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By | Chris Mellor 9th September 2008 17:15

AMD trumpets Hyper-V nuptials

A marriage of convenient marketing

In addition rolling out a trio of tri-core processors, AMD has said it's snuggling up to Microsoft and Hyper-V.

The Chipzilla competitor, now on the back foot due to a resurgent Intel, has devised a clever marketing scheme in bringing out triple-core processors. As we reported earlier today, there are three triple-core chips, known as Phenom X3s. The 8750 Black Edition, perhaps with a Western Digital Caviar Black naming influence, is the X3 performance model, offering something called a Clock Multiplier Control. Presumably, it goes faster when you multiply the clock, a bit like hitting a turbo-charger button - perhaps.

AMD asserts that, "When coupled with the new tuning capabilities of the 790GX chipset and the leading performance of ATI Radeon HD 4800 series graphics, users will experience intensely visual gaming and stunning digital media." Good stuff.

The 8450e and 8250e are lower-performing, more energy-efficient economy model chips, drawing 65 watts. This is not as low a power draw as Intel's newest 45nm quad-core processors, but AMD is using an older 65nm process and doesn't have Intel's power leakage reducing high-k metal gate technology.

These triple-core chips are for intensive gamers and digital content (meaning graphics and video) creators. Desktop OEMs can create straight high-performance or balanced performance and energy-efficient systems for what AMD describes as "mainstream and enthusiast users who run power-intensive programs and are looking to conserve energy."

The Hyper-V snuggling involves Opterons and AMD Virtualization technology, which somehow works with Hyper-V to increase server efficiency whilst lowering power consumption. It's all about Hyper-V working well with AMD-V, with servers able to host more virtual machines, carry out more transactions and support more users. How? Well... it's due to AMD's I/O Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) providing "a secure, scalable, high-performance solution for I/O virtualization." Unfortunately, neither AMD nor Microsoft are providing any figures to back this up. If AMD-based servers with AMD-V can host more virtual machines then why not say how many more?

There may well be great technology here, but there's no hard and fast data available about its usefulness. It's a puzzle. AMD wasn't able to respond in time for this story. It's possibly relevant that Intel has not put out a we-support-Hyper-V statement.

The combined Hyper-V/AMD-V servers are targeted at mid-sized companies. This market focus suggests a more price-based and performance-limited pitch than a pure performance one. Otherwise, it would apply to larger businesses too. ®

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