Opteron: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Opteron logo.png
Produced From April 2003 to present
Common manufacturer(s) AMD
Max. CPU clock rate 1.4 GHz to 3.2 GHz
HyperTransport speeds 800 MHz to 2400 MHz
Min. feature size 0.13µm to 45nm
Instruction set x86, x86-64
Cores 1, 2, 4 or 6

The Opteron is AMD's x86 server and workstation processor line, and was the first processor to implement the AMD64 instruction set architecture (known generically as x86-64). It was released on April 22, 2003 with the SledgeHammer core (K8) and was intended to compete in the server and workstation markets, particularly in the same segment as the Intel Xeon processor. Processors based on the AMD K10 microarchitecture (codenamed Barcelona) were announced on September 10, 2007 featuring a new quad-core configuration.


Technical description

AMD Opteron.

Two key capabilities

Opteron combines two important capabilities in a single processor:

  1. native execution of legacy x86 32-bit applications without speed penalties
  2. native execution of x86-64 64-bit applications

The first capability is notable because at the time of Opteron's introduction, the only other 64-bit architecture marketed with 32-bit x86 compatibility (Intel's Itanium) ran x86 legacy-applications only with significant speed degradation. The second capability, by itself, is less noteworthy, as major RISC architectures such as (SPARC, Alpha, PA-RISC, PowerPC, MIPS) have been 64-bit for many years. In combining these two capabilities, however, the Opteron earned recognition for its ability to run the vast installed base of x86 applications economically, while simultaneously offering an upgrade-path to 64-bit computing.

The Opteron processor possesses an integrated memory controller supporting DDR SDRAM, DDR2 SDRAM or DDR3 SDRAM (depending on processor generation). This both reduces the latency penalty for accessing the main RAM and eliminates the need for a separate northbridge chip.

Multi-processor features

In multi-processor systems (more than one Opteron on a single motherboard), the CPUs communicate using the Direct Connect Architecture over high-speed HyperTransport links. Each CPU can access the main memory of another processor, transparent to the programmer. The Opteron approach to multi-processing is not the same as standard symmetric multiprocessing; instead of having one bank of memory for all CPUs, each CPU has its own memory. Thus the Opteron is a Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) architecture. The Opteron CPU directly supports up to an 8-way configuration, which can be found in mid-level servers. Enterprise-level servers use additional (and expensive) routing chips to support more than 8 CPUs per box.

In a variety of computing benchmarks, the Opteron architecture has demonstrated better multi-processor scaling than the Intel Xeon[1]. This is primarily because adding an additional Opteron processor increases memory bandwidth, while that is not always the case for Xeon systems, and the fact that the Opterons use a switched fabric, rather than a shared bus. In particular, the Opteron's integrated memory controller allows the CPU to access local RAM very quickly. In contrast, multiprocessor Xeon system CPUs share only two common buses for both processor-processor and processor-memory communication. As the number of CPUs increases in a typical Xeon system, contention for the shared bus causes computing efficiency to drop. Intel is migrating to a memory architecture similar to the Opteron's for the Intel Core i7 family of processors and their Xeon derivatives.

Multi-core Opterons

Quad-Core Opteron processor
AMD Opteron with six cores

In May 2005, AMD introduced its first multi-core Opterons. At the time, AMD's use of the term multi-core in practice meant dual-core; each physical Opteron chip contained two processor cores. This effectively doubled the computing performance available to each motherboard processor socket. One socket can now deliver the performance of two processors, two sockets can deliver the performance of four processors, and so on. Because motherboard costs increase dramatically as the number of CPU sockets increase, multicore CPUs enable a multiprocessing system to be built at lower cost.

AMD's model number scheme has changed somewhat in light of its new multicore lineup. At the time of its introduction, AMD's fastest multicore Opteron was the model 875, with two cores running at 2.2 GHz each. AMD's fastest single-core Opteron at this time was the model 252, with one core running at 2.6 GHz. For multithreaded applications, or many single threaded applications, the model 875 would be much faster than the model 252.

Second-generation Opterons are offered in three series: the 1000 Series (single socket only), the 2000 Series (dual socket-capable), and the 8000 Series (quad or octo socket-capable). The 1000 Series uses the AM2 socket. The 2000 Series and 8000 Series use Socket F.[1]

AMD launched its Third-Generation Quad-core[2] Opteron chips on September 10, 2007 [3] with hardware vendors to follow suit with servers in the following month. Based on a core design codenamed Barcelona, new power and thermal management techniques are planned for the chips. Existing dual core DDR2 based platforms will be upgradeable to quad core chips[4]. The fourth generation was launched in June 2009 with the Istanbul hexa-cores.

