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AMD Launches Opteron Upgrade Program

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 11 comments

AMD is trying to encourage server owners to upgrade their microprocessors, offering discounts for new processors.

AMD is trying to encourage server owners to upgrade their processors, offering discounts for new processors.

Yesterday AMD kicked off its global Opteron Processor Upgrade program, and even uploaded an instructive 3-minute video to YouTube, showing the process of replacing the 65nm quad-core Opteron Barcelona processor with the 45nm quad-core Shanghai processor (video) "in less than five minutes." Depending on the server, this upgrade is accomplished without having to switch out the motherboard. In fact, consumers who bought a server based on the socket F infrastructure (aka Direct Connect) have it easy, as it supports not only AMD's dual-core Opteron processor, but the quad-core and the upcoming six-core. However, during the video, AMD Product Marketing Manager Ron Myers did point out that the accompanying engineer performing the switch actually swapped out the BIOS chip during the process rather than using a BIOS flash.

In a nutshell, the upgrade program offers AMD partners and customer a cost-effective way to upgrade socket F-based servers without having to purchase an entirely new rig. The program covers the 2000 series and 8000 series dual and quad-core Opteron processors as well as the upcoming Istanbul six-core processor. By upgrading to the next generation, server owners will receive a 35-percent discount in price: $50 off 2000 series, $100 off 8000 series. Channel partners and customers should see improved performance and energy efficiency after upgrading to the next generation CPU.

“AMD Opteron processors have always provided exceptionally long life cycles and consistent platforms,” said John Fruehe, director, Business Development, AMD. “In the current economic environment customers are trying to stretch their IT budgets and to extend the life of their technology investments more than ever, all while improving performance and energy efficiency. This program offers a unique value to our partners and customers, particularly when you consider the enhancements to the 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor and upcoming six-core Istanbul processor.”

"In 15 minutes you can go from dual core Rev F processors to the latest Shanghai quad-cores, giving you up to 200-percent more performance," added John Fruehe, AMD's Director of Business Development for Server/Workstation products, in a recent blog. Fruehe said that the real hero in the office is the person that figures out how to get more performance out of their servers without having to tear those servers out of the racks. He also mentioned that employees looking to replace the server should consider the cost of memory, especially when upgrading from DDR2 to DDR3. "In many cases, the memory costs can be some of the highest component costs in the server," he said.

According to AMD, cluster and system builders are already enjoying the benefits of the new upgrade program, naming Rackable Systems and Cray as two examples.

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  • 0 Hide
    The Third Level , April 8, 2009 8:32 PM
    Anyone know when Istanbul is planned for release?
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , April 8, 2009 8:36 PM
    Second Half of 2009 sometime.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , April 8, 2009 9:47 PM
    I see this as a benefit to AMD in the short term, even over the new Nehalem-based Xeons. A drop-in quad-core Opteron is a significant improvement over a dual-core, especially when the alternative is to upgrade anything-else to a brand new Xeon with a brand new motherboard and brand-new registered DDR3 memory.

    While the move to an integrated memory controller was a must, Intel kinda picked a bad time to do it, but its not their fault for the recession.
  • 1 Hide
    deltatux , April 8, 2009 9:56 PM
    Well, since it seems that there isn't a server socket replacement anytime soon, this is great news for server management as they can buy new processor and then pop it to the old board. Afterwards, they can buy a new board with the processor they bought earlier. Better than upgrading all at once I'd say.

    deltatux
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , April 8, 2009 10:01 PM
    I like that, you don't need a new motherboard to upgrade your Opteron Rack or workstation board. It would be cool to buy a dual socket F board and mem off eBay and still have it work with the 6 core CPUs. Now that will do your video encoding while running a few virtual servers ^_^.
  • 1 Hide
    vaskodogama , April 9, 2009 8:43 AM
    great program! intel must be pissed! :D 
  • 0 Hide
    IH8U , April 9, 2009 9:32 AM
    Old news, I read this on HardOCP, and DT earlier this week. However it does sound like a good idea, even giving these companies some $ off the purchase of the new CPU. Still cheaper to upgrade than buy new, this seals it for many companies.
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , April 9, 2009 12:46 PM
    Isn't Nehalem-based Xeons about 50% faster than Shanghai? I think AnandTech did a comparison a while ago.
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , April 9, 2009 1:30 PM
    hellwigI see this as a benefit to AMD in the short term, even over the new Nehalem-based Xeons. A drop-in quad-core Opteron is a significant improvement over a dual-core, especially when the alternative is to upgrade anything-else to a brand new Xeon with a brand new motherboard and brand-new registered DDR3 memory.While the move to an integrated memory controller was a must, Intel kinda picked a bad time to do it, but its not their fault for the recession.

    The new Nehalem based Xeons support EEC memory but do not require it.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , April 9, 2009 4:48 PM
    Nice idea. too bad it wont work for my socket 940 opterons
  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , April 10, 2009 1:33 AM
    Pei-chenIsn't Nehalem-based Xeons about 50% faster than Shanghai? I think AnandTech did a comparison a while ago.

    Aren't Intel fanboys 50% more prone to making guessed percentages?
    Ah, I guess so.