By marchamilton on Apr 23, 2009
Nigel yesterday highlighted AMD's most energy efficient processor to date, their latest quad core, 40 watt processor. Nigel's blog linked to plenty of benchmarks and that is really important. Anyone can build a low power processor, and I'm always amazed by naive remarks that look simply at processor wattage. It is, of course, the performance per watt that counts, and don't forget to throw in other power hungry components like memory. Many servers today consume more power for the memory subsystem than by their CPUs, and different memory types have different power consumption. Anyhow, Nigel touted the new 40 watt processor as ideal for scale-out cloud computing deployments, and I'll add like the Sun Cloud.
AMD announced much more than just a new low power processor, however, the most exciting thing for me was news on their upcoming six-core Istanbul processor. I've embedded AMD's presentation below so you can read about Istanbul for yourself. Istanbul is socket compatible with existing AMD Barcelona series processors so I would expect to see Istanbul showing up as an option in most existing AMD based servers. However, as HPC users know, a faster processor alone isn't enough. With faster processors you will need faster storage like our Sun Lustre Storage System as well as faster InfiniBand and 10GbE networking.
And of course, whenever I mention one of our x86 CPU partners, the other one asks for equal time, so be sure to check out blogs.intel.com too.