Socket 939

AMD has also released Socket 939 Opterons, reducing the cost of motherboards for low-end servers and workstations. Except for the fact they have 1 MB L2 Cache (versus 512 KB for the Athlon64) the Socket 939 Opterons are identical to the San Diego and Toledo core Athlon 64s, but are run at lower clockspeeds than the cores are capable of, making them more stable. They are also the only dual core Socket 939 processors still easily available now that the Athlon 64 X2s for that platform have been discontinued, though even these processors are becoming more and more difficult to find. [2]

Socket AM2

Socket AM2 Opterons are available for servers that only have a single-chip setup. These chips may prove to be as successful as the previous generation socket 939 Opterons due to the Opteron's overclockability. Codenamed Santa Ana, rev. F dual core AM2 Opterons feature 2×1 MB L2 cache, unlike the majority of their Athlon 64 X2 cousins which feature 2x512 KB L2 cache.

Socket F

Socket F (LGA 1207 contacts) is AMD’s second generation of Opteron socket. This socket supports processors such as the Santa Rosa, Barcelona and Shanghai codenamed processors. The “Lidded Land Grid Array” socket adds support for DDR2 SDRAM and improved HyperTransport version 3 connectivity. Physically the socket and processor package are nearly identical, although not generally compatible with socket 1207 FX

Micro-architecture update

The Opteron line saw an update with the implementation of the AMD K10 microarchitecture. New processors, launched in the third quarter of 2007 (codename Barcelona), incorporate a variety of improvements, particularly in memory prefetching, speculative loads, SIMD execution and branch prediction, yielding an appreciable performance improvement over K8-based Opterons, within the same power envelope.[5]

In the meantime, AMD has also utilized a new scheme to characterize the power consumption of new processors under "average" daily usage, named Average CPU Power (ACP).


For Socket 940 and Socket 939 Opterons, each chip has a three-digit model number, in the form Opteron XYY. For Socket F and Socket AM2 Opterons, each chip has a four-digit model number, in the form Opteron XZYY. For all Opterons, the first digit (the X) specifies the number of CPUs on the target machine:

For Socket F and Socket AM2 Opterons, the second digit (the Z) represents the processor generation. Presently, only 2 (dual-core, DDR2), 3 (quad-core, DDR2) and 4 (six-core, DDR2) are used.

For all Opterons, the last two digits in the model number (the YY) indicate the clock frequency of a CPU, a higher number indicating a higher clock frequency. This speed indication is comparable to processors of the same generation if they have the same amount of cores, single-cores and dual-cores have different indications despite sometimes having the same clock frequency.

The suffix HE or EE indicates a high-efficiency/energy-efficiency model having a lower TDP than a standard Opteron. The suffix SE indicates a top-of-the-line model having a higher TDP than a standard Opteron.

AMD Opteron processor family
Logo Server
Code-named Core Date released Remarks
AMD Opteron logo as of 2003 SledgeHammer
130 nm
90 nm
90 nm
90 nm
Jun 2003
Aug 2005
Jan 2006
Jan 2006
Santa Ana
Santa Rosa
90 nm
90 nm
90 nm
90 nm
90 nm
Mar 2006
May 2006
Jun 2006
Aug 2006
Aug 2006
AMD Opteron logo as of 2008 Barcelona
65 nm
65 nm
45 nm
Sep 2007
Apr 2008
Nov 2008
Istanbul 45 nm Jun 2009 Six-core
List of AMD Opteron microprocessors

Opteron (130 nm SOI)

Single-core — SledgeHammer (1yy, 2yy, 8yy)

Opteron (90 nm SOI, DDR)

Single-core — Venus (1yy), Troy (2yy), Athens (8yy)
Dual-core — Denmark (1yy), Italy (2yy), Egypt (8yy)

Opteron (90 nm SOI, DDR2)

Dual-core — Santa Ana (12yy), Santa Rosa (22yy, 82yy)

Opteron (65 nm SOI)

Quad-core — Barcelona (23xx, 83xx) 2360/8360 and below, Budapest (13yy)

Opteron (45 nm SOI)

Quad-core — Shanghai (23xx, 83xx) 2370/8370 and above
  • CPU-Steppings: C2
  • L3-Cache: 6 MB, shared
  • Clockrate: 2300–2900 MHz
  • HyperTransport 1.0, 3.0
  • 20% reduction in idle power consumption[4]
  • support for DDR2 800MHz memory [5]

Opteron (45 nm SOI)

Six-core — Istanbul (24xx, 84xx)

The newest and fastest Opteron processors available, released 1 June 2009.

