The processor market has been mostly dominated by Intel’s new generation of CPUs but AMD is looking to provide stiff competition by releasing their new 16 core server processors. The recent years have seen many processor manufacturers trying to increase the number of cores whereas earlier major importance was given to improving the clock speed.
AMD has released the new Interlagos Opteron 6200 processors based on Bulldozer architecture. These Opteron series CPUs boast a total of 16 cores. It is usually very difficult to accommodate such a large number of cores on a small chip as the heating issues are a big hindrance but AMD has managed to pull it off. The processors can process in parallel around 64 instruction threads.
Intel has been successful in improving their x86 processor series with the use of a patented technology called hyperthreading. Currently the Xeon processors belonging to Intel E7 series feature 10 cores. This revolutionary approach allows for the maximum utilization of each core and thus provides high computing power. The individual cores do not operate at their maximum and hyperthreading involves using virtual cores which use the unutilized power of the actual cores.
Many options are also available for people who wish to purchase CPUs with lesser number of cores. There are 12-core models which run at 2.6 GHz clock speed and have a power consumption of 115W. One can also opt for the octa-core or quad-core processors running at 3 GHz and 3.3 GHz clock speed with the same power consumption.
Processor clock speed cannot be increased beyond a certain limit due to heating and power constraints. Chips with multiple cores allow the processor to focus on many tasks simultaneously and are particularly useful in video encoding, rendering and server operations. Power constraint is still a concern for chip manufacturers. The TDP Power Cap allows the user to manually regulate the power consumption of the chips. AMD also uses Turbo Core technology similar to Intel’s Turbo boost which helps to temporarily increase the clock speed of the cores to process multiple threads.
Among other news, AMD also announced the Valencia series of processors for servers which have two processor sockets and also revealed the codename – Zurich for another series. It is speculated that the Opteron 3000 series of processors will be manufactured for single socket servers which have ultra-low power consumption. These chips will receive eight or four cores and are scheduled to hit the market in 2012.