back to article AMD will sell server CPUs at Happy Meal prices so you can supersize servers

AMD has deployed a team of folks to charm enterprise server users ahead of the debut of its Zen designed-from-scratch x86 processor microarchitecture and the message they're sending is that the new silicon represents a chance to supersize servers. As explained to The Register by Vinay Sinha, AMD's senior director for …

  1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    are there any solid dates

    When these new chips are going to ship? Or even a guess? Q1? Q2?

    1. NoneSuch
      Mushroom

      The Biggest Reason

      My issue with Zen (and I was one of the keenest to buy their new CPU) is their locking out any OS save Windows 10 and some Linux distros. I was going to spend well over 2,500 to build a new custom game rig with Zen chips, but not now.

      I hate Win 10 and will never use it on my home machine. Win 7 it will remain. As long as Zen remains Win 10 exclusive, it will not be in my home.

      1. tojb
        Stop

        Re: The Biggest Reason

        Misconception, Zen doesn't lock anything out: microsoft is saying that they refusing to support it with their <10 windows versions. Probably they are just being dicks as usual and they'll change their mind if OEMs badly want to ship with win7 instead of 10.

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/02/windows_intel_kaby_lake_amd_zen/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Biggest Reason

          Far from locking out Linux, AMD have released kernel and compiler patches for Zen:

          https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=AMD-Zen-CLZERO-Kernel

          BSD can't be far behind, if at all.

      2. Snobol4

        Re: The Biggest Reason

        That's down to M$, not AMD. Same goes for Intel. All new silicon is Win10 only. Microsoft is forcing everything to Win10, even those people and industries that have serious issues currently doing so

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would rather see a thousand core ARM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Parallella guy has produced a 1024-core chip:

      https://www.parallella.org/2016/10/05/epiphany-v-a-1024-core-64-bit-risc-processor/

      That is probably a better approach than trying to replicate a powerful architecture like 64 bit x86 or ARM to that sort of core-count.

      1. knarf

        1024 cores...

        would not mind at all getting my sticky little mitts on a 1024 core board.

      2. Captain TickTock
        Boffin

        The Parallella guy...

        ... has taped out a 1024-core chip

        4-5 months yet before he sees silicon

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: The Parallella guy...

          "... has taped out a 1024-core chip"

          That must have used a lot of tape!

          I remember when people such as Bill Mensch really would tape out microprocessor designs by hand.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        re The Parallella guy has produced a 1024-core chip:

        Same power as the 64 core Parallella - so 2 watts or something. Need a positive expletive generator for that! Fuck Me! Will have to do for now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re The Parallella guy has produced a 1024-core chip:

          1024 cores? Imagine licensing windows server 2016 on that

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re The Parallella guy has produced a 1024-core chip:

          Same power as the 64 core Parallella - so 2 watts or something.

          "We will not disclose final power and frequency numbers until silicon returns, but based on simulations we can confirm that they should be in line with the 64-core Epiphany-IV chip adjusted for process shrink, core count, and feature changes"

          I took that to mean around 2 watts * (1024/64) - (something for process shrink) + (something for feature changes) ie around 32 watts. Still pretty impressive for the core count, but not magic-land

      4. Brian Miller

        The Epiphany chip and the normal CPU are two very different beasts. The Epiphany has more in common with an nCube computer than the equivalent in x86 or ARM cores. In the Epiphany, each core has its own CPU, memory (not cache!) and interconnect. Think of it as a coprocessor, given tasks by the host. Yes, it's a very sophisticated little chip, but it won't help with a database or web server load.

        The current chip you can buy now is a 16-core, and the 64-core was only shipped to the project's Kickstarter backers. AFAIK, there have been no plans announced to make the 64-core chip available again. And I'm fairly certain that the new chip won't be found on a Raspberry Pi-sized board.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re I would rather see a thousand core ARM.

      While that might be fun it needs some high bandwith interconnecty things. Fujitsu are making a supercomputer with arms and the good bits from GPU's added on which could be interestings.

  3. Doc Ock

    I really really want AMD to succeed but they always end up dropping short with the competition giving better performance per watt. For example AMD brought out the RX 460 which was competitive for about all of two months then up comes the GTX 1050 and I feel the same will happen with Zen. I just don't think their R&D budget is big enough, shame.

    1. n0r0imusha

      rx460

      should have invested in the rx480 8gb, definitely worth every single penny

      1. Doc Ock

        Re: rx460

        >should have invested in the rx480 8gb, definitely worth every single penny

        Where do they come from ?

    2. Wade Burchette

      The RX series really excels at DX12/Vulkan games. That is because AMD designed this generation of GPU's for what will be, not what is.

      1. Doc Ock

        >this generation of GPU's for what will be, not what is.

        You know what they say:

        Tomorrow never comes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When Zen can compete with Intel's Core series. AMD's marketing department is no match for them. This lame "selling almost without profit" method no longer feels like a trick. Continuous use of this method as the main weapon is a sign of having very weak marketing brain and surrender.

    P.Op.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Sounds interesting

    I might have to replace our ageing 64-core Opteron compute server (still running smoothly though) at some point in the near future. Will certainly give these Zen chips a look. Regarding the 1024-core chips, these are certainly interesting too, but my impression is they might be less suitable for the kind of workloads I have. One worry would be getting enough data from memory to each of the cores. Still worth a look see. We do indeed live in interesting times.

  6. defiler Silver badge

    Licensing...

    Given that Microsoft are moving to per-core licensing on Server 2016 (and I expect other products won't be far behind), corporate users will want to see per-core performance on a par with Xeon before moving. Not an issue with Linux workloads, mind.

    Besides that, there's the small matter of live-migrating virtual machines to the new architecture. That's a significant migration speedbump if you can't vmotion (or equivalent) straight across.

    I like AMD. I'm running on one right now. Sadly they've just not been competitive with Intel for a while.

  7. Frank N. Stein

    RX 460 in Crossfire

    RX 460 in Crossfire works fine, for me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RX 460 in Crossfire

    RX 460 in Crossfire works fine, for me.

  9. John Savard Silver badge

    Picture Caption

    When the picture showed "a motherboard for a Xen-powered server"... well, there is an open-source virtualization system called Xen, and virtualization is used a lot in servers, but I doubt that's what was meant.

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