"These Opteron offerings are for users who are most interested in maximum performance and are not concerned as much about wattage," said Steve Demski, AMD's Opteron product manager, "people who may have used high-end Unix systems and mainframes and want that kind of performance at a lower price point."
AMD also released quad-core processors for single-socket systems last week for applications that require a lot of data transfer and communication between processors.
In comparison, these quad-core processors designed for multiple-socket systems are best for applications that require a lot of memory or that perform more computing functions, rather than communications, according to Peter Ungaro, the CEO and president of Seattle-based Cray Inc., which uses various levels of AMD Opteron processors in its systems.
To be specific, workloads typically benefiting from four- and eight-socket server processing (the AMD 8000 series) include large databases, business processing systems (enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management) and business intelligence, as well as other IT infrastructure applications including heavy-duty Web serving and messaging, according to AMD.
AMD Opteron 2000 Series processors for two-socket systems are used for Web, file and print servers, Java application servers, and some email servers. Clustered two-socket systems are also frequently used for applications in the life sciences and oil and gas industries, and in other engineering applications.
Quad-core Opterons for one-socket systems (i.e., the AMD 1000 series) are typically used for Web serving, file and print needs, and other less CPU-intensive applications. Cray's supercomputing systems are unique in their use of single sockets, an AMD spokesperson said.
The new quad-core AMD Opteron SE processors use registered memory and can support up to eight memory sticks per CPU. The chips are available from global OEMs and vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc., Dell Inc. and IBM.
The new quad-core AMD Opteron processor models and prices are as follows: 2358 SE (with 2.4 GHz) is $873; 2360 SE (with 2.5 GHz) is $1,165; 8358 SE (with 2.4 GHz) is $1, 865, and 8360 SE (with 2.5 GHz) $2,149. The processors are widely available.
In addition, the new processors have set some benchmarks. They achieved the highest SAP-SD two-tier score in eight-socket x86 servers, and quad-core AMD Opteron SE processors also achieved the highest SPECfp_rate2006 scores in both two- and four-socket x86 servers among comparable x86 processors.