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AMD to pitch Opteron at blades

Low-power parts coming next year

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AMD will ship less power-hungry incarnations of its high wattage 64-bit Opteron server and workstation processor next year, the company said today.

The chips, which will consume around 30W and 55W, are aimed at ultra-dense, blade-based servers where minimising the heat generated by all those chips is as important as reducing the amount of energy gobbled up by all those calculations.

Versions will be offered that target single, dual and four-way servers, each branded as Opteron 100, 200 and 800 series processors, respectively.

The release is perhaps a natural extension of the current Opteron range, though we wonder what part the successful launch of IBM's 64-bit PowerPC 970 chip has played in the company's decision to target the blade segment as well as the beefier boxes in which it hopes today's Opterons will find a home.

The 970 is best known as Apple's G5, but IBM has already said it will ship blades of its own based on the processor. The 130nm 970 is expected to transition to 90nm in the same timeframe as the low-power Opterons are planned to come to market - sometime during the first half of 2004, said AMD - allowing IBM to offer both higher clock frequencies and lower power profiles at today's 1.6-2GHz frequency range.

During that timeframe, IBM is expected to target the more power-hungry Opterons with its Power5 chip.

AMD declined to offer pricing or other specifications for the new Opterons. ®

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