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AMD announces an Open Compute based Open 3.0 motherboard

Beats Intel to the first punch
Wed Jan 16 2013, 18:00

CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced its Open Compute motherboard previously known as Roadrunner.

AMD and Intel have been working on the Open Compute project that was kickstarted by Facebook in 2011. Now AMD has become the first major vendor to ship a motherboard developed out of the Open Compute project.

AMD's motherboard, dubbed Open 3.0, is a two socket motherboard that supports its latest Opteron 6300 series chips. As the firm is touting a wide range of configurations for its Open 3.0 motherboard, the two processor sockets are about the only common features among many SKUs that include support for up to 24 DIMM sockets, five PCI-Express slots, dual Gigabit Ethernet sockets and six SATA3 plugs.


The Open Compute project is about much more than just motherboards and AMD touted four chassis sizes including 1U, 1.5U, 2U and 3U options. The firm said the chassis make use of standard power supplies as defined by the Open Compute standard.

Suresh Gopalakrishnan, GM of AMD's server operations told The INQUIRER that the firm is already sampling pre-production boards to selected customers, including financial institutions, with production units expected to be available by the end of the quarter. Gopalakrishnan said the firm had been working with Quanta and Tyan on manufacturing the motherboards and had signed up Avnet and Penguin Computing as system integrators.

According to Gopalakrishnan the advantage of Open Compute is not necessarily access to new motherboard designs but the ability to buy kit from multiple vendors that can use the same maintenance software and procedures. Given that Open Compute servers are designed to be deployed in rack quantities, manageability of kit is very high on a server administrator's list of priorities.

AMD says servers based on the Open Compute specifications can be used for much more than powering the cloud, including high performance computing and high capacity storage servers. Gopalakrishnan said this wide range of use cases came from the ability to configure AMD's Open 3.0 motherboard in a number of different ways and could well be the firm's ticket into new markets.

AMD has stolen something of a march on Intel with its Open 3.0 motherboard, something it needs to do as Intel's Xeon chips hold close to 90 percent of the server chip market. Intel however will know it is in a strong position and can wait a bit longer before showing its Open Compute hand. µ


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