With Monday's launch of the Xeon 5500 series processors, Intel has some serious contenders in the dual-socket server space as it brings the Nehalem architecture to the Xeon processor lineup. That could prove a real challenge to AMD and its quad-core Shanghai Opteron processors. With no real answer to Nehalem in terms of shear performance, sources are reporting that AMD is preparing to move up the release date for its next round of Opteron processors.
According to an unnamed custom system builder, AMD is planning on moving up the release of its Istanbul CPU from the second half of 2009 to June. Istanbul, AMD's code name for its six-core 45nm server chip, is the next progression in the AMD Opteron roadmap. Additionally, AMD is scheduled to release a new Shanghai server chip with a lower power envelope than its current 2.3GHz Opteron 8376HE, which is a low-power design rated at 55 watts using AMD's Average CPU Power system for rating power consumption.
AMD may be conceding that Intel's Nehalem-based Xeon processors reign supreme in terms of performance at the high end of the market and revert back to its standard position that customers are really more concerned about bang for the buck in terms of price, energy efficiency and overall value. AMD is also hitting back by criticizing the higher and power requirements of DDR3 memory required by the Xeon 5500 series versus DDR2 memory currently used by Opteron processors.