The processors

We have finally got hold of an initial batch of 4 Opteron 852 processors.

The first thing you will notice is that the 852's do not come with an AMD heatsink. The packaging is about half the size of the regular 1xx/2xx series boxes that come with AMD heatsinks. I suppose AMD's thinking here is that because of the special enclosure / motherboard requirements of 4 and 8 way servers, you will probably already have heatsinks.

Opto packaging

Tyan Thunder K8QS Pro (S4882)

There are no two ways about it, this is a huge motherboard. It is the full width of a normal 19" rackmount case which means you need a case that either has power supplies in the front or power supplies that fit below. Our motherboard is revision 04OOY.

For our purposes, we chose a Genesys 3U case which features:

  • 1100W of N+1 power goodness (basically three redundant 550W modules);
  • 12 SATA hot swap drive bays
  • dual temperature monitoring and display and quad fan smart monitoring with fan failure/speed alarm

The disappointment

Well, here's the bad news. At present, it looks as if until Tyan releases an updated BIOS for the K8QS Pro it will not work properly with 852 processors.

Interestingly, the AMD website at,,30_182_869_8819%5E8821,00.html?queryID=90173 states that the s4882 revision 04OOY supports 852 processors up to stepping E4 provided a 22/2/05 or later BIOS is used.

So far we have tried the latest non beta BIOS (v1.04b) and also the latest beta BIOS (v1.04d). Disturbingly, both BIOSes do not recognise the 852's. When the motherboard boots it detects 4 processors as present but thinks they are an "AMD Engineering Sample 00".

The board will only boot as far as the memory test and then it will hang when it gets to about half of the memory that you have installed. We have tried every combination of SIMMS including one SIMM for the entire system right up to two SIMMS per CPU and the board still fails at the memory test.

By disabling the extended memory test in the BIOS, it is possible to boot the board into DOS or for example to boot Memtest+ off CD but Memtest+ refuses to run beyond intially starting the first memory test.

These symptons are very similar to what we experienced when we first plugged our Opteron 252's into our Tyan Thunder K8S Pro (S2882) dual opto rig. Thankfully, a BIOS flash to the then latest revision BIOS for that board fixed the problem.

As of 1 April 2005, Tyan have not released an updated BIOS for the Thunder K8QS Pro (S4882). Without a new BIOS it is unlikely that this board will properly run with 852's.


Tyan have now released a bios that supports the Opteron 852. With the bios upgrade our K8QS Pro worked flawlessly (and speedily).

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