AMD aims to rejuvenate 4P server market

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With the release of AMD’s new Opteron 6000 series processors, AMD is seeking to add life to the market of 4P processors, which has been in relative decline because prices for 4P CPUs are so high compared to 2P CPUs (the “4P tax”).

In a blog post on the AMD blog yesterday, a marketing director laid out AMD’s rationale for not only reducing the price of their new 4P processors, but making the Opteron 6100 compatible for both 2P and 4P servers (essentially, eliminating the 4P tax).

This is an exciting development in the processor market and could spark further healthy competition with Intel. But, is this a lasting trend or just a marketing coup?

The AMD marketing director writes, “In reality, the 4P capable processor was often essentially the same silicon [as the 2P capable processor].” But then, he goes on to describe at length the advantages of a 4P system over a 2P system in the areas of highly parallel HPC, virtualization, database servers, and growing applications. There are definitely scalability advantages in having one 4P server over two 2P servers. And in the real world, greater advantages in a product mean higher prices for that product.

So, whether the 4P tax is gone for good or the new AMD Opterons are just a “get-’em-while-they’re-hot” marketing campaign, it’s a breath of fresh air for the 4P server market.


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