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  • duploxxx - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    Its nice to say that the new Intel system's have the RAS support and the AMD one not, however keep in mind that you are using an old opteron socket (you can say you have the latest revision 2006).

    AMD's Opteron 800/200-series (1207-pin, Socket F). The 1207-pin Socket F "Santa Rosa" core AMD Opteron CPU features DDR-2 memory support and Virtualization technology, in addition to Memory RAS security.
  • Slappi - Sunday, November 12, 2006 - link

    Please sell your Intel stock and then rewrite the article please.

    Thank you,

  • LuxFestinus - Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - link


    The first problem with the review is credibility. The author, Johan De Galas, is the same person who did the worst server comparison I've ever seen:">

    This latest review has a lot of comments and odd arrangements that suggest bias.

    Page 1:

    TDP numbers are mentioned without stating that Intel's are not the same as AMD's nor mentioning that for Intel you have to include both the Northbridge memory controller and the higher power draw of FBDIMM.

    At the bottom of this page we do see the biggest reason for doing a pro-Intel server review:

    The lucrative 4 socket market was and is still dominated by the 8xx Opteron, which managed to capture up to 50% of the market share

    Page 2:

    Displaying comparison graphs directly from Intel. Where are the graphs from AMD? This makes me wonder if Intel co-authored this review.

    Trying to downplay AMD's huge gains in 4-way servers by suggesting that AMD only gained share because Paxville was so bad.

    Giving Intel praise for improvements to a poor design:

    Thanks to the shared and inclusive nature of the L3-cache coherency traffic between the four CPUs is significantly reduced.

    Yes, it is reduced but FSB cache coherency along with MESI is inferior in every way to AMD's cache coherency.

    Page 3:

    We start off by using a lower Opteron machine:

    The HP ProLiant DL585 available in the labs was not the recently introduced DL585G2 which features DDR2, the new AMD Opteron socket F

    Criticizing a superior design with a trivial (and incorrect) comparison to a worse design:

    The quad dual core configuration generates more cache coherency traffic, as the 8 cores of the Opteron have to keep 8 L2 caches coherent while the Xeon MP has to keep track of 4 L3 caches.

    This is false. Cache coherency between L2 pairs on the same chip do not use HyperTransport. The chip to chip coherency would be the same as Intel if AMD used MESI and had the same size cache. However, since AMD uses MOESI there is an improvement. And, since AMD's cache is much smaller there is again much less cc traffic. Finally, this still completely misses the point that 100% of Intel's cache coherency traffic still travels over the FSB while AMD's does not. This is about as biased or technologically ignorant of a comparison that anyone can make.

    Page 4:

    Finally at the bottom of the server overview page (where it is less likely to be seen) the author admits that Intel's TDP is not the same as AMD's and admits that FBDIMM draws more power. However, he fails to give any actual numbers to see what the real comparison is. In other words, on page 1 the stated numbers favor Intel, however the correction on page 4 contains no actual numbers to see who is really ahead in power draw. The author is either trying to favor Intel or is incredibly unprofessional.

    Page 5:

    At the top of this page the author tries to suggest that Anandtech's poor reviews are due to a lack of support from the manufacturers.

    In case you're wondering why we chose to use the fastest Xeon DP, the second fastest Xeon MP, and the second fastest Opteron, the reason is simple: those were the CPUs that were made available to us.

    Sorry but the biases in this review are not related to processor speed. Also, the 2.4Ghz Opteron is not the second fastest; the Opteron 854 runs at 2.8Ghz. 2.4Ghz is actually the third fastest Opteron.

    The AMD server has slower 333Mhz DIMMs while Intel gets 400 and 533 Mhz.

    Page 6:

    The Woodcrest SpecInt rate numbers are quite good for dual core. However, it isn't clear how much the numbers might be boosted by large cache. Nor does it make any sense to include these with quad numbers since Woodcrest might not scale 100%. However, we do see another common graph cheat where IBM's Power numbers were included to prevent AMD from having the top spot in the chart. Also, the AMD number is low at 160. It should be about 176. It should also be noted that Spec is in a bad position at the moment. No new numbers are being added to update the old 2000 database and there are not yet enough 2006 numbers for a good comparison. I have to wonder if Anandtech will still be quoting Spec numbers in the second half of 2007.

    Page 7:

    Curiously, the Xeon name is shown prominently in the graph whereas the Opteron machine is simply referred to as an HP.

