AMD Shanghai Opteron 45nm quad-cores announced; desktop in Q1 2009

AMD have announced their latest server chips, the 45nm quad-core Opterons.  The chips – known as "Shanghai" – have triple the L3 cache from the previous generation, at 6MB, which AMD are claiming will increase performance by 35-percent.  That seems to be a popular number, too, as the Shanghai processors also consume 35-percent less power when idle.  Best of all, though, they're backward-compatible with the Socket-1207 motherboards used in Barcelona-based servers, making for straightforward upgrades.

Shanghai chips are also compatible with DDR2-800 RAM, meaning increased bandwidth.  AMD's Smart Fetch technology, which allows cores to suspend during periods of low use, and CoolCore, which manages power distribution throughout the chip to reduce unnecessary heat, are also supported.

The first Shanghai processors are available now, running from 2.3GHz to 2.7GHz with 75W ACP.  AMD promise desktop versions – codenamed "Dragon" - in Q1 2009.