AMD's Newest Quad-Core

Before we start talking about benchmarks, here's a short overview of the new models and their pricing in the competitive landscape. AMD is launching both 4/8-way (4S) and 2-way (2S) models of the new quad-core Opterons at speeds ranging from 1.7GHz to 2GHz. To keep things simple, we'll first take a look at the 4S (four socket) market.


AMD uses a different power rating than TDP: "Average CPU Power" or ACP. AMD claims that this power rating is very similar to Intel's TDP: it is the average power draw when the processor runs high utilization workloads. A CPU with a TDP of 95W has an ACP of 75W; one with a TDP of 68W has an ACP of 55W. According to AMD, ACP should be the number we use to compare to Intel's TDP. We'll verify this claim in a later article.

Let's see how the new Opterons compare to Intel's CPUs when it comes to pricing and power:

Intel 4S Processors
Core Architecture CPUs
Quad/ Dualcore Clock Codename L2 L3 FSB Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Xeon MP X7350 Quad 2.93GHz Tigerton 2 x 4MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 130W $2301
Xeon MP E7340 Quad 2.4GHz Tigerton 2 x 4MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 80W $1980
Xeon MP E7330 Quad 2.4GHz Tigerton 2 x 3MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 80W $1391
Xeon MP E7320 Quad 2.13GHz Tigerton 2 x 2MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 80W $1,177
Xeon MP E7310 Quad 1.6GHz Tigerton 2 x 2MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 80W $856
Xeon MP L7345 Quad 1.86GHz Tigerton 2 x 4MB - 266 MHz Quad 8.5GB/s 50W $2301
NetBurst Architecture CPUs
Xeon MP 7140M Dual 3.4GHz Tulsa 2x 1MB 16MB 200 MHz Quad 6.4GB/s 150W $1980
Xeon MP 7130M Dual 3.2GHz Tulsa 2x 1MB 8MB 200 MHz Quad 6.4GB/s 150W $1391
Xeon MP 7120M Dual 3GHz Tulsa 2x 1MB 4MB 200 MHz Quad 6.4GB/s 95W $1117
AMD 4S Processors
Barcelona Architecture CPUs
  Quad/ Dualcore Clock Codename L2 L3 HT Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Opteron 8350 Quad 2GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $1019
Opteron 8347 Quad 1.9GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $768
Opteron 8347 HE Quad 1.9GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $873
Opteron 8346 HE Quad 1.8GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $698
K8 Architecture CPUs
Opteron 8224 SE Dual 3.2GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 119W $2149
Opteron 8222 Dual 3GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $1514
Opteron 8220 Dual 2.8GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $1165
Opteron 8218 Dual 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $873
Opteron 8218 HE Dual 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $1019

First of all, it is worth noting that the old Tulsa Xeons remain very expensive and are not even worth considering as they only offer half the performance of Tigerton. The same can be said about the Opteron 82xx series. These CPUs are clocked a lot higher which is interesting for applications that scale badly and need excellent single threaded performance, but nobody is going to buy a 4S machine for such an application. It will be interesting to see if AMD lowers the prices of these CPUs or not.

Back to Barcelona, it also has to face the newly launched Tigerton (of which we are preparing a review). It seems that AMD's CPUs might conquer the high performance blade market easy: AMD offers 55W (68W TDP) quad-cores for about $700-$900, while Intel wants no less than $2300 for their lower power 4S quad-core. Our first tests indicate that a 1.9GHz Barcelona should outperform a 1.86GHz Tigerton, but more testing is needed. For now, we can only conclude that Intel has priced itself out of the 4S blade market. Then again, pricing doesn't always seem to be the primary concern with blades.

AMD also positions the 2GHz 8350 against the Tigerton 2.13GHz, which should allow them to defend the new found territory: AMD has no less than 56% of the 4S market in the US. Basically, we can conclude that AMD's pricing in the 4S market should be quite competitive.

2-Way Market

The 4S market has some great profit margins, but 75%-80% of the server market is 2S. Below is AMD's pricing for this very popular market.


So how does AMD's pricing compare to Intel's?

