AMD Quad-Core Opteron (Barcelona) Technology Report
It has become a trend with AMD-ATI to be late with their products. Their products may have been groundbreaking when first announced, but long delays in getting those products out ensured that they would lose much of that advantage. ATI, for example, was so late with the Radeon HD 2900 XT that it was not able to deliver the NVIDIA-killing performance promised earlier.
AMD is in the same boat as ATI. Delays after delays of their long-awaited Barcelona core not only ensured the dominance of their rival, Intel, in the desktop processor market, it also ensured that Intel would be the only choice for those who want a quad-core processor. Although that wait will end in August, 2007 when the Barcelona is finally launched, it remains to be seen if AMD's new processor will be able to inflict serious damage to Intel's dominance.
With that said, AMD is definitely going to launch the Barcelona next month. Hence, the ramping up of PR events leading up to the actual launch. Consumers will finally have an alternative to Intel's Xeon processors for the server market. Yes, you read that right. AMD will only release server processors in August. Desktop processors will come later this year.
Quad-Core AMD Opteron
The new quad-core AMD Opteron may have the Barcelona core inside, but it is designed to offer an easy upgrade path for current Socket F users. All they need to do is update the BIOS and they can just replace their current Opteron processor with the new Barcelona-based Opteron processor. There is no need to even to replace the cooler as the new processors will have a similar thermal output, even with twice as many processing cores.
The release of these processors will immediately give AMD a major advantage in the server market by allowing them to offer eight-core solutions on a single motherboard. Current Opteron users can also upgrade to eight-cores just by replacing their current dual-core Opterons with two quad-core Opterons.
Of course, Intel is also rushing out a similar solution, in the form of their V8 programme. So, it is a race to see which company will be the first to release an 8-core workstation platform. AMD stands to take some wind out of Intel's sails if they are the first out with their 8-core workstation platform.
Do note that 8-core workstation and server solutions from Intel and Apple (based on Intel processors) have been out for some time now. Apple has an 8-core, 3 GHz workstation since April 2007, while the 8-core server using a two-socket configuration has been around since November 2006.
In this article, we will cover the recent updates AMD gave us regarding the upcoming quad-core Opteron processor. Let's start with the general Barcelona core design.