AMD is keeping the pressure on Intel with the launch of three new models to its dual-core 64-bit Opteron portfolio, targeted respectively at high-end enterprise servers, workstations, and small servers and desktops, just five months after the initial launch of the dual-core Opteron last April.

The Opteron 880 is for eight-way, 16-core servers, the 280 for dual-processor workstations and servers, and the 180 is for one-processor, two-core servers and workstations. All apart from the 180 are expected to be available within 30 days, according to AMD.

Intel's biggest rival claimed the product could save enterprises with 500-server data centres up to US$50,000 annually. AMD VP Marty Seyer also claimed the processor delivers more performance per watt because of its PowerNow! technology that reduces power consumption by 75 per cent during idle time, helping to minimise power consumption.

Hardware vendors announcing support for the chips included HP, which will add the 880 to its four-processor/eight-core HP ProLiant DL 585 and BL45p, and the 280 in the two-processor/four-core ProLiant DL385 and DL145 G2, plus BL25p and BL35p server blades. HP will also install the 280 in its xw9300 workstations designed for creative and scientific applications.

However, according to AMD, Sun is the first OEM to design and develop systems with the 280, and will be shipping servers equipped with these highest-performing x64 processors next month. On 12 September, Sun launched the Galaxy range of servers which are multi-core available, including the four-way Sun Fire and Sun Fire X4100 servers, and one- and two-way Sun Fire X2100 servers.

Seyer said that that the fast introduction of this second raft of processors showed "undeniable technological leadership".

Pricing and availability

AMD is encouraging OEMs to move to dual core systems by overlapping the prices of its dual and single core parts.
The Dual-Core AMD Opteron processor Model 880 is priced at $2,649 in 1,000-unit quantities and the Model 280 is priced at $1,299 in 1,000-unit quantities. The Model 180 is scheduled to be available within 30 days and will be priced at $799 in 1,000-unit quantities.