A Closer Look at AMD's Newest Offering

AMD thus brings four new CPUs into the server space:
  • A 3.2GHz Opteron which consumes at most 120W, in dual and quad/octal socket versions
  • A 3GHz Opteron 8222 and 2222 which used to consume up to 120W, but which are - thanks to process improvements - now limited to 95W
Both CPUs are still made on the "old" 90 nm SOI process. It seems that AMD's 65 nm investments are all focused on the desktop offerings as well as the newest K10 parts.


The Opteron 2224 package

To position AMD's new Opteron 2224 offering we take a look at the most interesting Intel and AMD CPUs at the current date.

Intel Processor Overview
Intel CPU Clock Codename L2 L3 FSB Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Dual NetBurst CPUs
Xeon MP 7140M 3.4GHz Tulsa 2x1MB 16MB 200MHz Quad 6.4 GB/s 150W $1,980
Xeon MP 7130M 3.2GHz Tulsa 2x1MB 8MB 200MHz Quad 6.4 GB/s 150W $1,391
Xeon MP 7120M 3GHz Tulsa 2x1MB 4MB 200MHz Quad 6.4 GB/s 95W $1,117
Quad Core CPUs
Xeon E5355 2.66GHz Clovertown 2x4MB - 333MHz Quad 21 GB/s 120W $1,172
Xeon E5345 2.33GHz Clovertown 2x4MB - 333MHz Quad 21 GB/s 80W $851
Xeon E5320 1.86GHz Clovertown 2x4MB - 266MHz Quad 17 GB/s 80W $690
Dual Core CPUs
Xeon DP 5160 3GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333MHz Quad 21 GB/s 80W $851
Xeon DP 5150 2.66GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333MHz Quad 21 GB/s 65W $690
Xeon DP 5148 2.33GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333MHz Quad 21 GB/s 40W $519
AMD Processor Overview
AMD CPU Clock Codename L2 L3 HT Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Eight-Way CPUs
Opteron 8224 SE 3.2GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 119W $2,149
Opteron 8222 3GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $1,514
Opteron 8220 2.8GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $1,165
Opteron 8218 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $873
Opteron 8218 HE 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 68W $1,019
Two-Way CPUs
Opteron 2224 SE 3.2GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 119W $873
Opteron 2222 3GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $698
Opteron 2220 2.8GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $523
Opteron 2218 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 95W $377
Opteron 2218 HE 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x1MB - 1000MHz DDR 10.6 GB/s 68W $450

So basically, AMD's 120W Dual core 3.2GHz Opteron has to prove that it is a worthy competitor to two Intel offerings:
  • The dual core Xeon 5160 3GHz with a TDP of 80W
  • The quad core Xeon 5345 2.33 with a TDP of 80W
As Intel is offering twice as many cores at lower power consumption, it seems that it is already game over for AMD at first sight. However, this is not necessarily the case. First of all, not all workloads scale well from four to eight cores. Prime examples are the well known MySQL scaling problems, quite a few HPC applications, and even some Java applications. This might seem like a weird statement to the casual benchmark observer, but if you delve a bit deeper you'll find that some benchmarks use several (mostly four) instances running together to make scaling easier. Examples of such an approach are Sysbench, MySQL, and Specjbb2005.

This means that the software only has to make use of two CPU cores (eight cores needs four instances), which is a lot easier than making use of all eight cores in a single instance. This kind of "multi instance" benchmarking may reflect the way quite a few people and businesses use their servers, but at the same time such benchmarks can paint a picture that is far too optimistic for those people who are only running one application on their server.

Secondly, it might seem like a dual Opteron 2224 needs 80W more, but the reality is different. Intel's Northbridge consumes up to 20W more, and each FB-DIMM needs about 5W more than the DDR modules the AMD platform uses. So the difference is not as big as it might seem at first, something we have shown in a previous article. The AMD CPUs also scale back to 1GHz when running at idle, while the Intel CPUs run at 1.6 or 2GHz when idle. As a result the AMD platforms can consume less power when idle or at lower loads.


The Opteron runs now at 3.2GHz

As you can see in the animated gif above, the CPU is capable of scaling back to 1GHz and 1.1V. It can also run at 2.8GHz at 1.275V, and it needs 1.375V to run at 3.2GHz. PowerNow! enables it to run at any frequency between 1.6GHz to 2.8GHz in steps of 200MHz. Keep this in mind when we look at some power figures later on.

Index Thanks and Testing Setup
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  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, August 07, 2007 - link

    it is a car analogy Reply
  • Gul Westfale - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    good analogy there, except that mustangs (and various other cars) use pickup truck engines for cost reasons. large trucks use larger engines (often diesels) because they offer considerably more torque at much lower RPM than a smaller gasoline engine; and thus provide more pulling power. Reply
  • Gul Westfale - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    these are not regular consumer cpus, but intended for use in commercial servers and workstations. they and their motherboards cost more because they support features such as multiple sockets (so in addition to having multiple cores on one chip you can also have multiple chips on one motherboard).

    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Intel has a clear lead in the rendering market. If you are rendering complex high resolutions images, the quad core Xeon is clearly the best choice.


    they win 1 of 2 tests, and it is clear they are the winner ? Why ? Because they won the software rendering also ? Anyone interrested enough in rendering, and HAVING to have this sort of hardware for it is NOT going to bother with software . . .

    This means your conclusion on this point is incorrect, and in which case, it boils down to which application the rendering machine is going to do.

    Man you guys come to the wierdest conclusions based on your own data, and I am not even the first to notice/mention this sort of thing . . .
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    The Quadcore wins all high resolution rendering tests. Where do you see the DC opterons win against the Quadcore Intel in high resolution rendering? Show me a rendering engine where a 3 GHz K8 DC core is faster in high resolution renderering than a 2.33 GHz Quadcore. All decent and used in the realworld rendering engines will more or less show the same picture.

    In fact, the "rendering performance" situation will get worse for the K8 as SSE-2 tuning will get more common. All Intel CPUs since core and all AMD CPUs since Barcelona will show (or are already showing) high performance boost from using better SSE-2 code.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    Ok, I see now with the graphs 'lower is better' on 3ds max, I missed that with the tables, which is actually what I meant this morning 'table obfustication'. I personally do not mind tables, but when the data is not in a uniform spot, it confuses/makes it harder to read at a glance.

    Anyhow, I was tired when I posted this morning, cranky, and was overly harsh I think. However it *is* much easier for me personaly to read the graphs at a glance (I cannot speak for everyone though).
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    Oh, and while on the subject, you guys here at anandtech have lately mastered the art of graph obfustication. Is it really THAT hard leaving items in the same rows / columns for different tests ? Are we trying to confuse the results, or is there some other reason this happens, and has gone completely over my head ? Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    The only reason is that until very recently I didn't master the graphing engine. I got some weird error messages and gave up. But I have found the error, and you should see some nice graphs which don't obfusticate... Reply
  • Spoelie - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    the gif on page 2 is non-looping, so after a very quick jump from 1ghz -> 2.8ghz (why??) -> 3.2ghz , it stays put on the 3.2ghz image. If reading the article, by the time the reader sees the image, it's already 5 minutes on the last image and staying there, making it for all intents and purposes a static image instead of an animated one

    :)
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, August 06, 2007 - link

    Thanks, fixed that. The reason to show 2.8 GHz is that for example Specjbb and other applications sometimes don't completely stress the CPU and then the cpu dynamically goes back to 2.8 GHz. It are simply the 3 stages I saw the most, and found the most interesting to show. Reply

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