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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  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    I'm not saying the board is particularly stellar.. I'm saying that it's referred to by MSI as a "server" product. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Irespective of what MSI says,

    fact is there were better mainstream boards for Anandtech to choose from if a honest, independent review was their intention

    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    I.E., your comment belongs under someone else's.. not mine. Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    And that's completely irrelevant to what I was saying. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    all I was saying is, its nice to see Intel finally making a comeback

    but Anandtech seems have conducted a skewed benchmark that favours Intel, that unfairly increases the performance gap between Opteron and Woodcrest

    In the final summary of the review he says

    "In one word: Woodcrest rocks!"

    There are quite a few holes in the review, the motherboard is just on of them,

    I quoted MySQL number errors in my posts above,

    just search for "ashyanbhog" in the page and read my earlier comments if you are interested.

    Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    And that's completely irrelevant to what I was saying.


    What you're saying in general is irrelevant. Intel calls their integrated graphics "high performance" but that doesn't make it so.

    MSI calling that a server board is just marketing, it does not represent what a true, high performance server class mobo is all about. Not that it's a bad piece of hardware, it is good for the price to be sure. But it is NOT a server class product.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    At a certain price point, it could certainly be a nice entry-level server board.

    Performance alone isn't what makes a server-class motherboard a server-class motherboard.
    Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Performance alone isn't what makes a server-class motherboard a server-class motherboard.


    One of the motherboards used in this review is a cheap piece that trades performance to keep price low.

    Why was that motherboard selected over mainstream server/workstation boards that are proven to offer slightly better performance? Why pick a 250$ MSI board for opteron over $500 boards from Tyan, Iwill, Supermicro or others. The Intel Xeon "Inderwale" gets a $500 board, so price could not have been the issue.

    So what's the point in using a Single Channel board for this benchmark, when price was not a limitation?

    Single memory channel boards like the one from MSI, are known to offer lower performance than dual / dedicated memory channel boards when used in 2P Opteron configurations. Dual Channel boards are the mainstream boards for 2P Opteron systems. There are plently Server boards available in Dual / dedicated memory lane configuration. There are enough reviews on the net to show the performance diff b/w single memory channel boards and dual memory channel boards

    The issue is not about the MSI or its class, the issue is why did Anandtech pick a Single memeory channel board instead of a more mainstream dual memory channel board.

    Hope that clears up "zsdersw"'s query
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    I'm not making excuses for the choices that were made regarding this comparison test. I'm talking about what constitutes a "server-class" motherboard. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Game PC review link for the above comment

    http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=tig...">http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=tig...
    Reply

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