AMD cuts down power on new Opteron processors

With an eye on the power requirements of densely packed data centres, AMD has announced two new low-power AMD Opteron server processors.

The Model 1218 HE, 2218 HE and 8218 HE chips - covering the single-, two- and eight-way range of Opterons - work within a 68 watt thermal envelope. Running at 2.6GHz, they are priced at $432 (220), $611 (311) and $1,340 (683), respectively.

AMD is aiming the 64-bit, X86-based chips at the blade market - for energy-conscious users looking to reduce power and cooling bills or to achieve greater density within server-packed datacentres.

The three processors also use AMD's PowerNow! technology, designed for reduced power consumption by throttling back clock speeds and voltage states during idle times.

AMD first introduced the class of low-power Opteron processors in February 2004. The growing importance of managing the power demands of servers is reflected in both AMD and Intel's emphasis on the performance-per-watt metric, as opposed to just clock speed or cache size.

AMD has also announced that its Opteron Models 2220 and 8220, running at 2.8GHz, are immediately available for use in mainstream (95 watt) thermal envelopes. The company also flagged the processors' compatibility with its 'Barcelona' native quad-core, still on target for mid-2007. They are priced at $698 and $1,514, respectively.

Finally, AMD has used the changes to refresh its Opteron pricing. There are cuts of up to 27 per cent, for example the 1218 falls from $435 to $318, while the eight-way 8216 falls 25 per cent from $1,165 to $873. Full pricing info can be found here. Note that all AMD pricing is based on 1,000-unit direct orders.