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AMD kicks Opterons up a notch

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AMD handed Intel a minor slap one day ahead of the Intel Developer Forum by announcing three, speedier versions of its Opteron chip.

In thirty days, AMD will start shipping 2.6GHz Opterons that span across its full line from one-socket designs on up to eight-socket server products. The 885, 285 and 185 Series chips just beat out current 2.4GHz chips in raw performance. Customers will be pleased to know that the speed bump arrives with no rise in power consumption.

AMD announced the new chips ahead of IDF and made time to take a shot at Intel's current kludge of a dual-core design.

"Instead of connecting two single-core processors over a bus in one package, AMD integrates two AMD Opteron cores onto a single die, allowing them to communicate at full processor speed," AMD VP Randy Allen said. "That means Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors are the only native x86 dual-core systems available today for customers who want more efficient solutions for their datacenters. Data center managers can fill racks without worrying about increased electricity and cooling costs."

The spike in demand for Opterons over the past year has caused some concern that AMD won't be able to deliver enough chips to customers. AMD marketing manager Brent Kerby assured us AMD can supply plenty of the 2.6GHz chips.

He also reminded us that AMD plans to ship a fresh version of Opteron later this year with support for its Pacifica virtualization technology and Presidio security technology. The same set of chips will support DDR2. AMD continues to stall on the FB-DIMM front, saying the memory adds too many watts while providing too few benefits at the moment.

The Model 885 is priced at $2,149 in 1,000-unit quantities and the Model 285 is priced at $1,051 in 1,000-unit quantities. Pricing on the Model 185 will be announced this month. ®

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