AMD pulls dual-core server processors, cuts prices

AMD will still offer dual-core Athlon and Phenom chips for consumer desktops and laptops

Advanced Micro Devices has pulled dual-core server processors from its product lineup, also cutting prices of some Opteron chips by close to 43 percent.

Dual-core Opteron chips were part of AMD's earlier server processors, but were not included in an updated price list posted on Tuesday.

That leaves only quad-core Opteron processors as part of AMD's server chip lineup.

"For the bulk of our customers, our AMD Opteron processor offerings are all now quad-core," said Teresa Osborne, an AMD spokeswoman, in an e-mail.

AMD, however, is still offering dual-core Athlon and Phenom chips for consumer desktops and laptops. It also offers triple-core Phenom chips for desktops.

AMD also slashed prices on some Opteron servers chips. It cut the prices of Opteron 2374 HE chips by 43 percent from US$450 to $255 and prices of Opteron 8376 HE processors by 35 percent from $1,514 to $989. AMD also cut prices for other Opteron HE chips.

The price cuts went into effect last week with the introduction of four quad-core Opteron HE processors, Osborne said.

The HE chips are part of AMD's family of Opteron server processors code-named Shanghai. The offerings fall between low-power Opteron EE chips and high-end Opteron SE chips, which are speedier and draw more power than HE chips.

Shanghai chips draw between 40 watts and 105 watts of power and operate at speeds between 2.1GHz and 3.1GHz.

The cut of dual-core server processors is an incremental step as chip companies like AMD and Intel add cores to improve processor performance while trying to reduce power consumption.

Increasing the number of cores helps servers execute more tasks, which could lower the number of servers needed in data centers and cut hardware acquisition and energy costs for customers.

AMD is set to ship the 6-core Opteron processor code-named Istanbul in May. AMD is also planning to release a 12-core chip code-named Magny-Cours in 2010. Both the chips will be made using the 45-nanometer process.

In an effort to jump ahead of Intel in the core battle, AMD also last week said it would release a chip code-named Interlagos in 2011 that will include between 12 and 16 processor cores.

Intel has only officially announced an 8-core Xeon chip code-named Nehalem-EX, which is due for release in 2010.

Interlagos chips will go into servers with two to four processor sockets, resulting in a maximum of 64 cores per system. The chip will be primarily used in data center servers, and will be made using the 32-nm process technology.

AMD also announced a processor code-named Valencia with up to 8 cores, also made using the 32-nm process, which is set for release in 2011.

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