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Decoding AMD's new Opteron model numbers

Yesterday, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., of Sunnyvalle, Calif., announced its new generation of Opteron microprocessors. And with the new single, dual, and'coming next year'quad and eight-ways chips, comes a new naming scheme. Gone are the three-digit designations for different model series (i.e. Opteron Model 280, etc.). AMD has moved to 4-number monikers, so the new 2.4 GHz dual core Opteron, for instance, will be called Model 2216.

The naming scheme can convey a lot of information in a knowledgeable glance, even if it does obfuscate the chip clock rates a tad. Steve Demski, AMD Marketing Manager, explained what each one of those four digits means. Here's how it works:

The first digital indicates how many cores that product series could have. Hence the 1000 series chips will only have one core. The 2000 series will come dual cores, and the 8000 series will come in either four or eight cores.

(Note that the 1000 series has a different socket'Socket AM2'than the 2000 and 4000 series, both of which use the Socket F socket. This means you can upgrade from a Series F dual-core Opteron to 4-way or 8-way processor, but you can't go from a single core to one with more cores, as the single core Opteron runs on different socket).

The second digit represents the socket generation. For all the new models, that number will be 2.

The third and forth digits indicate that speed of that chip in relation to others in the series. The Model 2218'which runs at 2.6 Ghz'is faster than 2.4 Ghz Model 2216, and so on. Model numbers will increase in increments of 2 for every 200 Mhz, with Model 2214 at 2.2 Ghz and 2216 for 2.4 Ghz, and so on. (We forgot to ask Demski why AMD started 1.8 Ghz as the base. It seems like unwary observers could get the impression a chip runs 200 MHz faster, or 800 Mhz shower, than it actually does).

As in the previous generation of Opterons, some chips will come with 'HE' and 'SE' variants. 'HE' indicates the low-power version of a chip, which is throttled back to run at a slower clock rate. 'SE' stands for a high-performance model, a chip that runs faster but consumes more watts.

--Posted by Joab Jackson

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Aug 16, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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