AMD Opteron 6100 review
Superb performance and reasonable pricing, plus the removal of artificial barriers to 4P computing, make it a potential Xeon-killer
Review Date: 29 Mar 2010
Reviewed By: David Fearon
Price when reviewed:
For the first time in what seems like years, AMD has managed well and truly to trump Intel on fundamental specification of a new processor. The Opteron 6100 workstation and server processor range, codenamed Magny-Cours, launches today. Sporting eight or 12 cores per processor, it outstrips the newest Westmere-series Intel Xeon 5600 parts with their maximum of six cores.
It’s not a case of being in the lead for a token five minutes, either. Intel’s ‘Nehalem EX’ Xeon 7500 server and workstation parts – due any day now - will still only have a maximum of eight cores, so AMD will retain the lead in this area for a while yet.
We recently had a chance to test one of the first ever fully working 6100-series 12-core machines - a 1U rack system from Boston Limited fitted with two of the new CPUs. We were also able to run a limited set of CPU-intensive benchmarks to get an idea of the raw performance of a 24-core, 2P system.
The new platform
The 6100-series processors need to be fitted to a new 6000-series platform. That’s because AMD has abandoned Socket F for an all-new Socket G34, so moving to Magny-Cours will mean a wholesale upgrade.
Mitigating this is the fact that the 6100 series removes an artificial cost barrier that the previous tiered 1000, 2000 and 8000 Opteron line-up imposed. Previously a 4P system required an expensive 8000-series processor to work, and a 2P required at least a 2000-series. The 6100 series removes that artificial barrier – they’ll work in 1P, 2P and 4P machines, for a clear upgrade path as long as you think about your requirements ahead of time and buy a suitable chassis.
Intel still has the edge on fab technology. The new processors are based on a 45nm fabrication process where the 5600 and upcoming 7500 Xeons are 32nm parts. That may explain the clock-frequency disadvantage in comparison to Intel: the top end 12-core Opteron, the Opteron 6176SE, runs at 2.3GHz.
That’s in comparison to a base frequency of 3.33GHz, and Turbo frequency of up to 3.6GHz, in the highest-end six-core X5680 Xeon. Cramming all those cores in also needs an unusually large, rectangular processor package, hence that new Socket G34.
Level 3 cache, shared between all cores, has been doubled to 12MB, matching Intel, with the per-core Level 2 remaining at 512KB.
Progress is worth it :)
Well done AMD :)
this had better not be an April fool!!
By nicomo on 30 Mar 2010
Interesting Chip -Flawed Review
Based on your own reviews of the Xeon 5500, on a core-for core basis the Xeon is better. Given that the Xeon has Hyper-threading and higher clock rates it would seem to beat the AMD chip in a competitve configuration.
However AMD might have an advatage as a Virtualisation platform as in this situation real cores and memory bandwidth are both advantageous.
However -well done to AMD for removing the 1/2/4/8x pricing differential.
The idea of a 1U server with 24 cores virtualising 10-50 servers is neat if nothing else.
By milliganp on 30 Mar 2010
So what about power consumption?
By darkhairedlord on 1 Apr 2010
@darkhairedlord: I belive its something like 105W for the top version, the fastest Intel version (quoted in the article) consumes something like 130W. Of course, this is under full load. See also http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/03/31/a
By qwertyqwerty87 on 1 Apr 2010
Actual power at the wall.
So AMD's 105W part has a better profile than Intel's 95W part.
They do have a 130W part, but consumption can be higher. The Max Power (a spec that they don't like to share) is the max that it can consume. A 130W 5580 has a Max Power ~185W.
By JFAMD on 2 Apr 2010
that is our 80W part, not our 105W part, my mistake.
By JFAMD on 2 Apr 2010
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Twitter bans beheading video, lets family members remove death photos
- HTC launches One M8 for Windows... but only in the US
- Nokia Lumia 530 UK release date and price revealed
- Steve Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board
- Google's self-driving cars can speed... "for safety reasons"
- Firefox gets Chromecast, but no Mozilla TV hardware yet
- Goodbye Chromebooks? Specs leak for $199 HP Stream
- Would you let your child sign up for a Google account?
- iPhone 6 release date, rumours, specs and features: when will the iPhone 6 come out in the UK?
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to edit PDFs: make change to a PDF
- Building a patently better future
- How to update Android apps individually: stop Google Play apps from auto-updating
- Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8: what’s the best iPhone 5s alternative?
- Best music streaming apps: Spotify vs Rdio vs Google Music vs Deezer vs iTunes
- 12 best Android smartphones of 2014: what's the best Android phone?
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy