AMD, having found some success targeting “little iron” implementations within the server market, is doubling down on that strategy with the launch of two new Opteron families. AMD’s Opteron 3300 and 4300 series of chips address the 25-watt and 35-watt power bands with the lowest-power offerings within each family. Both chip families support AMD’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, meaning that they can step in and provide a foundation for virtual machines (VMs) if necessary. As one might expect, they’re both socket- and thermally compatible with older chips in the 3300 and 4300 lines. While the clock speeds are somewhat competitive with Intel’s Xeon line—the 3300 is available at base speeds up to 2.8 GHz (3.8-GHz using AMD Turbo CORE), and the 4300 at base speeds up to 3.4 GHz (3.8-GHz with Turbo CORE)—what’s kept AMD afloat is keeping the price and power variables as low as possible, while pushing up performance as high as it can. That appeals to partners seeking relatively low-cost scale-out solutions, both for the data center as well as more traditional enterprises and small businesses. At the end of October, AMD announced a partnership with ARM, whose chips will be at the heart of a future ultra-low-power line within the Opteron family. However, AMD is still committed to its existing Opteron architecture. AMD will use the new chips within the SeaMicro SM15000 platform it launched earlier this year with support for its own chips, plus the Intel Xeon and Atom processors. The new lines also won support from SuperMicro, a smaller manufacturer of server boards and hardware, plus Dell. “AMD Opteron processor solutions have provided excellent investment return for our customers,” Brian Payne, executive director of Server Solutions at Dell, wrote in a statement. “The new 4300 and 3300 Series processors in the AMD-based Dell PowerEdge servers maintain this history and are ideal for web service providers who strive to maximize revenue from their server infrastructure and also for small- and medium-businesses who carefully invest to enable growth.” The AMD 4300 series uses eight cores per socket. Although a single low-power offering is available—the 4310 EE, running at 2.2-GHz base/3.0-GHz turbo, consuming 35W—the other five members of the family consume either 65 or 95 watts. All support AMD-P power management, however. The 4300 supports up to 6 DIMMs (192 GB per processor) and two channels of up to 1,866-MHz memory plus a pair of X16 HyperTransport 3.0 links. The 3300 series also uses eight cores per socket, and the three members of the 3300 family hit the 25W, 45W, and 65W power bands. Memory support is also up to 1866 MHz, although the 3300 supports just four DIMMs per CPU. AMD’s pricing for the 4300 family ranges from $191 to $501, with the most expensive chips clustered at the low-power end of the scale. The 3300 family provides a narrower price band, ranging from $174 to $229.   Image: senticus/