AMD Ups Opterons

New Opterons, cross range price cuts and a claimed victory over Intel. It's been a big day for AMD.

AMD has proved it is no shrinking violet over the 3GSM week with three announcements. The chip expert has revealed the availability of its latest Opteron processors, slashed prices of its server and consumer level products and claimed victory in the race to support the x86 virtual machine monitoring software, Xen.


The new Opteron CPUs are the 152, 252 and 852 which are squarely aimed at the workstation/server market targeting one, two and up to eight way machines respectively. The new chips, still processed at 90nm but featuring a new core, add support for Intel’s SSE3 instruction set and its own PowerNow! power conversation technology. The move from AMD to incorporate PowerNow! into the Opteron range lags behind Intel, who added Speedstep to its line of Xeons last summer. All three processors run with a 1GHz frontside bus and are clocked at 2.6GHz.

AMD quotes prices for the 152, 252 and 852 of $637, $851 and $1514 respectively. Allied to this release is the news that PCI-X 2.0 support has been added to the Opteron range with the annoucement of the company’s 8132 HyperTransport tunnel chip.


Now the nicest element to any new processor release is the knock on effect it has on existing market chips. Only a small proportion of the market buys at the very top end, instead looking for the “sweet spot” further down the range. With this is mind, it was good to see AMD hack into its existing prices by as much as 35 per cent on both business and consumer aimed processors. A full revised price list is available on its main site. Prices are understandably in dollars, but expect to see the fallout of these cuts for the UK market in the next few days.

Finally, in what has been a busy day for the Sunnyvale based business, AMD claims it has beaten Intel to enabling support for Xen emulation software on both its 32 and 64 bit processors. Developed by Xensource, Xen is a vital piece of development software which enables a machine to run multiple operating systems simultaneously whilst hiding them perfectly from one another.


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