Print 24 comment(s) - last by maroon1.. on Jun 2 at 7:25 AM

AMD beat its time to market estimates for "Istanbul"

The sluggish global economy has meant that not only were consumer computer sales down, but sales in the enterprise computing space for servers and data center computers were down significantly as well. The only thing for chipmakers like AMD and Intel to move ahead with new processors that offer more performance with power savings that help offset the cost of upgrading to new hardware.

Last week, Intel previewed its 8-core Nehalem EX server CPUs set to launch in the second half of 2009. AMD is now hitting the market with its new high-end 6-core x86 server processors codenamed Istanbul. The Istanbul Opteron processor is aimed at server markets with four or more sockets. AMD points out that the Istanbul processors are ready to go now, months before Intel is expected to begin shipping its Nehalem EX CPUs.

AMD's Istanbul CPUs are expected to start shipping this week and many of the top OEMs will be rolling out server systems powered by Istanbul processors. AMD was able to beat its original time to market estimation for Istanbul, something that will go a long way towards erasing memories of the troubled launch of the AMD Barcelona line of processors.

AMD reports that the Istanbul processors will give users a 30% increase in performance per watt with an overall performance improvement of 40 to 50% all within the same price and thermal envelope of its predecessor.

The Istanbul processors also come with other new technologies like HT Assist. AMD's John Fruehe wrote in a blog post, "[HT Assist] can give you much better throughput over the HyperTransport technology connections by reducing the amount of traffic generated by the processors in seeking the shortest path to data that they need."

HT Assist is a feature eWeek reports will make servers using the new technology more appealing to companies in the high performance computing space.

Analyst John Spooner from Technology Business research said, "The trend we're seeing is that there is a certain percentage of customers who are looking to scale down from a RISC/Itanium/mainframe-type machines to the high end of the x86 market. These customers are moving into top-of-the-line four-way and higher x86 servers."

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Good Start
By inighthawki on 6/1/2009 11:33:27 AM , Rating: 5
Looks like AMD is getting a good start.
AMD reports that the Istanbul processors will give users a 30% increase in performance per watt with an overall performance improvement of 40 to 50% all within the same price and thermal envelope of its predecessor.

Let's see some benchmarks and how it holds up against Intel's current set. Hopefully this will help AMD get back in the game, they've been doing pretty well recently

RE: Good Start
By Motoman on 6/1/2009 11:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a big AMD fan.

But I'm not holding my breath until I see some benchmarks.

RE: Good Start
By amanojaku on 6/1/2009 12:04:32 PM , Rating: 5
Raw MHz performance isn't the only reason to get a CPU these days, even in the datacenter. Considering the average modern CPU is only 5%-10% utilized (Gartner group estimates, confirmed by my own evaluations as a virtualization consultant) most systems don't need high performance. This is one of the reasons multicore CPUs have lower MHz speeds than their counterparts with less or one core. Of course, newer cores with less MHz can outperform the older cores with more MHz due to architecture changes, but I digress.

Anyway, more datacenters need to utilize less power, and that is a major strength of modern CPUs. Second, virtualization is here to stay, and multiple cores and generally more useful than faster cores in this area. This is why the AMD vs. Intel MHz war has taken a backseat to the cores and power consumption wars.

RE: Good Start
By Amiga500 on 6/1/2009 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder what the breakdown of CPU sales is for datacentres vs. HPC (across the 2/4/8 skt areas).

A HPC would be much more biased towards speed as CPU utilisation would be well up.

RE: Good Start
By Motoman on 6/1/2009 12:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
The purchasing decision is going to be made based on performance, efficiency, and price as a combined function.

Or, more likely, people just buy whatever Dell tells them to.

But in the interest of winning the performace/efficiency/price function, I'm still not holding my breath.

RE: Good Start
By icanhascpu on 6/1/2009 3:42:30 PM , Rating: 1
Considering the average modern CPU is only 5%-10% utilized

Thats a bunch of horse poop. Considering that people only care about when they need the processing power is the only time it really matters, and when they are actively using it its usually at 50%-100% utilization, I would say your numbers are highly impractical.

Sure, if a 386 could sit at 100% for a week, then when I want to use it it would magically burst out a saved up chunk of processing time it saved up, that would be GREAT! But things dont work like that here in the 4th+ dimension.

RE: Good Start
By MonkeyPaw on 6/1/2009 1:09:01 PM , Rating: 5
But I'm not holding my breath until I see some benchmarks.

RE: Good Start
By spkay on 6/1/2009 10:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
Good review from AT as always. Interesting that this CPU is better at more computationally demanding virtualized apps, which seems a little unexpected, but nice for AMD. Now if the price is competitive with the high end 4P Intel CPU's then AMD seems to have a chance to gain some server mkt share with this chip.

RE: Good Start
By atlmann10 on 6/1/2009 12:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
I am just happy to see AMD getting off there A77. I have been an AMD fan for quite some time. However, performance is still king in all regards. Therefore, if the price/performance level are not very positive there pointless.

The I7 is nice and is definitely something to compete with. Even though the performance level on them is great, is it at a level one across the platform. No to me it is not because the level of performance and the price of components (specifically) and the motherboards wash that out.

A core2 quad and the top Phenom2 (AM2/3) units are close enough to make the I7 debatable. But at a tolerable price level they win. So either you can upgrade to I7 or the top end AMD (soon to be released) for around the same price. The base of your system also has to be tolerable to make it an attractive offer. In that debate if you can get a six core opteron at roughly the same price as a bottom I7, it is very attractive and has 2 more cores.

RE: Good Start
By FaceMaster on 6/1/2009 2:53:56 PM , Rating: 3
there A77

their A55? I'm not trying to be a spelling Nazi, I just want to know what 'there A77' means. Sounds like a British road title.

RE: Good Start
By amanojaku on 6/1/2009 3:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
A77 = @$$ = AZZ

RE: Good Start
By maroon1 on 6/2/09, Rating: -1
"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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