AMD boosts Athlon MP server chip

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has added more cache to its Athlon MP processor line.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has added more cache to its Athlon MP processor line.

The Athlon MP 2800+ features 512Kbytes of Level 2 cache, double the amount found on previous Athlon MP chips. Larger amounts of cache allow a larger amount of frequently accessed instructions to be stored close to the CPU, decreasing the time needed to access those instructions.

Under its model-number rating scheme, AMD was able to increase the performance rating of the chip, even though the company kept the clock speed of this chip at 2.133GHz, the same as the Athlon MP 2600+.

Much of AMD's recent attention to the server market has been behind its brand-new Opteron chip, which is the company's highest performing 32-bit processor as well as its only 64-bit processor. Opteron can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications on the same processor using extensions to the x86 instruction set.

But Opteron requires a totally new hardware design for its chipsets and motherboards, while the Athlon MP is based on the Socket A infrastructure, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64. AMD's chipset and motherboard partners have had to develop brand new designs for Opteron, while they can use older designs for the Athlon MP line.

Brookwood said customers wary of moving to untested technology might prefer the Athlon MP 2800+, which is a cost-effective product for number-crunching applications.

The chip is priced at $275 (£170) in quantities of 1,000 units. It will be available immediately in servers from system builders worldwide.

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