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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 333Mhz DDR RAM 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 looses 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, 4 or 8 processor servers), and the other two a speed rating.


Opteron 242

Is an Opteron for two-processors servers, 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 eight-processors servers.

Opteron 444

A faster Opteron for four-processors servers.

See Also

AMD, X86-64, Athlon 64

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