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AMD Opteron 3200 targets cost-conscious hosting providers

AMD’s latest server processor line is aimed at dedicated hosting providers that value price over performance and power efficiency.

AMD filled out its line of server processors today with the Opteron 3200 series that’s optimized for cost, rather than power efficiency and performance like the Opteron 4200 and 6200 series.

Announced to coincide with WorldHostingDays 2012 in Germany, the models in the Opteron 3200 family are targeted at single-processor systems – the kind used by dedicated hosting providers.

The three models come with four or eight cores, have a max clock speed of 2.7GHz, a processor TDP range of 45 – 65 watts and SPECint performance of 75 to 117.

Those aren’t very impressive numbers but with pricing for 1,000 units at $99 to $229, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) hopes to appeal to dedicated hosting providers that might otherwise consider competitor Intel Corp.’s Xeon E3s or desktop-class processors.

These Opterons don’t have a lot of cores because “Web hosters don’t need a lot of cores,” said Michael Detwiler, AMD product marketing manager. Detwiler added that while Web hosters value power – “it’s not all about power.”

 “Web hosters are looking for a server-class product at a desktop price point,” Detwiler said.

AMD differentiates between desktop and server class systems by adding support for ECC memory for greater reliability, and subjects its server processors to more rigorous server validation and test flow processes to match with hosting providers’ longer purchasing lifecycles, Detwiler said.

AMD estimates that chips designed for single processor (1P) servers make up about 20% of the total server processor market overall, 2P systems make up 75% of the market, while high-end 4P and larger systems make up just 5% of the market.

While AMD’s share of the overall PC microprocessor market is increasing, its share of the server processor market declined in 2011 from 7% to 5.5%, according to IDC Corp., with the remainder going to Intel.

One way AMD hopes to bolster its server processor business is by including the Opteron 3200s in upcoming microservers by SeaMicro, which AMD acquired last month.

Before the acquisition, SeaMicro’s designs came with either Intel Atom or Intel Xeon E3 processors. Under the new ownership, AMD will bundle the SeaMicro fabric interconnect technology with AMD chips and leave system design to partners.

“AMD doesn’t want to produce the cards,” Detwiler said. Instead, “we will sell [partners] the silicon that they can integrate in to a server card.”

Detwiler said to expect AMD-branded SeaMicro systems this calendar year.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, Executive Editor at, or follow @aebarrett on twitter.

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