AMD Now Shipping 8, 12-core Processors To Early Customers, OEMs

In a blog post yesterday, AMD's director of product marketing John Fruehe announced that the company is now shipping its eight and 12-core "Magny-Cours" processors to OEMs and select manufacturers. Magny-Cours, you may recall, is AMD's next-generation server CPU and consists of two Istanbul cores side-by-side on the same package. Since AMD has no native octal-core design, it's implied that the eight-core version of Magny-Cours consists of two Istanbul processors with two cores on each disabled.

If Magny-Cours is more-or-less an Istanbulx2, however, the upcoming Maranello platform is something altogether different. Maranello, which uses an LGA-style pinout, supports 16-48 cores, and provides each physical socket with four channels of DDR3 and up to four DIMMs per socket. Magny-Cours is aimed at retaking the upper end of the server market, where it should pack enough CPU horsepower and memory bandwidth to challenge Intel's six-core Westmere Xeons. Whether or not it can hold its own against the octal-core Nehalem-EX is another matter, though AMD will undoubtedly have room to compete on price, particularly if it proves a capable challenger to Westmere.

In his post, Fruehe claims that this information is actually coming out a bit earlier than AMD intended due to a reseller claiming to be selling the next-generation chips before they're actually available. Later this year, AMD will follow its new high-end server parts with the midrange Lisbon platform. Lisbon will use a different socket than Magny-Cours (a first for AMD, which has not differentiated its server products by socket type (with the exception of some Socket 939 1xx Opterons) since it launched K8 in 2003. Both the Maranello and San Marino platforms will be compatible with AMD's Bulldozer processor, which is scheduled to debut in 2011.