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AMD Readies New Opterons

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD announced this week that it will ship two new Opteron processors within the next month, and also announced that Cambridge, England-based startup XenSource will port the Xen open-source system virtualization platform to run on Opteron-based systems.

The two new processors, dubbed Models 852 and 252, are designed for one-way to eight-way x86-based servers and workstations. Among the enhancements the new chips offer are support for SSE3 software instructions as well as an increase in HyperTransport performance through an increase in bus frequency, to 1GHz, AMD says.

In addition, AMD announced the AMD-8132 HyperTransport PCI-X 2.0 tunnel, also scheduled to ship this month. The AMD-8132 tunnel provides PCI-X 2.0 connectivity to AMD Opteron-based systems, increasing throughput and improving RAS capabilities as well as enhancing HyperTransport technology connectivity.

The open-source Xen high-performance, x86 virtual machine monitor, enables a single machine to run multiple operating systems while maintaining secure, resource guaranteed isolation between them, the two companies say. AMD’s also says that its next generation of Opteron chips will provide additional support for virtualization technologies.

“[System virtualization] was almost a $10-billion-plus market in 2003,” says Dan Kusnetzky, program vice president for systems software at market research firm IDC. “[Among other benefits]. a virtualized environment lets you take advantage of new technologies fairly quickly.”

Servers based on the Models 852 and 252 are expected to be available this quarter. The Model 852 costs $1,514 in quantities of 1,000, while the Model 252 costs $851. An additional processor, Model 152, for single-processor workstations and entry-level servers, set for April 30th availability, will cost $637 in 1,000-unit quantities.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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