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Opteron is the name of the first x86-64 processor by AMD, released April 22, 2003.

Opteron is intented to compete in the server processor market, particularly in the same market segment of the Intel Xeon processor. Its main advantage is the possibility of running both current 32-bit applications without speed penalties, and new 64-bit applications that can use more than 4 Gigabytes of RAM.

Opteron includes an integrated DDR SDRAM memory controller, avoiding the need for a Northbridge and reducing the latency penalty for accessing the main RAM. Although the memory controller can be supplanted with a standard northbridge chip when new memory technologies arise, one loses the benefits of an on-core controller, thus necessitating a new chip whenever a new memory technology comes out.

Multiple Opterons on the same mainboard communicate through one or more high-speed HyperTransport links, so that each one can access the main memory of another processor in a way transparent to the programmer.

The Opteron naming scheme is a new one: each processor is identified with three digits, where the first is the "quantity" index (if the model is intended for 1-, 2- or 4- and 8-way servers and workstations), and the other two is a speed rating.


Opteron 242

Is an Opteron for two-way servers and workstations, with a speed rating of "42". The speed rating corresponds to an arbitrary clock speed, in this case 1.8 Ghz.

Opteron 842

The same Opteron for four- and eight-way servers and workstations.

Opteron 144

A faster Opteron for one-way servers and workstations.

See Also

AMD, X86-64, Athlon 64

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