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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  • usamaah - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Is it me or is page 2 of this article missing some information? The title of that 2nd page is "What Intel and AMD are Offering," but in the body of the text there are only descriptions of Intel's Xeon chips? Perhaps a new title to reflect the body, or add AMD info? Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I moved the AMD vs Intel pricing data to the back of the article as the pricing info is more interesting once you have seen the results. But forgot to change the title.. fixed. Thanks. Reply
  • usamaah - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Cool, thank you. Next time I'll finish reading the article before I make a comment, sorry ;-) Anyway wonderful article. Reply
  • Ipatinga - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Very nice to see a comparison over some generations of Xeon platform, including the new one (yet to be released).

    I would like to see a new article with Core i7 vs Xeon 5500... to check out if my Core i7 @ 3,7GHz is good enough in Maya 2009 (Windows XP 64bit, 12GB DDR3), or if a Xeon 5500 (each at 2,4GHz, for instance) in dual processor configuration will be a much better buy.
    Reply

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