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AMD demos six-core Istanbul chips

New chips improve on Shanghai platform

AMD has demonstrated the first working models of Istanbul chips, the company's upcoming line of server processors with six cores.

The chips offer better performance while drawing the same amount of power as existing quad-core Shanghai server chips, wrote John Fruehe, director of business development for server and workstation products at AMD, in a blog entry.

"Despite putting more cores in the processor, we managed to keep it in the same power and thermal ranges as our existing 'Shanghai' processors," Fruehe wrote. Shanghai chips draw between 45 watts and 105 watts of power and run at speeds between 2.3GHz and 2.8GHz.

Servers with Istanbul chips also showed better memory throughput and improved application performance in Windows Server 2008 through hyperthreading compared to previous processors, according to AMD.

AMD Istanbul
Servers may include up to 48 cores by accommodating up to eight Istanbul chips, Fruehe said. Users will be able to plug Istanbul into existing sockets that run Shanghai chips.

The six-core chips are due in the second half of this year, Fruehe said. They will be manufactured using the 45-nanometre process. A company spokesman declined to provide further release details.

AMD is in a race with chip rival Intel to put more cores on chips in the effort to improve chip performance while drawing less power. Intel officials recently said that their upcoming eight-core Nehalem EX processors would enable servers to have up to 64 cores. Intel hasn't provided an official release date for Nehalem EX chips.

AMD will follow Istanbul with the 12-core chip code-named Magny-Cours in 2010.

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