The Opteron is AMD's x86 server processor line, and was the first processor to implement the AMD64 instruction set architecture (known generically as x86-64). It was released on April 22, 2003 with the SledgeHammer core (K8) and was intended to compete in the server/workstation market, particularly in the same segment as the Intel Xeon processor. Processors based on the AMD K10 microarchitecture (codenamed Barcelona) were announced on September 10, 2007 featuring a new quad core configuration.
Professionals who need cuttingedge 32- and 64-bit performance choose workstations powered by AMD Opteron processor. Loaded with advanced power management features and built on AMD's revolutionary Direct Connect Architecture, which provides outstanding system level performance, platforms based on AMD Opteron processor provide ideal solutions for customers running applications in fields such as engineering, manufacturing, financial, entertainment, oil and gas, life sciences, or others that require world class computational performance.
Multi Processor Features:
In multi processor systems (more than one Opteron on a single motherboard), the CPUs communicate using the Direct Connect Architecture over high speed Hyper Transport links. Each CPU can access the main memory of another processor, transparent to the programmer. The Opteron approach to multi processing is not the same as standard symmetric multiprocessing instead of having one bank of memory for all CPUs, each CPU has its own memory. Thus the Opteron is a Non Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) architecture. The Opteron CPU directly supports up to an 8 way configuration, which can be found in mid level
servers. Enterprise level servers use additional (and expensive) routing chips to support more than 8 CPUs (cores, ie 2x quad) per box.