The Lineup - Opteron x75

Prior to the dual core frenzy, multiprocessor servers and workstations were referred to by the number of processors that they had.  A two-processor workstation would be called a 2-way workstation, and a four-processor server would be called a 4-way server. 

Both AMD and Intel sell their server/workstation CPUs not only according to performance characteristics (clock speed, cache size, FSB frequency), but also according to the types of systems for which they were designed.  For example, the Opteron 252 and Opteron 852 both run at 2.6GHz, but the 252 is for use in up to 2-way configurations, while the 852 is certified for use in 4- and 8-way configurations.  The two chips are identical; it's just that one has been run through additional validation and costs a lot more.  As you may remember, the first digit in the Opteron's model number denotes the sorts of configurations for which the CPU is validated. So, the 100 series is uniprocessor only, the 200 series works in up to 2-way configurations and the 800 series is certified for 4+ way configurations. 

AMD's dual core server/workstation CPUs will still carry the Opteron brand, but they will feature higher model numbers; and while single core Opterons increased in model numbers by 2 points for each increase in clock speed, dual core Opterons will increase by 5s.  With each "processor" being dual core, AMD will start referring to their Opterons by the number of sockets for which they are designed.  For example, the Opteron 100 series will be designed for use in 1-socket systems, the Opteron 200 series will be designed for use in up to 2-socket systems and the Opteron 800 series will be designed for use in 4 or more socket systems. 

There are three new members of the Opteron family - all dual core CPUs: the Opteron x65, Opteron x70 and Opteron x75. 

There are a few things to take away from this table:
  1. The fastest dual core runs at 2.2GHz, two speed grades lower than the fastest single core CPU - not too shabby at all.
  2. The slowest dual core CPU is priced at the same level as the fastest single core CPU; in this case, $637.
  3. Unlike Intel, AMD's second core comes at a much higher price. Take a look at the 148 vs. 175. Both run at 2.2GHz, but the dual core chip is over 3.5x the price of the single core CPU.
Now, let's look at the 200 and 800 series CPUs:

The pricing structure at the 200 and 800 levels doesn't change much either - the stakes are simply higher.

While AMD will undoubtedly hate the comparison below, it's an interesting one nonetheless.  How much are you paying for that second core on these new dual core Opterons?  To find out, let's compare prices on a clock for clock basis:

AMD's margins on their dual core Opteron parts are huge. On average, the second core costs customers over 3x as much as the first core for any of these CPUs.  As you will soon see, the performance benefits are definitely worth it, but know that AMD's pricing is not exactly designed to drive dual core into widespread adoption. 

A Look at AMD’s Dual Core Architecture The Lineup - Athlon 64 X2


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  • Phlargo - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Sounds like computing could change a lot in the next 6 months.

    I can't wait to get my hands on a dual core chip - that type of multitasking gaming performance is what I've been waiting for... 92% of unfettered performance during Doom3? That's unbelievable.
  • manno - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Another thing to consider is that the 939, and 940 Dual Cores work with old mobos. so that saves upgraders ~$100 for the mobo (I have no clue what PD mobo's are going to cost) plus the cost of DDR2 ~$100 for 512MB, not true if you're going with the PD. So if you own a 939 a 2.8 PD will realy cost you ~$441, 3.0 -$516, 3.2 ~$730.
    Throw that out the window if you're starting from scratch however.
  • manno - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Great review very detailed, I have one caveat, and I should preface it with the fact that I own 4 systems, and all of them have Athlon 64's or XP's.

    That being said your "Multitasking Scenario 2: File Compression" Seems to be misleading, and identifies the A64 as the processor of choice in the 2nd portion of the analysis.

    Maybe I'm wrong but from what I understand with how the test was performed you archived the file, got the amount of time it took to archive the file "x" for instance, and then figured out how many emails got imported in time "x" now because some processors took longer to create the archive than others they had more time to import emails. so in order to make this data more reflective of the performance of each processor you need to divide the number of emails imported by "x", and get e/s. The modified graph should be

    PD 3.2 =19124/5.08 or 3764.57 e/s
    A64 X2 =21687/6.25 or 3469.92 e/s
    PEE 3.2 =16875/6.65 or 2537.59 e/s
    AFX 55 = 3800/5.88 or 646.26 e/s

    These corrected numbers show that at least in this test the PD 3.2 is the winner by ~8%

  • Calin - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    At that prices, most of the users really won't need their current mainboards for new dual core processors. I would prefer to have lower priced single core than that prices on dual core. Reply
  • blckgrffn - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    We are talking about by this fall, folks. And a 90nm Dual core still uses LESS die than 2 2800+ put together because it is on a manufacturing smaller process, especially if they stick to a 512k cache which is obviously the sweet spot. By this fall I expect that we will see sub $200 dual cores from Intel to squeeze AMD on the desktop market. What is a real shame is that AMD doesn't have suffcient fabs to handle potential demand.

    For those of you who got all hot in your pants and said I can't buy a sub $200 dual core Intel right now, it is just as true that I can't buy one it all! ;P Chill!
  • PeteRoy - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Impressive. Reply
  • josedawg - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    Am I mistaken in thinking that AMD was throwing out their desktop dualcore line (A64 X2) in 2006? What prompted their earlier release of them? Was it the demand for desktop dualcore, pressure from Intel stealing desktop dualcore market, or excellent manufacturing at the AMD plants? Reply
  • KeithDust2000 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    blckgrffn, "so if they can't bring anything out under $200 I will probably have to go with Intel. Boo for that ;) "

    INTEL doesn´t have one under $200 either.
  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    #14... all socket 939 motherboards will support the X2 with a BIOS upgdate. Reply
  • Zebo - Thursday, April 21, 2005 - link

    #9 They'd have to release a 1.6 @ $240 to accurately compete with Intels slowness in Pentium D's starting at $241. Sorry not gonna happen. AMD not for budget shoppers anymore but those interested in performance. Want the best? Pay the price. Or substandard CPU at a discount?

    I can see a 1.8 for about $250 though however no way you're going to get into DC for less than $200.

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