With the upcoming release of the new Phenom II X4 in early 2009 AMD wants to catch up with competitor Intel. There are no Phenom II test samples available yet, but we managed to get hold of one of its »Opteron 2384« cousins, meant to be used in servers. The brand-new quad-core Opteron with »Shanghai« core offers the same technical improvements as the soon to be released Phenom II X4 with »Deneb« core. Both are made using the new 45nm process, replacing the older 65nm structures, and both had the L3 cache increased from 2 MB to 6 MB, hence the gaming performance of the Opteron 2384 should be almost identical to the Phenom II X4.
But there was one problem: most new graphics cards are too large to fit into server cases which are made to save as much space as possible. After some modifications (see gallery) we managed to squeeze a GeForce GTX 280 into Supermicro's Opteron server 2021M-UR+B. (see the extensive review of the Opteron 2384 done by our colleagues at Tecchannel.de (in German))
The server uses 4 GB DDR2-800-ECC-RAM, which is comparable to memory used in desktop systems. With no more obstacles in our way we were clear to run the first game benchmarks on our simulated Phenom II X4. Because of the noise generated by the server, a lot of doors in our office were shut, though