AMD chip enables growth without power overheads

AMD's next-generation quad-core AMD Opteron server processor, code-named Barcelona, promises to address power and cooling issues affecting datacentre expansion.

AMD's next-generation quad-core AMD Opteron server processor, code-named Barcelona, promises to address power and cooling issues affecting datacentre expansion.

Due out in September, AMD's Barcelona chip could provide IT managers with a way to expand a ­datacentre without increasing power and cooling requirements.

AMD said the processor operates at 68 watts - the same power as its previous dual-core processor - yet it boasts a 50% improvement in floating point performance, and a 20% gain in integer performance. Furthermore, existing dual-core Opeteron servers can be upgraded to the new chip.

Bruce Shaw, director of worldwide marketing at AMD, said, "Performance improves with no ­additional power and cooling ­requirements."

He added that AMD staff were able to install the Barcelona processor in users' existing systems and upgrade the server's Bios in about 10 minutes.

To reduce power requirements, each processor core can be run independently at different frequencies. AMD has also provided dual dynamic power management and independent voltage planes for processor cores and the memory controller, which it said helps to reduces processor energy consumption by enabling more granular power management capabilities.

Essentially, each processor core is able to operate at reduced power consumption levels while the memory controller continues to run at full speed. AMD said this not only reduces the processor's power consumption, it allows memory speeds to be increased, which boosts overall performance.

In addition, AMD's Coolcore technology is used to reduce processor energy consumption by turning off unused parts of the processor.

Shaw said, "100 racks of dual-core servers with 8,000 cores can be upgraded to 16,000 cores, giving an improvement in performance of between 40% and 70%, with no need for additional cooling or power."

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