On the heels of its SeaMicro acquisition, AMD has announced a new platform of cloud-centric CPUs, the AMD Opteron 3200 series. They're designed to be powerful, power-efficient and easy on your wallet. But just what exactly can they bring to the server world? Here's what VARs need to know, without all the technical fluff ...

Along with its cloud focus thanks to its SeaMicro buy, AMD is focusing in on the ever-growing world of hosting and managed service providers. It's a smart move: Just take a look the hosting scene at Parallels Summit 2012 and you'll see a small slice of the big picture. And in the server world where Intel (mainly) reigns supreme, AMD is coming up with some creative ways to innovate and add value, making the AMD platform a very viable and powerful alternative. The Opteron 3200 series has been designed from the ground up to be "green" even when running all day -- these CPUs are dynamically throttled between the 2.7GHz to 3.7GHz range, thanks to AMD Turbo CORE. What's more, they're 45-wattt to 65-watt chips, meaning they hardly tax the PSU when under a full load. Each chip also comes equipped with four to eight cores and can support 32GB of RAM.

So what's the price tag? AMD hasn't exactly discussed that, but AMD has an extensive benchmark footnote explaining how the Opteron 3200 series can provide "38 (percent) better price performance and up to 19 (percent) less power per core than the competition." AMD's overall goal with these chips is to make them as inexpensive as traditional desktop CPUs, thus lowering the barrier to entry for companies to adopt large swaths of servers.

Like its SeaMicro acquisition, the new Opteron line is part of a series of bold moves AMD hopes will re-establish itself as a serious player in the server CPU world. AMD hasn't enjoyed the same brand recognition that Intel has in the server space. For the channel, and obviously for AMD-based system builders, it's a reinvigorating boost in confidence that AMD is not backing down.