AMD chips give HP servers extra welly

AMD chips give HP servers extra welly

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has began selling servers with faster processors, using the latest line of dual-core processors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

The changes will affect all three blade servers and all three stand-alone servers from HP.

A company spokesman called the design change a "speed bump" since it represents an upgrade of servers that were already based on technology from AMD.

"Customers like speed bump upgrades because they don't have to do requalification in their labs. It's the same model, so they can just plug their applications into the new device," said Steve Cumings, group manager for ProLiant Opteron Systems at HP.

"And they like AMD because it offers good performance per watt; many of our customers are worried about how much power they can get into their data centers to run those things," he said.

The new processors include three models of AMD's dual-core Opteron design; 185, 285 and 885. All three are designed to increase performance while holding power consumption at 95 watts or below. Model 185 is made for smaller servers and workstations, while Model 285 is meant for high-performance workstations and Model 885 for enterprise-class servers.

HP will put them into six servers in its ProLiant line: the DL145, DL385 and DL585 rack-based, density-optimized servers, and BL25p, BL35p and BL45p server blades.

HP also makes servers with Xeon-based processors from Intel in order to offer its customers a choice. But in recent months, the market has consistently chosen AMD's Opteron.

"When we first delivered a single-core Opteron, it was faster for applications like databases, high performance computing and Web applications. The single core Xeon was still better for applications like file and print because it ran at higher clock speeds," Cumings said.

"Then AMD released the dual-core Opteron, and it was faster for pretty much any multithreaded application."

HP also plans to upgrade its Intel-based servers as soon as the processor manufacturer releases its new family of Dempsey and Woodcrest chips.

Those new processors are built with Intel's new Core Microarchitecture design, using 65-nanometer die size to combine the energy efficiency of the company's Pentium M and Core Duo processors with the high performance of its Pentium 4 and Xeon products.

HP will roll those into seven ProLiant computers, from workstations to servers and blades. Intel has promised that Woodcrest will boost performance 80 percent while reducing power draw 35 percent, compared to the 2.8GHz Xeon.

The upgrade could make a big difference, compared to Intel's current family of processors. Future sales will show whether it also has an impact on Intel's market share.

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