Four Benefits of AMD's ‘Istanbul’ Six-Core Opteron

The release of the 40-watt 6-core Opteron CPU, codenamed ‘Istanbul’, from AMD means servers with more processing horsepower and less power consumption. Businesses will be able to do more, spend less, and save the environment all at the same time.

AMD is still the processor underdog, but it continues to battle Intel for market share. It’s a steep climb to compete against the market dominance that Intel has established, but AMD has continued to drive innovation and keep Intel on its toes.

The ‘Istanbul’- AMD’s codename for the new 40-watt, 6-core, Opteron processor- moves the bar by delivering lower power consumption without sacrificing on capabilities like Intel did to achieve the 40-watt Xeon.

Here are four key benefits of the AMD ‘Istanbul’ processors:

· Leaner. Servers take up space. Data centers, or server rooms for smaller organizations, occupy a fair amount of real estate. Implementing 6-core CPU’s allows businesses to get the same server capacity with one-sixth of the physical servers. That also means being able to dedicate 80% less office real estate to housing the servers.

· Meaner. Assuming the data center or server room already exists, it takes up the space it takes up. Using fewer servers won’t move the walls and make the room smaller. But, looked at in reverse, deploying servers armed with 6-core CPU’s into the same amount of physical space or physical servers lets businesses achieve 6 times the processing capacity from the same investment in real estate and hardware.

· Greener. This is the big one for the newest ‘Istanbul’. AMD already had 6-core Opteron processors operating at 75 and 55 watts. The 40-watt 6-core Opteron delivers the same processing capacity with about 30% less power consumption. The lower power consumption also translates to less heat output which means less server room cooling is required, so there is a cumulative domino-effect to the benefits as well.

· Cheaper. This is sort of the combined effect of the other three. The bottom line is that companies can get 6-times the processing power into the same space, or accomplish the same processing capacity in one-sixth of the space. They can do that while cutting power consumption by 30% and reducing the need for cooling which cuts the electric bill even farther.

Intel has 40-watt processors as well. However, Intel made sacrifices in performance and functionality to achieve the lower power consumption. The Intel Xeon L5506 processors have reduced memory and bus speed, and do not include Intel’s HyperThreading or TurboBoost capabilities.

By contrast, the AMD ‘Istanbul’ is able to deliver reach the 40-watt goal while retaining high memory speed, and the AMD-P (power management) and AMD-V (virtualization) functionality. Servers built on the AMD ‘Istanbul’ can also use DDR2 memory which is cheaper than the DDR3 memory required by the Intel CPU.

Intel and AMD will continue to leapfrog each other and move the processing bar. Behind the headlines about advances in 6-core CPU’s, the two processor titans continue research and development of 8, 12, and even 16-core processors. The more processing capacity that can be squeezed into a single physical server, especially combined with lower power-consumption, the more companies can achieve with less space, less money, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Tony Bradley is an information security and unified communications expert with more than a decade of enterprise IT experience. He tweets as @PCSecurityNews and provides tips, advice and reviews on information security and unified communications technologies on his site at tonybradley.com .

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