AMD benchmark info, price cuts signal new Opterons

AMD benchmark info, price cuts signal new Opterons

Benchmark results for unannounced Opteron processors posted on Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD's) Web site, coupled with steep price cuts on the Opteron line, appear to indicate that AMD is planning to introduce three new Opteron chips in the coming weeks.

AMD has Composite Theoretical Performance (CTP) benchmark results for the nine previously announced Opteron processors posted on its Web site (,,30_182_863_8800~72730,00.html). But results for the unannounced Opteron 146, Opteron 246, and Opteron 846 processors are also listed on that Web page.

The new processors are expected to offer just speed increases over the current Opterons, with no major changes to the cache or architecture. An AMD spokeswoman declined to comment on unannounced products.

On Monday, AMD cut prices for several of its processors, but the Opteron prices declined sharply. The Opteron 144 now costs $US438 in quantities of 1000 units, down from $US669 on June 30. The price of the Opteron 244 also declined from $7US94 on June 30 to $US690 on July 28, but the price of the Opteron 844 remained at $US2149. Price cuts are generally an indication that a chipmaker is planning to introduce a new processor.

The Opteron had been out in the market just about a full quarter since its launch in April, and performance reviews had been positive so far, principal analyst with Mercury Research, Dean McCarron, said.

The Opteron chips were competitive with Intel's Xeon processors for 32-bit servers, and had the added bonus of 64-bit performance, he said. In the last quarter, AMD shipped roughly 8000 to 10,000 processors. This fell in line with Mercury's expectations, McCarron said.

Server customers were slower than PC users to adopt new products, because most businesses insisted on a testing and validation program before adopting any new technology that would run their business applications, he said.

The company announced last week that China's Dawning Information Industry would use the Opteron to build a powerful supercomputer.

Support for the Opteron should continue to grow when Microsoft releases the Opteron version of Windows Server 2003, McCarron said.

A production version of the operating system was expected to be out before the end of the year.

AMD will release the desktop version of the Opteron, the Athlon64 chip, on September 23.

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