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AMD sets June launch for Zen-based Naples server chips

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Advanced Micro Devices announced a timetable for its Zen-based Naples server chips that are aimed at disrupting Intel’s hold on the data center. The new chips will formally launch under the brand name Epyc in June.

AMD’s Zen architecture is the company’s most competitive design for a family of new processors in a decade. It launched its Ryzen desktop computer chips in March, saying that the chips could process 52 percent faster per clock cycle than the previous generation. That was a big advance that AMD says carries over to Naples.

Naples is a two-socket server chip aimed at Intel’s flagship chip, the Broadwell-EP-based Xeon E5 V4. Naples has 32 cores and is capable of processing 64 simultaneous threads at the same time. It supports up to two terabytes of RAM, while Broadwell chips have 22 cores, 44 threads, and 1.5 TB of RAM.

AMD previously said it was shipping the Naples chips in the second quarter, and now it has narrowed that window to a matter of weeks.

AMD is emphasizing its high core count, big memory bandwidth, and support for high-speed input/output channels in a single chip. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, said during the company’s financial analyst day that Epyc promises to revolutionize the dual-socket server market while simultaneously reshaping expectations for single-socket servers.

The first Epyc-based servers will launch in June with widespread support from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and channel partners, AMD said.

“With the new Epyc processor, AMD takes the next step on our journey in high-performance computing,” said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom products at AMD. “AMD Epyc processors will set a new standard for two-socket performance and scalability. As we demonstrated today, we see further opportunity with the industry’s first no-compromise one-socket solutions. We believe that this new product line-up has the potential to reshape significant portions of the data center market with its unique combination of performance, design flexibility, and disruptive total cost of ownership (TCO).”

AMD showed a single Epyc processor exceeding the performance of a competitive mid-range, two-socket / two-processor platform in a head-to-head comparison. AMD said that Epyc has 45 percent more cores, 60 percent more input-output capacity, and 122 percent more memory bandwidth than its nearest rival.

“Dropbox is currently evaluating AMD Epyc CPUs in-house, and we are impressed with the initial performance we see across workloads in single-socket configurations,” said Akhil Gupta, vice president of infrastructure at Dropbox, in a statement. “The combination of core performance, memory bandwidth, and I/O support make Epyc a unique offering. We look forward to continuing to evaluate Epyc as an option for our infrastructure.”

“Today’s single-socket server offerings push buyers toward purchasing a more expensive two-socket server just to get the memory bandwidth and I/O they need to support the compute performance of the cores,” said Matthew Eastwood, senior vice president at IDC, in a statement. “There are no fully featured, high-performance server processors available today in a single-socket configuration. Epyc changes that dynamic by offering a single-processor solution that delivers the right-sized number of high-performance cores, memory, and I/O for today’s workloads.”

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