Intel 2S Processors
Quad Core CPUs
  Quad/ Dualcore Clock Codename L2 L3 FSB Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Xeon X5365 Quad 3GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 120W $1172
Xeon E5355 Quad 2.66GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 120W $744
Xeon E5345 Quad 2.33GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 80W $455
Xeon E5335 Quad 2GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 80W $316
Xeon E5320 Quad 1.86GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 266 MHz Quad 17GB/s 80W $256
Xeon L5335 Quad 2GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 50W $380
Xeon L5320 Quad 1.86GHz Clovertown 2x 4MB - 266 MHz Quad 17GB/s 50W $320
Dual Core CPUs
Xeon DP 5160 Dual 3GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 80W $851
Xeon DP 5150 Dual 2.66GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 65W $690
Xeon DP 5148 Dual 2.33GHz Woodcrest 4MB - 333 MHz Quad 21GB/s 40W $519
AMD 2S Processors
Quad Core CPUs
  Quad/ Dualcore Clock Codename L2 L3 HT Mem bandwidth TDP Price
Opteron 2350 Quad 2GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $389
Opteron 2347 Quad 1.9GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $316
Opteron 2347 HE Quad 1.9GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $377
Opteron 2346 HE Quad 1.8GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $255
Opteron 2344 HE Quad 1.7GHz Barcelona 4x 0.5MB 2MB 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $209
Dual Core CPUs
Opteron 2224 SE Dual 3.2GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 119W $873
Opteron 2222 Dual 3GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $698
Opteron 2220 Dual 2.8GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $523
Opteron 2218 Dual 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 95W $377
Opteron 2218 HE Dual 2.6GHz Santa Rosa 2x 1MB - 1000 MHz DDR 10.6GB/s 68W $450

AMD positions the 2350 2GHz between the 2.13 and 2.33GHz quad-core Xeon. The 1.9GHz version squarely targets the 2GHz E5335. AMD has no answer to the X5365 and E5355, but currently those CPUs are offered in a higher power consumption band, so this is not the really the end of the world. The 3.2GHz and 3GHz Opterons might still make sense for some hard to scale applications if AMD lowers the prices significantly.

Index Thanks and Testing Setup
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  • erikejw - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    I take back what I said.
    I mixed up 3 different reviews that does not correlate and is not comparable.
    I did not realize that until now even though I looked at them again.
    Optimizations put off on AMD processors was just hearsay and likely with the results presented but since I was wrong about the results that part is probably wrong too.
    So now everything I have to say is, great article :)

    Now I look forward to the tests with the 2.5GHz part and some overclock on it to see what a 2.8 or even a 3GHz part would do.
    Reply
  • kalyanakrishna - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    Sorry ... with all the discussion, your methodology is incomplete and leading to a biased result. Maybe there is code that is optimized for Intel processor - but the focus of the article is performance - thats what you intended it to be ... if not, please redo the article, change your deductions and focus it on code compatibility. No one measuring performance on their systems will use Intel Xeon optimized code on AMD processors. There are bunch of other compilers and performance libraries available. If not, please use a compiler that WILL optimize for both - pathscale, gcc and more ...

    I agree with your processor frequency aspect ... however, neither did Intel have a high speed freq on the launch date. The way it should have been presented is "at same frequency ... there is not much difference in performance" "at higher clocks, Intel does have advantage that comes at a price" Is this the same deduction you brought out in your article? Far from it ... do you concur?

    And your reasoning that you didnt have time to optimize the code is not acceptable. What was the point of this article - throw out some incomplete article on the day of the launch so everyone doesnt think AnandTech doesnt have a comment on Barcelona or maintain your high standards and put out a well written, mature and complete article based on results based from a rock solid testing methodology with critical analysis?

    The article was leaning towards a dramatic touch than presenting a neutral analysis. And, please stop saying Linpack is Intel friendly. The code is NOT, the way you compiled it is optimized for LinPack!! There is a HUGE difference. A code can only be Intel "friendly" when it is written with special attention to make sure it fully exploits all the features that Xeon has to offer and not necessarily by any other processors. And, if you do read my email to you - you will notice my stand on that point and lot more.


    So, I kindly request you to immediately take down this article with a correction or redo your article and change the focus. Maybe you had a different idea in your mind when writing it ... but the way it was written is not what you said you wanted it to be. All the comments you made now are not brought out in the article.

    Thank you for your time.
    Reply
  • kalyanakrishna - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    And of course, we didnt even get to the point where the test setup says "BIOS Note: Hardware prefetcing turned off" but in your analysis section it says
    "but masterly optimization together with hardware prefetching ensures most of the data is already in the cache. The quad-core Xeon wins again, but the victory is a bit smaller: the advantage is 20%-23%."

    That says enough about the completeness and accuracy of your article. The article is full of superlatives like masterly, meticulous to describe Intel processors. The bias cant be any more blatant.

    Now, will you please take it down and stop spreading the wrong message!!! There is nothing wrong in saying it was an incomplete article and in the interests of accuracy we would like to retract our claims!! Stop sending the wrong message to your huge reader base and influence their opinion of a potentially good product!
    Reply
  • fitten - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    Potentially... but not yet a good product, IMO. Hopefully AMD will have another stepping out sometime by the end of the year that may actually be competitive. As of right now, Barcelona isn't competitive with Intel offerings. The problem is that the target is moving as Intel will be releasing new chips by the end of the year.

