This spring AMD released their new line of server and workstation processors, the Opteron 6100-series “Magny Cours” processors. Their previous Opteron products were lagging behind the competition from Intel, so a refresh was seriously needed. The 6100-series is not a complete re-design of the Opteron architecture, but it offers significant performance improvements and warrants serious consideration. Extremely cost-effective 48-core Opteron servers are shipping now.
These processors are designed for high-end workstations and servers, so they will compete against Intel’s Xeon processors. The same line of processors will go up against both the Xeon 5600-series and the Xeon 7500-series, which I analyzed earlier this year. This is a new twist, as both Intel and AMD have historically produced two separate lines of processors. With this release, AMD has designed the same processors to operate in both 2-socket and multi-socket SMP servers.
With a product this complex, it’s very difficult to cover every aspect of the design. I will be focusing primarily on the performance of the new processors, with a particular focus on HPC as that is the market with which I’m most familiar.