Pricing

Pricing steers most of the purchasing decisions so let's look at how the best server CPUs from Intel and AMD compare. We compare the 45nm "Nehalem" Xeon with the 45nm "Shanghai" Opteron.

Pricing
Intel Xeon model Speed (GHz) / TDP (W) Price AMD Opteron model Speed (GHz) Price
X5570 2.93 / 95W $1386      
X5560 2.80 / 95 W $1172      
X5550 2.66 / 95W $958 2389 2.9 / 75-115W $989
      2387 2.8 / 75W $873
E5540 2.53 / 80W $744 2384 2.7 / 75-115W $698
E5530 2.4 / 80W $530 2382 2.6 / 75-115W $523
L5520 2.26 / 60W $530 2376 HE 2.3 / 55-79W $575
L5510 2.13/ 60W $423 2374 HE 2.2 / 55-79W $450
E5520 2.26 $373 2380 2.5 / 75-115W $377
E5506 2.13 $266 2378 2.4 / 75-115W $255
E5504 2 $224      
E5502 1.86 $188 2376 2.3 / 75-115W $174

A few interesting observations can be made. First, AMD's 45nm process is a lot healthier than the 65nm process. Only a few months after the introduction of a 2.7GHz part, AMD is not only capable of boosting the clock speed to 2.9GHz but it does so without increasing the TDP. It is also interesting that AMD CPUs are covering a very narrow clock speed band at 75W from 2.4GHz to 2.9GHz. This indicates that AMD is really getting some good clock speeds out of the 45nm CPUs. This is a huge contrast with what we saw in 2007 and the first half of 2008. We were used to seeing AMD stuck at 2.3GHz, and those clock speeds are now all low energy parts.

AMD recognizes that Intel has the faster micro architecture and positions the 2.9GHz Shanghai at the level of the X5550. Intel is untouchable at the high-end but leaves AMD some chances at the low end. It positions a 1.86GHz without any Hyper-Threading or Turbo mode against a 2.3GHz chip. Unfortunately, those chips are not in our lab so we can't draw any conclusions.

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  • Veteran - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    I didn't mean to offend you, because i can imagine how much time it takes to test hardware properly. And i personally think that OLTP/OLAP testing is very innovative and needed. Because otherwise people would have no idea what to buy for servers. You cannot let you server purchase be influenced with meaningless (for servers) simple benchmarks like 3D 2006/Vantage/FPS test etc.
    You guys always are doing a great a job at testing any piece of hardware, but it is just feeling to much biased towards Intel. For example, at the last page of this review you get a link to Intel resource Center (in the same place as the next button). If you have things like that, you are not (trying to be) objective IMO.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Thank you for clarifying in a very constructive way.

    "the last page of this review you get a link to Intel resource Center"

    I can't say I am happy with that link as it creates the wrong impression. But the deal is: editors don't involve in ad management, ad sales people don't get involved when it comes to content.

    So all I can say is to judge our content, not our ads. And like I said, it didn't stop us from claiming that Shanghai was by far the best server CPU a few months ago. And that conclusion was not on many sites.
    Reply
  • Veteran - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Thanks for clarrifying this matter.

    But ad sales people should know this creates the wrong impression. A review site (for me at least) is all about objectivity and credibility. When you place a link to Intel's Resource Center at the end of every review, it feels weird. People on forums already call Anandtech, Inteltech. And i don't think this is what you guys want.

    I always liked Anandtech since when I was a kid, and I still do. You guys always have one of the most in-depth reviews (especially on the very technical side) and I like that. But you guys are gaining some very negative publicity on the net.
    Reply
  • BaronMatrix - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Unfortunately, I don't buy from or recommend criminals. Reply
  • carniver - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    AMDZone is the biggest joke on the internet. I just went there to see how the zealots like abinstein are still doing their damage control; just like before he went on rambling how the Penryn is still weak against Shanghai, and the old and tired excuses like how if people all bought AMD they can drop in upgrades etc etc. ZootyGray...he's the biggest joke on AMDZone. None of them had the mental capacity to accept AMD has been DEFEATED, which is disappointing but funny to say the least Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    It's not just AMDZone, you are just the opposite. Its like in Woodcrest and conroe times, it's not because the high-end cpu is the best of all that the rest of the available cpu's in the line is by default better. It's all about price performance ratio. Like many who were buying the low-end and think they had bought the better system, well wrong bet.

    As mentioned before, why not test the mid range that is where the sales will be. Time to test 5520-5530 against 2380-82 after all those have the same price.
    Reply
  • carniver - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    Your argument is valid, however, it just so happens that for low end 1S systems the Penryns are doing just fine against the Shanghais, for higher end 2S systems they used to be limited by memory bandwidth and AMD pulls ahead. No more is this the case, Intel now beats AMD in their own territory. Reply
  • CHADBOGA - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    You probably also can't afford to buy a computer, so I doubt that Intel will be too concerned with your AMDZone insanity. LOL!!!! Reply
  • smilingcrow - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Those grapes you are chewing on sure sound sour to me. Try listening to a few tracks by The Fun Loving Criminals to help take away the bad taste. Reply
  • cjcoats - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    There's more to HPC applications than you indicate: environmental modeling apps, particularly, tend to be dominated by memory access patterns rather than by I/O or pure computation. Give me a ring if you'd like some help with that -- I'm local for you, in fact... Reply

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