AMD Launches Low-Power Opteron Server Chips To Take On Intel's Atom


AMD is hoping "X" will market the spot for its server processors.

The chip maker Wednesday introduced the Opteron X-Series, a new family of low-power server processors designed for scale-out server architectures. The Opteron X-Series, codenamed "Kyoto," features two new processors, the X1150 and the X2150, which AMD claims beat Intel's Atom processor on various performance benchmarks and technical specifications.

"This is the highest density, most power efficient small-core x86 chip ever built," said Andrew Feldman, vice president and general manager of AMD's Server Business Unit.

[Related: AMD Boosts APU Lineup For Mobile Devices]

The Opteron X2150 consumes as little as 11 watts and features a 1.9GHz clock speed. The X2150 is AMD's first server accelerated processing unit (APU) system-on-a-chip that integrates both CPU and GPU engines with a high-speed bus on a single die; the chip comes with AMD's Radeon HD 8000 graphics technology, which is designed for multimedia workloads.

The Opteron X1150, meanwhile, consumes 9 watts at idle with a 2GHz clock speed and is a CPU-only version optimized for general scale-out workloads. Both processors feature four of AMD's "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 cores.

Feldman said the X-Series processors were designed with the shift to mobile computing in mind. With the growth of mobile devices today, data centers require more space, less power and a high number of cores in a dense form factor, he said.

"All of the work that people are doing on their mobile devices isn't being powered by a $9 CPU," Feldman said. "All of that computing work is being done somewhere else in the data center."

According to AMD, the Opteron X-Series has twice the number of cores as Intel's Atom S1200 Series processors, which have just two cores. The X-Series has support for a whopping 32 GB of maximum DRAM per socket, which is four times more memory than what Intel's counterpart supports, plus integrated SATA ports. Overall, AMD said the X-Series throughput performance is more than double what the Atom S1200 Series provides, and nearly twice the single-thread performance.

Of course, AMD is comparing the Opteron X-Series to Intel's current Atom server processors, which were launched in the fourth quarter of last year. But the world's largest chip maker recently announced its new "Silvermont" system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture for Atom, which will be based on Intel's 22nm design instead of the S2100 Series' 32nm design, so the technical specs comparison are sure to change.

Feldman said the Opteron X-Series chips are designed for Web and cloud hosting servers, multimedia data centers and big data operations. AMD also announced that the new X-Series chips will be featured in HP's Moonshot servers.

AMD's Opteron X2150 APU and X1150 CPU are generally available now for a cost of $99 and $64, respectively, in 1K quantities.

PUBLISH MAY 29, 2013