AMD's Istanbul Offers Up Six Cores for Server Platforms

Rob Williams

Staff member
From our front-page news:
AMD today has released information regarding live public demonstrations of their upcoming Istanbul server processor that will become available later this year. Istanbul isn't considered a successor to current Shanghai-based Opterons, but rather a compliment. These new server CPUs will be based on the same underlying architecture, but rather than stick to a Quad-Core design, these will feature six cores (Hexa-Core).

Desktop PC fans will have to settle down though, as AMD hasn't mentioned anything regarding a potential six-core desktop chip. I think that move is inevitable, however, but it might not happen until later next year. Either way, the technology here is enough to get even non-server users excited. AMD boasts the fact that they'll be the first ones to offer six-core processors for 2P and 4P (2 or 4 processors) platforms. Pack four together in a 4P machine and you'll have a staggering 24 cores at your command.

The coolest apart about Istanbul might be the upgrade path it offers. Current users of recent Opteron processors will be able to upgrade to Istanbul with little issue, since the socket hasn't changed. Luckily, neither has the thermal envelope, although I'm willing to bet that the power envelope has seen a slight increase (I can't see reference to that anywhere, though). To prove just how easy it is to upgrade though, AMD has posted a video (YouTube) that shows them taking Istanbul processors from one machine and replacing the Shanghai processors in the other. The entire process took a little over eight minutes, which is rather impressive.

As we mentioned yesterday, AMD really needs to get some things sorted out in order to become stable again, and by the looks of things, Istanbul may very well be the next major step in AMD's plan to strike back. Even Intel's platforms don't offer such simple transitioning, so Istanbul is really going to attract users of current Opterons.


Despite putting more cores in the processor, we managed to keep it in the same power and thermal ranges as our existing "Shanghai" processors. And since it fits into the same socket, our OEM customers should be able to bring products to the market quickly. End users will be able to quickly qualify and deploy these servers because the overall platform is the same as what they are using. In today's challenging economic times, that's music to the ears of IT departments both near, and as far away as Turkey.

Source: AMD @ Work Blog