Retailer leaks details on AMD's upcoming 12-core chips

Provantage is taking orders for AMD's upcoming 12-core Opteron chips, code-named Magny-Cours

An online retail store is taking orders for Advanced Micro Devices' upcoming 12-core Opteron processors, code-named Magny-Cours, ahead of the official launch.

Provantage is taking orders for Opteron X12 6100 series chips that run at clock speeds between 1.7GHz and 2.4GHz. The chips have 12 cores, with 16MB or 18MB of cache, and draw between 65 watts and 105 watts of power.

Chip prices range from US$293 to $1,491 depending on clock speed, cache size and power. The most expensive chip is the Opteron X12 6176 SE processor, which runs at 2.3GHz, has 18MB of cache and draws 105 watts of power. It is priced at $1,491.

AMD did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the chips and pricing. The company has already started shipping Magny-Cours processors to server manufacturers, which will be announcing products as early as next week.

AMD has also moved to drum up interest ahead of the chip's official launch, which could happen next week. Earlier this month, AMD announced a contest offering prizes valued at $8,189 to the person who best describes in an essay, video or blog post how to use 48 cores in a server. The prizes included four Opteron processors running at 2.2GHz.

Magny-Cours processors include twice as many cores as the previous generation of Istanbul chips and are targeted at two-socket and four-socket processors. AMD has said it will put four memory channels per processor, which would help move data between memory and the CPU faster.

Putting more cores on the processor could help servers deliver better performance. That could help in energy savings and consolidation of data centers by reducing the number of servers required to perform a set of tasks.

AMD is scheduled to launch the Magny-Cours processors around the time Intel announces the eight-core Nehalem-EX processor, which is due to happen March 30. Intel has dubbed Nehalem-EX its fastest processor to date.

Provantage has also listed 80-watt Opteron X12 6100 processors including the 6174 processor, which runs at 2.2GHz, and the 6172 processor, which runs at 2.1GHz. The chips have 18MB of cache and are priced at around $1,250 and $1,060, respectively.

Other 80-watt chips include the 6136, which runs at 2.4GHz and is priced at around $800.

The site also lists one 65-watt processor, the $560 Opteron X12 6128, which runs at 2.0GHz and has 16MB of cache. A more power-hungry version of the Opteron X12 6128 draws 80 watts and is priced at $292.

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