    As far as Intel compilers are concerned, you do realize that Intel's compilers are better than GCC (which is NOT known for agressive optimizations and stellar performance) and are downloadable from their site. Code compiled with Intel compilers tends to execute faster on both Intel and AMD processors than code compiled with GCC in many cases.

    As far as accuracy of the various reviews... it's AMD's fault for getting only a few systems to a few reviewers only 48 hours before the launch date. I believe this was intentional in order to delay any thorough testing of Barcelona in the short term. Plus, there's the whole bit about AMD requiring that reviewers submit reviews to AMD for sanitizing before publishing them, as well. I'm quite convinced that AMD knew (and knows) that Barcelona is a turd and are just trying to buy time by various nefarious methods so that they can have a little more time to get their act together. If it weren't for investors and the world pushing AMD to actually release on their (much delayed) launch date, I'm quite sure AMD would have rather waited a few months so they'd have a better stepping to debut.
    Reply
  • kalyanakrishna - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    This is exactly what I am talking about ... see the comments on Digg:

    quote:

    And it's not looking pretty. Roughly same performance as the 2.33GHz Xeon in single and dual socket configurations; faster in some, slower in most, slightly less power consumption. We waited 18 months for this?!?


    http://www.digg.com/hardware/Finally_AMD_s_Barcelo...">http://www.digg.com/hardware/Finally_AMD_s_Barcelo...

    Now, please retract your observations.
    Reply
  • kalyanakrishna - Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - link

    Johan,

    Comment by swindelljd below ...
    quote:

    I'm trying to use the Anandtech benchmarks to help project how much performance gain we'll see in a new machine.


    I believe you underestimated the impact your article has on purchasing decisions of the customers. :)

    I hope customers do continue to look at AnandTech as a source of impartial, genuine and correct data on performance of new technologies.

    As Spiderman's uncle would say "With great power, comes great responsibility". :) :)
    Reply
  • swindelljd - Thursday, September 13, 2007 - link

    Yes, I would say anandtech.com has the most comprehensive, thoughtful, well organized, un-biased and current analysis of any site/content that currently exists. Many other sites even reference or simply use anandtech.com's analysis barely augmenting with their own.

    I have definitely used them in the past for both personal purchases (enthusiast OC'ing) and business purchases of my production hardware environment. In each case I've used multiple sources but always find myself returning to anandtech.com.

    I'd hate to see them delay the release of an article just because there was "just one more test to run". Like many things in life, sometimes it's more important to simply work with the information at hand (even if not quite complete) than to wait to make a decision. Some might call that "analysis-paralysis".

    Ultimately it's up to me when making purchasing decisions to weigh all the information and consider how much issues such as you pointed out regarding "not quite complete" analysis would impact a real world scenario.

    I applaud anandtech.com for all the work they do (and the LONG hours they must put in) in quantifying what in some cases is unquantifiable.

    Now back to my original question - why do the Woodcrest/MySQL benchmarks taken approx 14 months apart vary by so much and for the worse? Did the benchmark used change or am I just misreading the benchmark?

    thanks,
    John



    Reply
  • kalyanakrishna - Thursday, September 13, 2007 - link

    John,

    Its great that you trust the site content so much. I know many people who do. That is why I was shocked to see the shortcomings in the article ... most of which are, I must say, basic to some extent.

    I myself have been reading the site since many years and I know many colleagues who refer this site for just about anything ... hence my stand that they realize the importance of their work and publishings.

    Maybe its your fondness for the site ... but the specific comments I made are very important and do affect real world results. For any one looking to make a cluster or build an HPC system - thats their real world. Just like database performance is real world to you.

    Just to make it explicit... its not a flame war or anything like that ... it is to make sure that the data is correct and a relevant comparison is made.

    thanks.
    Reply
  • flyck - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    quote:

    It not wrong. It is incomplete and we admit that more than once. But considering AMD gaves us a few days before the NDA was over, it was impossible to cover all angles


    When will there be an update available? :).
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, September 10, 2007 - link

    quote:

    1) they choose faster Intel processors, 2 GHz Opteron. There are 2 GHz processors available across all the processors used in this analysis.


    2 GHz Intel's were not available to us. And considering AMD's pricepoints, a 2 GHz Opteron 2350 are targetting 2.33 GHz Xeons. It is fairly accepted that AMD has to lure customers with a small price advantage.

    quote:

    And this gentleman used Intel optimized code on AMD to test performance. Who in the right mind measuring performance would do that?


    Because there is a lot Intel optimized code out there? Do you deny that there are developers out there that use the Intel MKL?



    Reply

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