AMD Cranks Up Speed of Low Power AMD Opteron Chips

@ 2005/03/23
Advanced Micro Devices introduced its new AMD Opteron microprocessor for 2-way servers or workstations designed to fit into 55W thermal envelope at the Server Blade Summit 2005 in Santa Clara, California. The new chip is first of its kind to be made using 90nm process technology and features several enhancements compared to the predecessors.

AMD Intros Opteron HE Made at 90nm Nodes

The new AMD Opteron processor 248 HE intended 2-way applications is clocked at 2.20GHz, incorporates dual-channel PC3200 memory controller, 1MB of cache and SSE3 technology. The chip is designed for Socket 940 infrastructure with thermal envelope of 55W, just like all AMD Opteron processors with HE moniker. Among the improvements over the previous generation HE products, the new chip features 1000MHz HyperTransport bus and SSE3 software instruction set in addition to minor micro-architectural tweaks.

AMD Opteron 248 HE is produced using 90nm Silicon-on-Insulator process technology in the company’s Fab 30 facility in Dresden, Germany. The chip’s core voltage is 1.4V, amperage is 38.1A, maximum thermal power is 55W.

According to AMD Opteron Processor Quick Reference Guide, Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices ships two flavours of AMD Opteron 248 HE with Ordering Part Numbers (OPNs) OSK248BLBOX and OSK248FAA5BL. Still, according to AMD Opteron Processor Model Numbers and Features Comparison there can be different flavours of AMD Opteron processor 248 HE, which are produced using 130nm process technology, feature 800MHz HyperTransport bus and do not sport SSE3 technology.

AMD Addresses Power Consumption

AMD also ships AMD Opteron processors produced using 90nm process technology with 67.1W and 92.6W power consumption.

Later during the quarter AMD and its server partners are expected to enable AMD PowerNow! technology and Optimized Power Management for servers and workstations based on AMD Opteron chips. The integration of AMD PowerNow! technology with OPM can reduce power consumption in the datacenter by dynamically changing power states based on workload utilization. While AMD claims its processors with PowerNow! technology can reduce power consumption by up to 80% when the capability is enabled, the company does not give away much details and exact power consumption numbers.

In addition, AMD has AMD Opteron EE product lineup with 30W power envelope.

Compatible with Existing Servers

The new AMD Opteron processors, including AMD Opteron 248 HE, are compatible with existing servers or workstation platforms as long as the mainboard has a BIOS version that supports the new revision E4 of the Opteron. While previous-generation platforms based on AMD8000-series chipset will only work with the new chips at 800MHz HyperTransport speed, the new applications based on NVIDIA nForce Professional or ServerWorks HT2000 chipsets fully support the new 1000MHz HT bus.

AMD has at least one design win with the Opteron 248 HE – with servers from Rackable Systems.

“As one of the early adopters of the low-power AMD Opteron™ processors Model HE, Rackable Systems is pleased to offer our customers the next generation of low-wattage solutions,” said Giovanni Coglitore, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Rackable Systems.

At press time pricing and availability factors of the AMD Opteron 248 HE were unclear. Currently AMD offers top-of-the-range HE chip at $455.

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