AMD has announced three new 64-bit Opteron processors for servers, boosting top speeds to 2.6 GHz and increasing HyperTransport bus performance to 1 GHz. The new models also incorporate the SSE3 software instructions Intel previously added to its chips that speed up multimedia operations such as encoding video.
Most appealing to business customers, however, may be added support for AMD's PowerNow technology. PowerNow slows down the Opteron processors, thus reducing power usage, in order to keep systems cooler when not in high demand.
The new Opteron models -- 852, 252 and 152 -- are the first to be built with a 90-nanometer process and won't come cheap. Priced in 1,000-unit quantities, the Opterons range from $637 to $1,514 USD. Nonetheless, computer makers including IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun have already announced plans to support the updated chips.
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