AMD Opteron 3200 Series – Where did they go?

5
Posted August 27, 2012 by Patrick Kennedy in Servers

Where in the world is the AMD Operon 3200 series? Back on 20 May 2012 I did a quick news piece about the AMD Opteorn 3200 series launch, something I was super excited about at the time. Here’s the thing, Intel is completely dominant in the single CPU server space and the market needs competition. Sure, the ARM based server architecture is making some positive buzz in the industry, but until those become widely used and supported Intel needs some competition. I have little doubt that the Xeon E3-1200 series and Xeon E5-1600 series lines (and their successors) will be positioned differently than ARM server CPUs.

Let’s take a quick status update of where the AMD Opteron 3200 series has had market impact over the past few months:

AMD Opteron 3200 Series Product Lineup

I decided to take a quick look at the AMD Opteron 3200 product page and I still see the Opteron 3280, 3260 HE and 3250 HE CPUs listed. For those wondering, that list is the same as we had five months ago. I was really hoping AMD would fill out its Opteron 3200 range in the meantime. Also while there I saw the following:

AMD Opteron™ 3250 based server costs $573 (est.) and an Intel Xeon E3-1220L based server costs $643 (est.). The processor and motherboard make up the cost differences between an AMD Opteron 3200 Series based server and an Intel Xeon E3-12xxL Series based server. The costs for chassis, drive, and memory will be the same in a like-for-like configuration. Low-end processor costs: AMD Opteron™ 3250 1kU preliminary price is $99 and Intel Xeon E3-1220L is $189 as of 1/9/12 at www.intc.com/pricelist.cfm. MSI motherboard for Intel (MS-S012): approximately $170 as of 12/20/11. MSI motherboard for AMD (MS-S023): approximately $190 as of 12/20/11. Chassis: Antec Sonata Proto No Power Supply ATX Mid Tower Case (Black) – SONATA PROTO BLACK $63.99 as of 12/22/11

Here is the strange thing the Opteron 3200 announcement was in March. In the meantime, AMD’s marketing is showing a cost comparison based on 2011 pricing and Intel’s last-generation product. Since then Intel released Ivy Bridge which is basically a faster, cheaper and lower power upgrade over the previous generation part. To me, it looks like the AMD Opteron 3200 series either needed a significant update or AMD was ceding this round. I think AMD may have given up. I did a quick search online and could only find a few stores with the Opteron 3250 HE but my normal outlets like NewEgg and Amazon did not have stock.

AMD Opteron 3200 Series Motherboard and Platform Support

My next thought was to look at motherboards and typical vendors we would see on a well received platform:

  • Supermicro’s A+ motherboard page does not have Opteron 3200 platform listed for any motherboards.
  • Tyan has their microcloud platform with Opteron 3200 support and is still advertising it on their home page. Tyan also has a short depth 1U Opteron 3200 platform. I quickly looked at the motherboard page and saw three offerings. That is not a bad showing actually. Tyan is a smaller player so two platforms and three boards being marketed is not bad.
  • Dell was announced as a launch partner, but when I search for “AMD Opteron 3200 Dell” on Google, I get nothing.
  • I also looked at HP but again, searching for “AMD Opteron 3200 HP” on Google returned nothing.

Tyan Micro Cloud

OK so that is a bad sign. If Dell, HP and Supermicro do not support your server platform. Having Tyan as a partner helps, but again they are not the biggest player on the list by far.

So AMD made some waves acquiring SeaMicro, a maker of cloud server solutions. Of course, shortly after that announcement, SeaMicro stated they had an Opteron 3200 platform. I am not sure of SeaMicro’s exact market share, although I would suggest it is much lower than HP, Dell, IBM and Oracle. Here is my question, as of late-August 2012, why does SeaMicro’s product page still highlight two Intel Atom product lines and one Intel Xeon product line with full product pages and pictures? AMD platforms are a footnote at the bottom of the page.

SeaMicro Product Page August 2012

SeaMicro Product Page August 2012

Conclusion

Here is my heartburn on the subject, there is no real reason for a product launch like this to take 5+ months. Socket AM3+ is a well understood platform, so it is not like releasing some radical architecture. It is one of AMD’s mainstream (volume) desktop sockets. Furthermore, the AM3+ AMD Opteron 3200 platform is not really something that complex. Compared to an AMD Opteron 6200 platform or Intel Xeon E5 series platform, we are not looking at massive numbers of PCB traces. Of course, that is, or at least was the point. A simple, well-known, platform to keep costs low. AMD seems to not have countered Intel’s Ivy Bridge Xeon E3-1200 V2 series with the Opteron 3200 line. I would love for AMD to be competitive and to do tons of coverage, but it seems like the Opteron 3200 does not have anywhere near the platform support of the Intel Xeon E3 series.

Bottom line, and my plea to AMD: let’s get a competitive platform out there because the industry is so much more interesting with you being competitive. Plus, you don’t want to let these ARM guys become the strong #2 that you previously were. Oh, and by the way, the Opteron 6000 lineup could use a major refresh also.

Of course, if you have spotted any AMD Opteron 3200 series products in the wild, please let us know either here or in the forums.


About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

5 Comments


  1.  
    Brian

    Spot on. AMD please bring something competitive to the Xeon line. I heard myself say Piledriver would be better but AMD’s next generation is almost always almost competitive with Intel’s last generation.




  2.  
    ToggleMANd

    Go SeaMicro integration. Oh wait… they still use Intel. gg.




  3.  
    Chris

    It’s now December and I still can’t find any 3200 series procs anywhere. What the hell’s going on here? We need some low power server CPU’s and I’d rather not give Intel more market share.




  4.  
    Dan

    I think the manufacturers are in a collective cognitive dissonance, shell-shocked by a global recession; some invest everything they’ve got at the low end and fight for every dollar they can, others continue to build for the Fortune 1000, where they find scared managers and empty budgets. A few years ago, the new new thing was to invest in SMB market, now saturated. They need step back a bit and think about the people in the trenches — techies night and day, who by day specify, recommend, and help refine their offerings — that would be you and me.

    I was counting on AMD’s 3200 release for some badly needed very light servers pointed at my cloud vendor. Ended up building two boxes using the AMD “Vishera” FX-8350 part and the only decent AM3+ by Supermicro (which I think were sales samples). I tried to keep “server” in mind when building, and ended up with two fairly decent boxes for the job. But I can’t forgive AMD for announcing a part that they never distributed.





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