  • CPU-Steppings: ??
  • L3-Cache: 6 MB, shared
  • Clockrate: 2200–2800 MHz
  • HyperTransport 3.0
  • HT–Assist
  • support for DDR2 800MHz memory [6]


Supercomputers based on Opteron mentioned in the top 20 fastest supercomputers in the world as of November 2009:


Opteron without Optimized Power Management

AMD has released some Opteron processors without Optimized Power Management (OPM) support, which use DDR memory. The following table describes those processors lacking OPM.

Max P-State
Min P-State
Model Package-Socket Core # TDP (W) Manufacturing
Part Number(OPN)
1400 MHz N/A 140 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA140CEP5AT
1400 MHz N/A 240 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA240CEP5AU
1400 MHz N/A 840 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA840CEP5AV
1600 MHz N/A 142 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA142CEP5AT
1600 MHz N/A 242 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA242CEP5AU
1600 MHz N/A 842 Socket 940 1 82.1 130 nm OSA842CEP5AV
1600 MHz N/A 242 Socket 940 1 85.3 90 nm OSA242FAA5BL
1600 MHz N/A 842 Socket 940 1 85.3 90 nm OSA842FAA5BM
1600 MHz N/A 260 Socket 940 2 55.0 90 nm OSK260FAA6CB
1600 MHz N/A 860 Socket 940 2 55.0 90 nm OSK860FAA6CC

Opteron recall

AMD has recalled some E4 stepping-revision single-core Opteron processors, including x52 (2.6 GHz) and x54 (2.8 GHz) models which use DDR memory. The following table describes affected processors, as they are listed in AMD Opteron x52 and x54 Production Notice.[6]

Max P-State
Uni-Processor Dual Processor Multi-Processor Package-Socket
2600 MHz 152 252 852 Socket 940
2800 MHz N/A 254 854 Socket 940
2600 MHz 152 N/A N/A Socket 939
2800 MHz 154 N/A N/A Socket 939

The affected processors may produce inconsistent results in the presence of three specific conditions occurring simultaneously:

  • The execution of floating point-intensive code sequences
  • Elevated processor temperatures
  • Elevated ambient temperatures

A software verification tool for identifying the AMD Opteron processors listed in the above table that may be affected under these specific conditions is available only to AMD OEM partners. AMD will replace those processors at no charge.


In the February 2010 issue of Custom PC (a UK based computing magazine focussed on PC hardware), the AMD Opteron 144 (released in Summer 2005) appeared in the "Hardware Hall of Fame". It was described as "The best overclocker's CPU ever made" due to its low cost and ability to run at speeds way behind its stock speed (according to Custom PC, it could run at "close to 3GHz on air").


In Q1 2010 the lineup will be replaced with codenamed Sao Paulo and Magny-Cours products manufactured using the MCM technique, utilizing Socket G34. Sao Paulo will have six cores. Magny-Cours will first be released with eight cores, but another variant with twelve cores will be released later. Further, the server line of processors will incorporate the newly announced Bulldozer core with native 4 cores or more configurations on 32 nm process, each supporting SSE5 aimed at better HPC and cryptographic computations. Bulldozer-based products are expected to be released in 2011.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "SPECint2006 Rate Results for multiprocessor systems". http://www.spec.org/cgi-bin/osgresults. Retrieved 2008-12-27.  
  2. ^ "AMD Quad-Core Product Images". http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/Additional/DieImageGallert.swf. Retrieved 2008-09-02.  
  3. ^ [AMD Introduces the World’s Most Advanced x86 Processor, Designed for the Demanding Datacenter AMD to Ship Industry’s First Native x86 Quad-Core Processors In September]
  4. ^ "Quad-Core Upgradeability". http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/0,,30_118_8796_14286,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-06.   6-core Opteron Processors codenamed 'Istanbul' were launched early on the 1st July, 2009. They are a drop-in upgrade for existing Socket F servers.
  5. ^ Merritt, Rick. "AMD tips quad-core performance". EETimes.com. http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700269. Retrieved 2007-03-16.  
  6. ^ Advanced Micro Devices (2006-04). "AMD Opteron Processor Models x52 and x54 Production Notice". Press release. http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/content_type/DownloadableAssets/40820_PUB_AMD_Opteron_Processor_Production_Notice_rev_3_08.pdf. Retrieved 2006-11-30.  
  7. ^ http://www.tgdaily.com/hardware-features/37323-amd-announces-6-core-and-12-core-opteron-processors

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address