Diggin' technology every day

November 14, 2011

AMD Launches Opteron 6200s

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Nate @ 9:06 am

UPDATED I have three words:

About damn time.

I’ve been waiting for a long time for these, was expecting them months ago, had to put in orders with Opteron 6100s a few weeks ago because I couldn’t wait any longer for the 6200s. Sigh. I’m half hoping I can get HP to exchange my 6100s for 6200s since the 6100s are still sitting in boxes. Though that may be being too hopeful given my time line for deployment. One thing’s for sure though, if HP can pull it off they’ll make my decision on which version of vSphere to go with pretty easy since vSphere 4 tops out at 12 cores.

AMD has finally launched the 6200, which everyone knows is the world’s first 16-core x86-64 processor, and is socket compatible with the 6100 processor which launched over a year ago providing an easy upgrade path.

I’m just running through some of the new stuff now, one feature which is nice and I believe I mentioned it a while ago is the TDP Cap, which allows a user to set the maximum power usage of the processor, basically more granular control than technologies that were used previous to it. I don’t believe it has the ability to dynamically turn cores on and off based on this value though which is unfortunate – maybe next time. Excluding the new turbo core support which is different technology.

AMD Turbo Core

I thought this was pretty cool, I was just reading about it in their slide deck. I thought, at first it was going to be similar to the Intel Turbo or IBM Turbo technology where, if I recall right (don’t quote me), the system can more or less shut off all the other cores on the socket and turbo charge a single core to super sonic speeds. AMD Turbo core operates on all cores simultaneously by between 300-500Mhz if the workload fits the power envelope of the processor. It can do the same for half of the on board cores but instead of 300-500Mhz boost the frequency by up to 1Ghz.

Memory Enhancements

It also supports higher performance memory as well as something called LR-DIMMs, which I had never heard of before. Load Reduced DIMMs seem they allow you to add more memory to the system. Even after reading the stuff on Micron’s site I’m not sure of the advantage.

I recall on the 6100 there was a memory performance hit when you utilized all 12 memory slots per CPU socket (vs using only 8/socket). I don’t see whether this is different on the 6200 or not.

Power and Performance

The highest end, lowest power Opteron 6100 seems to be the 6176 (not to be confused with the 6176 SE). The 6176 (by itself) is not even mentioned on AMD’s site (though it is on HP’s site and my recent servers have it). It is a 2.3Ghz 12-core 80W (115W TDP) processor. It seems AMD has changed their power ratings from the ACP they were using before to the TDP (what Intel uses). If I recall right ACP was something like average processor power usage, vs TDP is peak usage(?).

The 6276 is the new high end lower power option, which is a 16-core 2.3Ghz processor with the same power usage. So they managed to squeeze in an extra 9.2Ghz worth of processing power in the same power envelope. That’s pretty impressive.

There’s not a lot of performance metrics out at this stage, but here’s something I found on AMD’s site:

SPEC Int rate_base2006 Mainstream CPUs

That’s a very good price/performance ratio. This graph is for “mainstream CPUs” that is CPUs with “normal” power usage, not ultra high end CPUs which consume a lot more power. Those are four socket systems so for the CPUs alone on the high end from Intel would run $8,236, and from AMD $3,152. Then there is the motherboard+chipset from Intel which will carry a premium over AMD as well since Intel has different price/scalability bands for their processors between their two socket and four socket systems (where AMD does not, though with Intel you can now get two socket versions of servers with the latest Intel processors they still seem to carry a decent premium since I believe they use the same chipsets as the four socket boxes the two socket versions are made more for memory capacity bound workloads rather than CPU bound).

They have floating point performance too though for the stuff I do floating point doesn’t really matter, more useful probably for SGI and Cray and their super computers.

It’s not the 3.5Ghz that AMD was talking about but I trust that is some point. AMD has been having some manufacturing issues recently which probably was the main cause for the delays of the 6200, hopefully they get those worked out in short order.

HP has already updated their stuff to reflect support for the latest processors in their existing platforms.

From HP’s site, here are the newest 16 core processors:

  • 6282SE (2.6GHz/16-core/16MB/140W TDP) Processor
  • 6276 (2.3GHz/16-core/16MB/115W TDP) Processor
  • 6274 (2.2GHz/16-core/16MB/115W TDP) Processor
  • 6272 (2.1GHz/16-core/16MB/115W TDP) Processor
  • 6262HE (1.6GHz/16-core/16MB/85W TDP) Processor

Few more stats –

  • L1 CPU Cache slashed from 128kB to 48kB (total 1,536kB to 768kB)
  • L2 CPU Cache increased from 512kB to 1,000 kB (total 6,144kB to 12,000kB)
  • L3 CPU Cache increased from 12,288 kB to 16,384 kB (1,024kB per core for both procs)
  • Memory controller clock speed increased from 1.8Ghz to 2Ghz
  • CMOS process shrunk from 45nm to 32nm

Interesting how they shifted focus away from the L1 cache to the L2 cache.

Anyone know how many transistors are on this thing? And how many were on the 6100 ? How about on some of the recent Intel chips?

Now to go figure out how much these things actually cost and what the lead times are.

UPDATE – I know pricing at least now, the new 16 core procs are, as the above graph implies actually cheaper than the 12-core versions! That’s just insane, how often does that happen?!?!

Bottom line

With so many things driving virtualization these days, and with such high consolidation ratios, especially with workloads that are not CPU constrained(which are most), myself I like the value that the 6000-series AMD chips give, especially the number of raw cores without hyperthreading. The AMD 6000 platform is the first AMD platform I have really, truly liked I want to say going back a long, long ways. I’ll admit I was mistaken in my ways for a few years when I was on the Intel bandwagon. Though I have been on the ‘give me more cores’ bandwagon ever since the first Intel quad core processor. Now that AMD has the most cores, on a highly efficient platform, I suppose I gravitate towards them now. There are limits to how far you go to get cores of course, I’m not sure what my limit is. I’ve mentioned in the past I wouldn’t be interested in something like a 48x200Mhz CPU for example. The Opteron 6000 has a nice balance of per-core performance (certainly can’t match Intel’s per core performance but it’s halfway decent especially given the price), and many, many cores.

Three blog posts in one morning, busy morning!

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