AMD's new native x86 quad-core solution, the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor (formerly code-named Barcelona) are at the heart of three new server platforms unveiled at Computex in Taipei this week. 

The processors are expected to deliver up to 80% performance and performance-per-watt improvements on a broad range of server applications over similar current generation AMD Opteron processors. In addition, these quad-core processors are designed to be drop-in compatible (following a BIOS upgrade) with all existing AMD Opteron processor-based systems using low-power DDR2 memory, while also enabling new platform capabilities such as those demonstrated yesterday.
Platforms displayed from Supermicro and Uniwide, participants in the AMD Validated Server program, are designed to take advantage of a new feature in the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors, called Dual Dynamic Power Management, which delivers power independently to the CPU and to the memory controller to enable even greater performance and better power management.
"As this pinnacle in server processing is unveiled, AMD is thrilled to empower the AMD64 ecosystem to address real priorities such as power management and virtualisation to help customers do more with less,” says Gautam Srivastava, vice-president: sales & marketing and MD: Middle East, Africa & Pakistan at AMD.
“Those buying second-generation AMD Opteron processors today can take advantage of the seamless upgradeability designed into our high performing Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors when they become available later this year and do so within the same power and cooling infrastructure.  This is the level of investment protection and transition planning our customers and the industry have come to expect from AMD.”
Alex Hsu, chief sales & marketing officer at Supermicro, adds: “The architecture benefits of AMD’s Barcelona processors allow Supermicro to deliver incredible compute density in a 4P blade server featuring 160 cores per 7U enclosure and up to 960 cores per rack. Customers will certainly benefit from the combination of AMD’s outstanding performance-per-watt and Supermicro’s earth-friendly, high-efficiency designs.”
Danny Hsu, president of Tyan, comments: “Streamlining and mitigating the complexities customers often face when upgrading their IT infrastructure is especially important in today’s competitive marketplace. TYAN has collaborated with AMD since 2001, and we will continue to support and take advantage of the customer-centric innovation AMD is offering in its quad-core processors when they are made available later this year.”
According to Daniel Kim, president of Uniwide: “After demonstrating our ‘Barcelona’ platforms today and knowing about all of its unique features such as superior performance-per-watt capabilities and designed-in seamless upgradeability, it’s clear that customer-centric innovation is truly in AMD’s DNA.”
Another of AMD’s key server infrastructure partners is Asus.
“As one of the industry’s leading motherboard providers, we eagerly anticipate the widespread availability of AMD quad-core ‘Barcelona’ processors later this year,” says Bernard Cheng, associate vice-president: Server Business Unit at Asus.
“AMD’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge, native, quad-core processor technology allows us to offer our customers solutions they can truly benefit from such as outstanding performance with innovative power-saving features.”
Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are based on AMD’s Direct Connect Architecture and are designed to help customers leverage their existing systems powered by Second-Generation AMD Opteron processors, for transitions that do not require changes to server customers’ power and cooling infrastructures.
These systems should be seamlessly upgradeable to the upcoming Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors by simply upgrading the BIOS (as made available by the system supplier) and dropping in a new processor, as demonstrated by the TYAN platform on display. Both generations feature the same socket, can use the same chipsets and have the same thermal envelopes.
In addition, customers may adopt new platforms that take advantage of Dual Dynamic Power Management.  With Dual Dynamic Power Management, the integrated memory controller and CPU cores can be powered by different sources, creating opportunities for performance improvements and increased power savings.