AMD is making steps towards fulfilling its promise of 12-core CPUs in 2010 with the launch of six-core Opteron 'Istanbul' server processors. AMD says the new CPUs are good for two-, four- and eight-socket configurations and offer a 34 per cent performance-per-watt improvement over its previous generation, quad core Opteron processors.
These six-core Opterons are AMD's first processors using its Direct Connect architecture, and HyperTransport technology is claimed to offer up to 60 per cent more memory bandwidth than the last generation processors. AMD-V virtualization and AMD-P power management technologies are on call, too.
Interestingly, unlike other AMD - and rival - processors, the six-core Opterons have a DDR2 memory controller, rather than DDR3. There is a certain logic to that, however, as DDR2 is a lot cheaper than DDR3 and as such will lower the total cost of ownership of an AMD platform.
The processors should be available from the beginning this month both at retail and in server systems from OEMs including Dell, HP, IBM and their ilk.