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AMD demos six-core Istanbul Opteron server chip

by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 February 2009, 14:25


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Intel's new Nehalem-based Xeon CPUs have garnered much press attention in recent weeks, especially with the octo-core Nehalem EX confirmed as the high-end enterprise-class processor. Follow that with the 32nm announcement and you may begin to wonder how AMD will compete in the next 12-24 months.

Looking back at the roadmap that we published back in May of last year, AMD's many-core riposte was to come in the form of the six-core Istanbul Opteron, ostensibly based on Shanghai, to be released in H2 2009. It'll ship with the same 6MB L3 cache, registered DDR2 memory support, and HyperTransport 3, as well as the usual virtualisation goodies.

AMD's been showcasing the six-core Istanbul at its Austin, Texas campus, and the folks over at The Tech Report got the skinny. Here's a picture they grabbed of a quad-socket box with, well, four Istanbul CPUs inside.

Image from Tech Report

24 cores purring along, producing a Stream memory-bandwidth score of around 42GB/s, it is claimed. 

AMD keeps the Socket-F platform alive and users of present Opteron boards should be able to transition over to Istanbul with a BIOS update on the majority of boards.

At least this chip hasn't done a disappearing act from the roadmap, as the eight-core 'Montreal' did a while back.

Question is, will AMD bring the technology down from server to the desktop in the form of a Phenom FX?

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Check out two videos of Istanbul's demos on AMD's YouTub channel.