AMD: 45 nm Opterons to function on current server boards
According to AMD, the upcoming "Shanghai" generation of quad core Opterons in 45 nanometre technology will work on current mainboards. AMD is talking about Same Socket Technology and Common Core Strategy, which means that the new processors will fit into the same LGA1207 housing introduced with the move to DDR2 memory controllers in 2006. Neither are there any changes to the nominal power consumption. Opterons are available in three classes: the HE – consuming 55/75 Watts, the Standard – consuming 75/95 Watts and the SE – consuming 105/120 Watts – values are ACP/TDP each.
Likewise there are no changes to the HyperTransport interface in store; unlike those of the 1300 series, the series 2000 and 8000 Opterons will initially continue to work with HyperTransport 1.1 and as a result will co-operate with the slightly dated server chipsets by Broadcom/ServerWorks and Nvidia. AMD only intends to release the HT 3.0 – or HT 3.1 – compatible SR5690, which will considerably speed up the coupling of several processors in a multi socket system – cHT 3.0, during 2009.
While only a small number of already functional servers tend to be upgraded with new processors, the Opterons' long-term server board compatibility offers advantages for those who purchase new machines and for the server manufacturers and vendors; for example one of the consequences is that drivers or operating system images need to be changed less often. AMD emphasises this advantage especially when comparing the Opterons with Intel's Xeons; Intel also generates considerable revenue with its chipsets, and tends to introduce new processor families together with new chipsets. However, after the introduction of the HT 3 chipsets next year, AMD currently plans to introduce server processors with DDR3 memory controllers for a new version called G34 in 2010 – this means that in two years' time, there will be two new platforms.
Server board manufacturers Asus, Supermicro and Tyan, who co-operate with AMD within the True Server Solutions program, already offer numerous BIOS updates; however, no explicit reference is available so far to the, soon to be released, 45 nm Opterons with their expected initial clock rate of 2.7 GHz. On the other hand the new version 126.96.36.199 of the AGESA code is frequently mentioned. This AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture in the BIOS of AMD64 mainboards handles the initialisation of the CPU cores, as well as that of memory and HyperTransport controllers. Otherwise, AMD only discusses AGESA internally; an overview of some of the previous AGESA versions can be found on an FAQ page.
In addition to those by Asus, Supermicro and Tyan, AMD also expects future 45 nm Opteron server boards and systems by Gigabyte, Inventec/IESC, MSI and Quanta. AMD's Validated Server Program also includes Uniwide. In addition, Opteron systems are also offered by all the major server manufacturers – including HP, Dell, IBM, Sun, and Fujitsu Siemens Computers.