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Shanghai is set to erase "Barcelona" memories

The once gleaming AMD name was tarnished in many minds when the company launched its Barcelona CPUs. Barcelona was plagued from the start with poor performance and poor availability leading many to jump the AMD fence for the greener pastures offered by Intel.

AMD announced today that its Shanghai quad-core Opteron processors are now available. The new Shanghai platform is optimized for virtualization, live migration capability, and promises up to a 40% improvement in virtualization performance.

In addition to improved virtualization performance, AMD also says that the new 45nm Shanghai parts will deliver up to 35% more performance and up to a 35% decrease in power consumption at idle.

AMD senior vice president for Computing Solutions Group Randy Allen said in a statement, "Flawless execution in bringing the 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor to market early results in new performance leadership on x86 servers. In concert with our OEM and solution provider partners, AMD is addressing the need for enterprises to focus on their bottom line while giving them the innovations they need to build for the future.

“This enhanced AMD Opteron processor represents the most dramatic performance and performance-per-watt increases for AMD products since the introduction of the world’s first x86 dual-core processors by AMD nearly four years ago. Simply put, the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor is the right technology at the right time.”

It's important to note that Shanghai isn’t a completely new architecture and is more a refresh of Barcelona, which was a 65nm CPU. Processors available today include 75-watt Shanghai parts running at clock speeds from 2.3GHz to 2.7GHz. All of the CPUs have a much larger 6MB L3 cache to support memory-intensive applications like Java and virtualization.

The chips support DDR2-800 memory, which AMD says is more energy efficient than fully buffered RAM. AMD also has enhancements to the AMD Direct Connect Architecture with coherent HyperTransport 3.0 technology in the pipeline for Q2 2009. The update will provide up to 17.6GB/s of bandwidth for processor-to-processor communications.

The new Shanghai parts that AMD launched today are not the last coming in the line. In Q1 2009 AMD will launch a 55-watt Opteron and a SE 105-watt part. Many sever makers will be offering servers using the new 75-watt Opteron parts starting today, one of which is HP.

HP's Paul Gottsegen, VP of marketing for Industry Standard Servers said in a statement, "Customers can drive down costs through new Shanghai-based HP ProLiant servers that set new levels of power efficiency and performance. HP has experienced unparalleled success over the past four years working with AMD in bringing AMD Opteron processor-based platforms to customers of all sizes. Early results indicate Shanghai is a winner."

CNET News reports that AMD also has a new desktop platform codenamed Dragon on the roadmap for Q1 2009. Dragon will use 45nm Shanghai desktop CPUs in conjunction with AMD 700 Series chipsets and ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics. Whether or not the Shanghai-based Dragon platform can compete with Intel's new Core i7 X58 chipset duo remains to be seen, it's good to see AMD trying to mount a comeback. AMD is working hard to prevent another plagued launch like it executed for Barcelona.

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By therealnickdanger on 11/13/2008 11:25:46 AM , Rating: 2
AT's review is promising. It seems to deliver a dramatic improvement in PPW over Intel's current offerings. It will be interesting to see how Intel counters this (if they can).

RE: Anandtech
By excelsium on 11/13/2008 11:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
What about desktop parts?

RE: Anandtech
By omnicronx on 11/13/2008 12:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
AMD has some latency issues to deal with (thanks to the L3 cache) before they can compete with Intel on the desktop market. Apparently its faster than before even with the 4MB cache increase, but its still not going to be able to compete with Intel in desktop environment unless they figure something out.

RE: Anandtech
By rs1 on 11/13/2008 2:44:59 PM , Rating: 4
Speculation is fine, but what I'd really like to see are benchmarks to either confirm or refute this.

RE: Anandtech
By SilentSin on 11/13/2008 3:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
Saw these benches over on the [H] forums:

Bench: Sissoft Sandra 2009 - Intercore Latency
AMD Opteron 2384: 107ns
AMD Opteron 2356: 164ns
Intel Xeon X5470 104ns
Intel Xeon L5430: 101ns

Bench: Sissoft Sandra 2009 - Memory Bandwidth
AMD Opteron 2384: 20.41 Gbit/s
AMD Opteron 2356: 17.75 Gbit/s
Intel Xeon X5470: 4.05 Gbit/s
Intel Xeon L5430: 4.05 Gbit/s

Bench: Sissoft Sandra 2009 - Memory Latency
AMD Opteron 2384: 105 ns
AMD Opteron 2356: 118 ns
Intel Xeon X5470: 126 ns
Intel Xeon L5430: 127 ns

Looks like latency has been decreased across the board, especially in the intercore department. Will be interesting to see socket-to-socket latency improvements once HT3.0 is unlocked.

Source: someone mentions they were originally at xtremesystems but I couldn't find that post.

RE: Anandtech
By Samus on 11/13/2008 8:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
considering the architecture and the latency (huge improvement) i'd guess the new prefetch algorithms are somewhat superior to intel's...

RE: Anandtech
By Cypherdude1 on 11/14/08, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By Cobra Commander on 11/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Anandtech
By teldar on 11/13/2008 12:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
They're talking systems use.
The fact that Intel systems all use FB means that while the CPU may not make huge strides, AMD's systems still use less power intensive memory, giving electricity savings.

And this is the sum of the parts. It may be less dramatic when the individual parts are factored.


RE: Anandtech
By omnicronx on 11/13/2008 12:51:48 PM , Rating: 4
In the server market, its the bottom line that matters. People could care less where the savings are coming from, as long as it consumes less power in total.

RE: Anandtech
By Cobra Commander on 11/13/2008 2:08:00 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not asking what DT is talking about I wanted to ensure I understood what this fellow was talking about, that's why I replied to him/her and said "YOU". ;-)

But to counter one of your claims, it is not FACT that ALL Intel systems use FB-DIMMs. That is utterly FALSE. Some HP Servers (ProLiant DL120 and DL320 for example) are available in Unbuffered or Unbuffered/ECC configurations.

Point stands it's not a great review IMO.

RE: Anandtech
By King of Heroes on 11/13/2008 12:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
I hope that improvement trickles down to the Deneb chips. I've always used AMD systems up until last year when I built my first Intel-based system. I'm still on the fence whether to upgrade to a Penryn quad for Christmas or build a new AMD system.

RE: Anandtech
By omnicronx on 11/13/2008 12:46:55 PM , Rating: 2

VMware scores are even better, shanghai seems to destroy anything Intel has to offer in terms of virtualization.

AMD may well have a winner here, they should easily be able to take a large portion of the server market with these chips.

RE: Anandtech
By King of Heroes on 11/13/2008 1:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't AMD supposed to start manufacturing their own server chipsets soon? I thought I read a while back that they were having problems with 3rd party board makers not implementing new standards fast enough (Like HyperTransport 3.0), and so they would be producing boards under their own brandname (like with 780G, 790GX, etc) like Intel has been doing for a while.

If this chip performs as well as its looking, along with the above, there could be another HD4800-esque revolution.

RE: Anandtech
By FaceMaster on 11/13/08, Rating: -1
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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