AMD has launched a pair of low-power Opteron-brand processors for use in high-density servers. Codenamed Kyoto, the two processors, X2150 and X1150, each use four Jaguar cores—the same cores that will be used in the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and AMD’s recently launched Kabini and Temash mobile processors.
The chip company only added Kyoto to its roadmap in March. AMD’s original low-power server plans revolved around ARM, with the first ARM parts from the company due to arrive next year. The launch of the Kyoto processors suggests that AMD doesn’t want to wait to go after this market, a decision no doubt influenced by the poor performance of the company’s Bulldozer-derived processors. Mercury Research estimates that its server market share has fallen below five percent.
The cheaper X1150 runs its four cores at up to 2GHz, dissipating 9-17W. The X2150 cuts the clock speed slightly, running at up to 1.9GHz, and increases the power draw to between 11 and 22W. However, it also adds 128 GPU cores. AMD believes that there is a sufficiently large niche market performing tasks such as image and video analysis to make the GPU version worthwhile.
The company’s competition in this space is Intel’s “Centerton” Atom S1200 series. Compared to the Atom parts, the Kyoto processors have more cores (four to two, though the Intel parts run two threads per core), more RAM support (32GB to 8GB), more cache (2MB to 1MB), more single threaded performance, and, for the X2150, relatively strong graphics performance. AMD is likely to maintain these advantages, at least until Intel ships its Silvermont Atom processors later this year.
AMD has announced one design win already. HP will support Kyoto chips in its Moonshot high density server. Moonshot started as an ARM platform, but HP recently introduced Atom support using the S1200 processors. The high density systems are designed for tasks such as Web hosting, where individual CPU performance can be relatively unimportant but power efficiency is a primary consideration.
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