as 11 watts of power or as much as 22 watts.

The X1150 is the CPU-only variant. Save for its lack of GPU cores, the Opteron X1150 differs slightly from the X2150 in speed (2 GHz versus 1.9 GHz) and power consumption ratings (9 watts - 17 watts versus 11 watts - 22 watts).

AMD envisions that the processors will power scale-out web and cloud applications, including Big Data analytics and image processing. In a statement, Andrew Feldman, corporate vice president and general manager for AMD's Server Business Unit, asserted, "The data center is at an inflection point and requires a high number of cores in a dense form factor with integrated graphics, massive amounts of DRAM and unprecedented power efficiency to keep up with the pace of innovation of Internet services."

HP's Paul Santeler, vice president and general manager of the company's Hyperscale Server unit, revealed that his company already has plans for AMD's Opteron X-Series. "The new x86 AMD Opteron X-Series processors integrated into future HP Moonshot servers will continue to push the boundaries of power efficiency for social, mobile, cloud and big data workloads," he stated in company remarks.

Moonshot is HP's stab at the burgeoning market for cloud- and web-centric server architectures that pack dozens of low-power x86 and ARM-based processors into a server enclosure, resulting in extreme compute density and high levels of energy efficiency compared to traditional servers.

It's an approach that was pioneered by startups like Calxeda, an HP partner, and SeaMicro, which was acquired by AMD, and has been adopted by industry influencers like Google and Mozilla.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on May 29, 2013
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