AMD Turns Up Power On Data-Center Opportunity

AMD said integration of its PowerNow technology into three new Opteron processors could generate savings of between 33 percent and 75 percent when the CPUs are deployed in servers. The result, AMD contended, is a cost differential of as much as $85,410 per year in its high-end processors, when compared with the annual cost of running processors without PowerNow capabilities.

The three Opteron processors include the 852, 252 and 152. The processors also sport AMD's Direct Connect architecture, an on-processor design AMD said eliminates bottlenecks on the front-side bus. Boxx Technologies, an Austin, Texas-based system builder, in lockstep with AMD's rollout, began shipping a workstation based on the Opteron 252 and Nvidia nForce graphics processors, targeting extreme-performance customers.

Reese Gautschi, Boxx's director of marketing, said the AMD-based workstation would be priced at $2,200 and "really does span the entire market for visual computing applications." The company has produced high-end workstations for the digital content creation space for several years.

While Boxx makes systems based on both Intel Xeon processors and AMD Opteron chips, Gautschi said AMD processors have been gaining momentum and "the performance gap is widening between the two products."

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Executives from AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel have said that a top priority in 2005 will be to introduce significant power-consumption savings into their technologies. Intel's proprietary technology for doing so is dubbed SpeedStep.

AMD said pricing for the Opteron 852, a four-way server chip, will be $1,514 in 1,000-unit quantities; the Opteron 252, a two-way server chip, will be priced at $851 in 1,000-unit quantities; and the Opteron 152 for workstations, which will be available in April, and priced at $637 in 1,000-unit quantities.