Forget that six-core Gulftown Core i7. There’s a new Intel Xeon chip on the way with a whopping eight cores of processing goodness. Surely you can utilize eight cores in your home system, right? Well, maybe not, but the Nehalem-EX chip is likely to spice things up in the server sector when it launches later this month.
The Nehalem-EX will be a Xeon part built on Intel’s 45nm process technology. The chip will have hyperthreading, meaning up to 16 threads per processor. Clock speed is currently unknown. Being a server part, scalability is important and the Nehalem-EX won’t disappoint here. Thanks to the 4QPI links per chip, the new part will be scalable to eight sockets. So that’s 64 physical cores, or 128 threads. We’re pretty sure the benefits for Crysis 2 drop off around 48 cores or so.
Intel is promising big performance gains over the previous generation of Xeons, with nine times the memory bandwidth of the old chips. The part seems aimed at holding back AMD’s Magny-Cours six-core server parts due out soon. One way or another, servers are about to get a lot faster.
It’s a pretty good question, and we really don’t have a ton of ideas. There might not be a lot of real world use cases for a 48-core setup, but maybe you could come up with a few if the price was right. Like for instance, if AMD would give you those 48 cores if you came up with a good one. Well, that’s just what they’re doing.
AMD wants people to submit essays, videos, or blog posts explaining how they’d use a monster 48 core server to “make the world a better, more interesting place”. The contest is seemingly meant to promote the upcoming Magny-Cours based Opteron CPUs AMD will be releasing this quarter. If you can come up with the best idea, AMD will provide you with four new AMD Opteron 6174 12-core CPUs, a TYAN S8812 motherboard, and a copy of Windows Server 2008.
So what'll it be? Super powered Folding@home box to cure cancer? Rendering farm for underprivileged, inner-city video producers? Check out the full rules here before you formulate any plans. Anyone planning on submitting an entry? Drop us a line if you win…
It turns out that AMD is being downright sneaky about the launch of their next generation Magny-Cours server class CPUs. Some recent reports indicated that the 12-core chips, officially called the Opteron 6100 series, were shipping out to OEMs. AMD’s Product Manager for Server/Workstation John Fruehe finally came clean and admitted that the new server parts have been shipping since earlier in February. He also said that full scale production was underway, but no announcements were being made at this time.
This news certainly helps to explain where the set of Magny-Cours processors on eBay came from. AMD is most likely looking to get the new chips out the door to combat Intel’s anticipated 6-core Xeons. No official pricing for the Opteron 6100s has been announced, but the set on eBay is still listed for $7,700.
Sure, you could buy that boring old Core i7. You could be like all those other sheep that shop for “released” and “fully tested” parts from Newegg. Or if you’re just the right mix of bold and rich, you can try buying a leaked 12-core AMD CPU from Ebay. The Opteron server chip is code-named Magny-Cours, and a set of four can be had for the low price of $7,700. The unreleased chip runs at 2.2GHz.
If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, the same seller has a deal for you as well. They are selling a four socket server running the Magny-Cours processors. The server also packs 64GB of RAM. The going price is $20,000, but with 48 processing cores, that’s only about $416 per core. It’s not that unreasonable.
The Magny-Cours architecture doubles the core count on AMD’s current Istanbul Opteron chip. Power optimization was apparently paramount for AMD as the Magny-Cours is expected to use no more power than the Istanbul chips. We’re not going to encourage the purchase of these chips, but if you by them drop us a line, okay?
TomsHardware.com is reporting that the originally scheduled launch of Nehalem based Bloomfield processors will be moved up to September. Imagine that, a hardware launch ahead of schedule! The X58 chipsets will launch along with it.
Some early tests of samples of Nehalem show it beating out current processors by 20 to 30 percent. It appears to like overclocking as well with some overclocking tests going to almost 1Ghz over stock. Nehalem ditches the traditional front-side bus (FSB), and instead uses an external multiplier to control the link between CPU core, memory controller, and north-bridge.
This is only going to further mash AMDs toes as their next CPU, Shanghai, doesn’t look promising for catching up to Intel. Unless AMD has a hat trick waiting, we’ll have to wait until San Paolo and Magny-Cours come out in 2010 to see if AMD can catch up. A year and a half is a long time and a lot can happen in the CPU world. With Nehalem looking to come out early, Intel stretches its lead.
Is Nehalem seductive enough to get you to upgrade?
What sort of crafty tricks can AMD be working on to get them out of their slump? A little poking around finds some juicy details in a report from DailyTech.com on a new socket architecture to support AMD’s planned 8 and 12 core CPUs in 2010. Socket G34 has supplanted the planned G3 socket that was to replace Socket F (1207). As far as AMDs documentation goes, G3 ceased to exist in March 2008.
Socket G34 will support AMDs two new 2nd generation 45nm processors, the 8 core San Paolo, and a monster 12 core now named Magny-Cours. Both of these processors will feature four HyperTransport 3 interconnects, 12MB of L3 cache and 512KB L2 cache per core. AMDs current roadmap claims standard support will include speeds from 800 to 1600 MHz.
DailyTech.com also counted 1974 pin connects on a leaked G34 diagram, which is 767 more pins than AMD's current LGA1207 socket.
2010 is a long time away in computer terms, and anything can happen with company roadmaps. As things stand AMD will launch Shanghai and Intel will launch Nehalem by the end of this year. It doesn’t appear that Shanghai will be a serious contender with Nehalem according to leaked documents from Sun (but you never know until you have the CPUs in hand), so I am expecting status quo in 2009, but hoping for better. However, things look to get interesting in the processor wars in 2010, so we definitely have something to look forward to.
What do you think, is 2010 the year for an AMD comeback?