Cloud Computing, Enterprise, Hardware

AMD launches Opteron X-Series, Moving Jaguar into Servers

With the Opteron X-Series family, formerly codenamed Kyoto, AMD enters the market for microserver processors, which is aimed at scaleout workloads. Due the heritage of Kyoto, namely being another sibling of Kabini, it is a true SoC that also integrates the Fusion Controller Hub. After the launch of the embedded G-series APU and the consumer SKUs, now AMDs Jaguar architecture makes it’s way into servers.

Given that Intel’s only competition in this segment is the Atom S1200 series ?Centerton? processor, AMD is very bullish about it’s advantages. Twice the number of cores, more than double the throughput, four times the RAM (8GB on Intels S1200 series vs 32GB on AMDs X-series) and an APU model that comes with a integrated GPU that accelerates special workloads. The performance comparisons are based on the SPECint_rate2006 benchmark. While the current X-Series Opterons literally destroy Intels Xeon S1200, the real competitor will be based on Silvermont and is due out later this year.

The Opteron X-Series support up to DDR3-1600 memory with ECC. Only a single memory channel is supported though. Furthermore it integrates 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes, which are organized as one x4 and four x1 connections. The SoC also brings two USB 3.0 ports and eight USB 2.0 ports to the table. For storage, two Serial ATA ports are available.

Right now AMD launches two SKUs of Kyoto. The X1150 is a CPU with the GPU cores disabled, that brings four x86 cores that clock up to 2GHz. AMD actually notes that the clock frequency is configurable. That is also why it specifies the TDP in a range of 9 to 17W. The other model is the X2150. It clocks up to 1.9GHz but in addition also provides 128 GCN Radeon cores which can be used for GPGPU processing. The GPU also includes the function blocks that allow hardware-accelerated en- and decoding of video for multimedia workloads. The integrated GPU clocks in a range of 266MHz to 600MHz and is also configurable. The TDP range for this part is 11 to 22W. The X1150 costs $64, the X2150 $99 when purchased in 1000 unit quantities directly from AMD.

In a briefing for the press, AMDs Andrew Feldman explained that both models are based on the same die, but the GPU will be fused off for the X1150. This way it is easier to manage for AMD internally when the whole lineup, be it embedded, consumer or server chips, is based on the same basic piece of silicon.

Along with the announcement, AMD announced a design win in HPs Moonshot server program. Moonshot was launched earlier this year and is aimed at the growing microserver market. While not yet officially announced, we also got word from Andrew Feldman earlier that in fall those small core x86 processors will make their way into a product of AMD’s SeaMicro division.