AMD has launched a server platform combining its six-core Opteron processors with a motherboard chipset supporting HyperTransport 3.0, PCI Express 2.0 and I/O virtualisation, along with low-power server specifications codenamed Kroner. The server platform, codenamed Fiorano, is designed for AMD's six-core Istanbul version of the Opteron chip, but is also compatible with the older Shanghai quad-core processors, the company said.Servers based on the combination, clumsily labelled the Six-core AMD Opteron processor with AMD chipset platform, were expected to be available within weeks from vendors including Tyan, Supermicro, Microway and ZT Systems.The platform includes three chipset options, the SR5690, SR5670 and SR5650, enabling system vendors to target different markets. The 5650 is more energy efficient for low-power systems, while the 5690 is a high-end performance chipset and the 5670 fits into the mid-range.AMD director of business development John Fruehe explained in a blog posting that while the three chipsets use the same motherboard socket and drivers, they have different numbers of PCI Express lanes, different power consumption and different pricing.The chipsets were the first to support both AMD's HyperTransport 3.0 interconnect and PCI Express 2.0 for I/O. They also provide hardware support for I/O virtualisation, technology that isolates the I/O used by different virtual machines and delivers increased performance.AMD said the chipsets will also support the Magny-Cours processors due in 2010 that will have up to a dozen cores, but these are set to use a different socket than current Opterons and so customers will not be able to drop the new chips into existing motherboards, as they have previously been able to do.Meanwhile, the new Kroner platform specifications are optimised for dense environments such as datacentres and cloud computing and enable two twin-socket server boards to fit into a single 1U or 2U chassis."After hearing a customer tell me that they have a 4KW limit for their racks and can only put 10 servers in each, a platform like Kroner can go a long way towards helping optimise space in the data centre," said Fruehe.
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