AMD used Day Zero of Computex Taipei 2009 to announce its Opteron 2400 series, a sexa-core processor formerly known as Istanbul. You can read the prices on the official AMD Pricelist page, and they do speak volumes.
As usual, the Opteron 2400 series marks the CPU series intended for dual-socket [2P or 2S], while 8400 series fits in four [4P/4S] and eight socket models [8P/8S].
An Opteron 2427 at 2.2 GHz will set you back for 455 greenbacks and this model will only exist in the 2P space. There is also the Opteron [X431] which is clocked at 2.4 GHz and you have to shell either $698 for the 2431 or $2,149 for the 8431 part. The top dog of Opteron sexa-core series is the 2.6 GHz Opteron X435, setting you back $989 for the 2435 or a massive $2,649 for the 8435 part.
As you might have guessed, the Opteron series is the really bread and butter for AMD, just like Xeon series makes milk for Intel - forget about desktop platform, there is a reason why Intel shipped more Xeon Nehalem-based Itaniums than Core i7s.
AMD is currently pitching the CPUs as an ideal upgrade for the Santa Rosa [Socket F, Broadcom or nVidia chipsets], but you can expect that will all change in just 2-3 weeks time. AMD is working hard on finishing up the Fiorano platform, its first workstation/server chipset in history. We already wrote about Fiorano, so there isn't exactly anything special to write about - dual PCIe x16 links, plus x8 and x4 lanes dominate the reference design. The southbridge will come out too late to support the SATA 3.0 standard, but 3rd party SATA and SAS RAID controllers should be easily fit onto the motherboard.
AMDs Fiorano platform up close and personal. 2S will see 46 PCIe lanes, while the 4-8S space will see 88 PCIe lanes - theoretically, adding the second SP5100 or SP5500 Southbridge might add additional 4 PCIe lanes, but why?
Originally, Fiorano was supposed to be ready for Computex, but this is where it gets better for the consumer - the workstation space cannot tolerate errata's or bugs, hence the more time needed for AMD to polish the product. The chipset team in AMD's facilities in Canada did nothing else but excel with 7-Series chipset series for the desktop platform, and now they're pushing tin to polish the 8-series for the workstation and server segment. The Fiorano platform will debut with quad-core Opteron at 3.1 GHz and sexa-core Opteron at 2.6 GHz. If our sources are to be believed, we might see first motherboards with overclocking options exposed in the BIOS.
We can only hope that AMD's stock RAID performance gets up to the speed and flexibility of nVidia RAID. Our personal experience between Intel's ICH10R, AMD's SB750 and nVidia's MCP55-based RAID speaks that nVidia is the one with the fastest and most flexible RAID configuration. We can't wait to see the Fiorano platform ourselves.
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