AMD bumps Opteron clock speed

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) introduced three higher-performing Opteron server processors Monday and announced the chips now support a fast memory standard.

The Opteron 148, 248, and 848 all run at 2.2GHz, a 200MHz increase over the clock speed of AMD’s x46 line of Opterons, said Gina Longoria, an Opteron product manager. The Opteron 248 is available immediately, while the other two chips will ship in December, she said.

The Opteron 148 costs US$733, and the Opteron 248 costs US$913, Longoria said. The Opteron 848 commands a much higher price of US$3,199, she said. All prices reflect the cost of the chip when purchased in quantities of 1,000 units.

AMD, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., now has four 64-bit Opteron chips available in each series. The 100 series is designed for one-way servers and workstations, the 200 series for two-way servers, and the 800 series for up to eight-way servers. All chips contain 1MB of Level 2 cache.

Currently, IBM Corp. is the only major server provider to offer a product using Opteron, but Sun Microsystems Inc. is expected to announce its support for Opteron during Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Scott McNealy’s keynote during Comdex on Monday.

Customers that purchase an Opteron server or workstation will now be able to use PC3200 (400MHz) DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) in those machines, Longoria said. PC3200 memory is used in many high-end PCs and workstations, but the longer validation time required for server products delayed AMD’s support for the standard on Opteron processors, she said.

The x46 series Opterons and the x48 series chips will support PC3200 memory, as well as all Opterons introduced after Monday, Longoria said.