HP announces AMD 6- and 12-core workstations

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Palo Alto (CA) – Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the first major workstation vendor to announce systems that can be ordered with AMD’s monolithic 6-core Opteron 2400-series processors, previously code-named Istanbul. With up to 12 cores, HP’s workstation is an option to Intel Nehalem-based DP workstations.

If the number of cores matters, then HP’s xw9400 is the workstation you would want. The 6-core Opteron 2400-series processor is “immediately integrated” into HP’s workstation family, the company announced today. The xw9400 has been available for some time with AMD’s 2200- and 2300-series Opteron quad-core CPUs.

The system is designed as a dual-socket workstation, which can house one or two Opteron 2400 processors. Despite the announcement that the processor is available now, it actually cannot be ordered yet.

At the time of this writing, the 6-core option was not available and a quick check with an HP sales representative indicated that it may take another week until the chip can be ordered with an xw9400 system. “I like how we put ‘immediate integration’ in the announcement,” the sales representative said. “We never seem to have them that quick which frustrates the heck out of us here.”

Pricing remains a mystery as a result and it seems unlikely that a 6-core system can be purchased for $1900, as indicated in HP’s press release. Using the current dual-socket quad-core workstations as a guideline, customers should expect a price tag somewhere between $5000 and $6000 for a 12-core xw9400 model.

If you can’t wait and if you are after the best performance, you may even want to skip the xw9400 and go with a dual-socket Intel Xeon 5500-series system (Nehalem core). At least according to public server/workstation benchmarks, the Xeon (DP) W5580 offers more speed than the AMD 2400 series. HP offers the W5580 processor only in a 1-way configuration in its Z800 system, which sells for about $6700. A dual-socket E5530-based Z800 is available for $7800.

Dell is, according to our knowledge, the only major vendor to sell a dual-socket W5580 workstation. A Precision T5500 system equipped with two W5580 processors currently sells for about $6620.