Introduction

In Q1 of 2006, AMD-based systems accounted for over $1 billion, or one sixth of the x86 server space. The Opteron grew from a 6% market share to 15% market share in the astonishingly short period of only one year. In four socket servers, the Opteron grabbed 48% of the US market, up from 23% last year. What's more, this is not a "US only" phenomenon: the Opteron has a firm grip on 36% of the worldwide four socket market. Bear in mind that less than 4 years ago, AMD was nothing more than a blip on the server CPU radar.

Sun, which was getting strangled by the high volume Intel Xeon and the mighty Itanium, has also made a big comeback. An attractive UltraSparc IV+ with a fast, integrated L2 cache and massive L3 cache keeps the traditional Sparc buyers loyal, while the well-designed Galaxy Opteron based servers are pretty popular and the UltraSparc T1 "throughput CPU" attacks the midrange x86 market.

It's high time for Intel to find a proper response, as the competition is taking the wind out of Intel's server CPU sails. What's the answer? A Xeon based on the Core architecture: Woodcrest. We compared the Core and K8 architectures just a month ago. Memory disambiguation, large OOO buffers and a large but low latency shared L2 cache should make the Core architecture more efficient in server related tasks than any other x86 CPU.

This article compares a Woodcrest based Intel server with its closest rivals: AMD Opteron based servers such as the HP DL385 and MSI K2-102A2M and the UltraSparc T1 based Sun T2000 server.

The New Intel Platform
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  • snorre - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Anandtech is going down the drain, there are no doubts left about it IMHO.

    "Woodcrest" may be a nice improvement for Intel, but comparing it to clearly crippled (both software and hardware wise) Opteron systems is pretty lame by any standard.

    Remember: Fool us once shame on us, fool us twice shame on YOU!

    This is your third strike in my book, so now your officially out in THG hell.

    I hope you wake up and smell the coffee soon...
    Reply
  • Slappi - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Exactly.

    I just can't believe what I am seeing here.

    This site was once THE HARDWARE SITE for me and I always recommended it to others.

    If Intel has a better chip hey that's great! But.... what is with the OBVIOUS underhanded reporting against AMD and for INTEL that has been going on here for the past few months?


    It is so blatant here that I am starting to wonder of Intel's new chips are a lot of smoke and mirrors. If it is such a great chip it should speak for itself, not with all this closed testing and crippled AMD machines. Makes me wonder.


    You would think after reading all the Anand Intel press that the new CPUs could cure cancer and cook dinner.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    i can give 2 pages full of rather strange figures and compares about this review. but i hope you'll bring the readers the windows benches fast and compare with other published benches so everybody can see that the linux optimization can shift wherever you want.

    you use workstaion/budget motherboard against the intel server board. use a sun galaxy or hp proliant.

    the specint and specfp are not correct, even intel gives way other numbers

    some benches are done with one socket others with 2 socket. why?

    mysql benches are optimized for two cores thats very clear.. the perfromance drop on opteron is much more the the one on woodcrest. knowing the architecture of the opteron this should be the other way round. the opteron is lacking here due to the motherboard

    you can extrapolate it in a different way showing different results, again you use 2 different opterons and use thsi difference to calculate 3.0, both setups are workstation and therefore performance is wrong. some benches you even talk and calculate 2 systems but not showing on the graphs.

    your conclusion: is rather funny. you state that the wooodcrest is the best performing server on a platform that has maybe 2% worlwide support with benches that can not be compared to other publication. no linnear powerconsuption with other servers because no exual hardware setup and most systems use 2gb/cpu thats a +28w consumption for the woodcrest.

    as stated from line 1 give some real world benches where people can compare with other posted results.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    you use workstaion/budget motherboard against the intel server board. use a sun galaxy or hp proliant.


    The MSI K8N Master2-FAR board is a server motherboard. So are the boards in the other two Opteron servers.
    Reply
  • MrKaz - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    I don’t know if you all already have realized but that is what it will look like the 4x4 boards.

    And that’s NOT a server board, ONLY ONE of the processors is accessing directly to the memory and that must IMPACT the performance.

    http://www.msi.com.tw/images/product_img/mbd_img/9...">http://www.msi.com.tw/images/product_img/mbd_img/9...
    Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Anyone that calls that MSI mobo a "server board" is a freakin retard.

    As for this "review" it has to be the worst on Anandtech in at least 6 months.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Anyone that calls that MSI mobo a "server board" is a freakin retard.


    I guess MSI themselves must be retards then. Look where it's listed: http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/server/svr/...">http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/server/svr/...
    Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    for those who think MSI board must be good because they list it on their server pages,

    Just look at the memeory banks

    MSI has a single bank, forcing the 2nd CPU to share the memory channel, reducing memory bandwidth to both CPUs, and increasing memory latencies. They are discarding NUMA capabailities to keep the price at around 250$

    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/server/svr/...">http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/server/svr/...

    Now check Tyan k8we and Supermicro h8dci boards linked below. Notice that they all carry two seperate memory banks, giving each processor its own dedicated bank. This doubles the available memory bandwidth and keeps lantencies low.

    http://www.tyan.com/products/html/thunderk8we.html">http://www.tyan.com/products/html/thunderk8we.html

    http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/motherboard/Optero...">http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/motherboard/Optero...

    Iwill D8kn is another similar board that I can recall. They all recommend that you put atleast on card in each bank in a two processor setup to utilize the extra bandwidth.

    But adding this extra bank comes at a cost, all the above boards are priced around $500 mark. Its common knowledge in the AMD community that one needs get the boards with seperate memory banks if on is looking for a high performance machine.

    If you still have doubt, check the review on GamePC, linked below. Notice that the Tyan TIGER k8we, (with single memory channel to both CPUs like the MSI board) is beaten in every benchmark by Tyan THUNDER k8we (which has dedicated memory channels for both CPUs)
    Reply
  • BasMSI - Friday, June 09, 2006 - link

    MSI lists them as Workstation boards, not server boards.

    http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/server/svr/...">>>See link<<

    They should have used the K8D-Master series, those are server boards and do have NUMA.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Friday, June 09, 2006 - link

    It's under the "Server and Rackmount" section of their website. Reply

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