AMD launches low-power server processors to rival Intel's Atom

AMD has launched Opteron X-Series low-power server processors that it claims “beat the top-performing Intel Atom processor”

Chip maker AMD has launched a range of low-power server processors – the Opteron X-Series. These chips are high-density, power-efficient, small-core x86 processors that “beat the top-performing Intel Atom processor”, according to the company.

The x86 processors, previously named “Kyoto”, beat Intel’s Atom on key performance benchmark experiments conducted by AMD. The benchmarks included single thread and throughput performance. 

The chips also features twice the number of cores in Intel’s Atom and a more advanced pipeline architecture, higher integration and support for up to 32GB of DRAM – four times more than its rival processor, according to AMD.

“The datacentre is at an inflection point and requires a high number of cores in a dense form factor with integrated graphics, massive amounts of DRAM and unprecedented power efficiency to keep up with the pace of innovation of internet services,” said Andrew Feldman, corporate vice-president and general manager of the server business unit at AMD. 

“The Opteron X-Series processors challenge the status quo by providing unmatched capabilities to drive the most energy-efficient servers in the industry,” he added.

The new low-power chips are built for next-generation web and cloud applications, ranging from big data analytics to image processing, multimedia content delivery and hosting.

The processors come in two variants. The first is the AMD Opteron X2150, a server APU system-on-a-chip (SoC) integrating CPU and GPU engines. It consumes 11W of power and is designed for multimedia-oriented server workloads. It is available for $99 for 1,000 units.

The second variant – the AMD Opteron X1150 – is a CPU-only version designed for general scale-out workloads. It consumes 9W and is available for $64 for 1,000 units.

Comparatively, Intel’s Atom S1200 is available for $54 for 1,000 chips.

According to Paul Santeler, vice-president and general manager for the hyperscale server business segment at HP, the AMD Opteron X-Series processors integrated into future HP Moonshot servers will “push the boundaries of power efficiency for social, mobile, cloud and big data workloads”.

“Fundamental changes in computing architectures are required to support space, power and cost demands that organisations need to deliver compelling new infrastructure economics,” he said.

But the first production HP ProLiant Moonshot servers, shipped in April, are based on the 64-bit Intel Atom S1200 processor family.

Intel has announced that in the second half of 2013, HP Moonshot servers will feature also an entirely new generation of Intel Atom processors, codenamed Avoton.

According to AMD, the Opteron X-Series processors are currently the world’s first small-core x86 APUs and CPUs, rivalling Intel’s Atom.

Intel’s Avoton is built using 3D tri-gate 22nm transistors and new micro-architecture. The second generation of 64-bit server SoCs will provide a “significant increase in performance and performance per watt than the currently available Intel Atom S1200”, according to Intel.

The performance benchmark study between AMD Opteron X-Series and Intel Atom S1260

AMD Opteron X-Series

Intel Atom S1260

AMD Advantage 

x86 CPU cores


GPU cores

128 AMD Radeon HD 8000 Cores 


AMD Only 

Max. DRAM per socket




Max. DRAM speed




L2 Cache




Throughput performance

28.9 @ 2GHz (CPU) 

13.0 @ 2GHz 


Single thread performance

10.0 @ 2GHz (CPU) 

5.2 @ 2GHz 


Integrated SATA ports 



AMD only 




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