If you can't wait until the end of March or so to get your hands on the dozen-core "ys" Opteron 6100 processors due from Advanced Micro Devices, then some cagey system builders have a deal for you out on eBay.
Oakville Mehlville Services, a service provider based in St Louis, Missouri, has put four of the Socket G34 processors up for sale for $7,700 - or just under £5,000. The Opteron 6174 chips that Oakville Mehlville has put up for sale run at 2.2 GHz.
And if you want a rack system based on a Tyan TX46 chassis and the S8812 motherboard, sporting four of the new G34 sockets and 64 GB of DDR3 memory installed, then you can shell out $15,500 and be one of the first people in the world to get a Magny-Cours system. (That's a little more than £10,000, if you happen to have that laying around).
If you want a tower machine, then Oakville Mehlville has another box using Tyan's S8812 motherboard and VX50 chassis with 128 GB of DD3 memory (sixteen 8 GB sticks from Kingston) all ready to go for a mere $25,000. Presumably that includes some disk drives.
That S8812 motherboard is based on the AMD SR5690/SP5100 chipset and has four PCI-Express 2.0 slots (one x16 and three x8) as well as four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. It also has six SATA-II and eight SAS 6 Gb/sec ports for disk and flash drives.
There's one caveat: If you buy this equipment today, you won't be able to get it until the official launch day per AMD's rules with its resellers. So distributors and system builders like Oakville Mehlville can get a little PR for themselves by posting feeds and speeds of the processors and their initial systems, but you can't actually take possession of the box until sometime in March, if all is going according to schedule.
According to a posting on a blog by John Fruehe - director of product marketing for server and workstation products at AMD - the company's chip fab partner, its own spinout GlobalFoundries, has indeed kicked out wafers in its fab in Dresden, Germany. The Mangy-Cours wafers are then shipped to Penang, Malaysia, for assembly into packages with pins and such, and then are passed on to Singapore for testing and bin sorting. Some will run faster than others, and some will only have eight cores that work properly instead of twelve
Fruehe conceded that production of Magny-Cours chips began in January and that OEM partners started receiving finished parts in February. He added that a "few select" end user customers have had initial orders for chips fulfilled. So if you shell out the money that Oakville Mehlville is asking, you will only be among the first.
What, did you think you would be able to get your hands on this stuff ahead of the likes of Google, eBay, or Yahoo? ®