    The SpecJbb test shows what a big difference proper compiling makes. In the second graph the quad opteron is almost identical to the quad xeon. However, the author tries to downplay this:

    This is good and bad news for AMD: it means that the Opteron 880 can compete with the more expensive Xeon MP, but it also means that the Opteron requires more "manual" optimization than the Xeon MP. The Xeon MP performs at the same level with 4 instances as it does with one.

    There is no mention of the fact that Xeon's I/O requires performance stealing software patches to match what Opteron does natively. Nor is there any mention of the fact that two Intel Xeons have to share the same bus which cuts performance in half when the memory bandwidth is saturated.

    And, at the bottom of the page the author makes sure to mention higher numbers for Intel that are not in the graph. Apparently, a tie is not acceptable. The new numbers suggest a whopping 27% lead for Intel. However, if we divide the Intel numbers by the difference in DIMM speed Intel's lead drops to a much smaller 6%.

    Page 8:

    Although Opteron does well overall and demolishes the P4 Xeon this test is suspect. The graph increases faster from 4 to 8 threads than it did from 2 to 4. This pretty much goes against every theory of processor operation. The test code has a problem of some kind. A normal graph would show either the same rate of increase or more commonly a slight dropoff.

    Page 9:

    The MySQL numbers are a waste of time. First of all the test is improperly configured:

    We optimized for a server with 4GB of RAM.

    Why optimize for 4GB's when the servers have 8 and 16 GB's of memory? It would be rare to find someone using a database server with only 4 GBs. Remember that the hardware can handle 64 GB's of memory with the slow DDR 333 that they are using in these tests.

    We also see an anomalous increase in the Woodcrest graph between 50 and 100. This is not normal and again shows some problem with the test code.

    Page 10:

    The server comparison is ridiculous. Why compare an older chipset and processor to Intel's newest? A socket F comparison would be much more professional and unbiased. Remember that the recent RAS features for Opteron (which are important in a high level server) came with Revision F.

    We see grudging admissions of unrealistic cache based results:

    In applications where the large L3 cache doesn't play a big role, the relatively poor server performance of the "NetBurst" architecture becomes visible again

    And, a grudging admission that this server chip is still inferior to Opteron:

    In a nutshell, the new Xeon MP will have a hard time convincing people who are leaning towards an Opteron server or want the best performance/watt.

    Very true. Now, of course, the author has to try to salvage the review by making a completely false claim:

    But on the other hand, the decent performance and superior RAS features will keep the customers who desire high availability in the Intel camp

    Or they could just buy a real Opteron system that does have these RAS features. This one server does not represent the entire Opteron server market.

    Taken from Scientia's post here:">AMD Forum Board
  • Kiijibari - Sunday, November 12, 2006 - link

    They are misleading as it is unclear what you mean with "mem bandwidth".
    Is it FSB bandwidth ? System memory bandwidth ? CPU bandwidth ... ?

    It is correct that Intel can deliver 21 GB/s from the memory, however one CPU so far can "just" can handle ~11GB/s. So why should 1 Xeon DP have a memory bandwidth of 21 GB/s ? That statement is not valid, if you limit it to one CPU.

    Obviously, you meant the System memory bandwidth, but then I really wonder about your Opteron Socket-F numbers ...

    First it would be only fair to write the system bandwidth for a 2P System(or whatever compares to the Intel configuration), too. This would be then ~21 GB/s, too, for a 2P Opteron System, 42 GB/s for a Quad System.

    Then I wonder how you calculate that 8.5 GB/s mentioned with the Socket-F Opterons.

    As far as I know, these chips support DDR2-667 and that means 10.6 GB/s, not 8.5. Please be fair and correct at least that obvious error ...


  • spaceoddity - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Hi Johan,

    Thank you very much for doing some Linux benchmarks. They are not easy to come by. There are virtually no Linux benchmarks for desktops (perhaps understandable, but frustrating for us Linux users), but for servers, which is where Linux has a sizeable presence, they are always welcome. I hope Anandtech continues to provide good Linux/UNIX benchmarks, and doesn't abandon them for more windoze benchmarks, which are everywhere anyway.

  • JohanAnandtech - Sunday, November 12, 2006 - link

    Well I firmly believe the marketshare of linux servers can only grow and that therefore linux benchmarking will only get more important. A colleague of mine pointed out that Novell has launched e-directory: a very solid alternative to MS Small business server with the same functionality and ease of use, but much cheaper per connection, and with the ability to grow with the enterprise.

    It is just yet another reason why Linux on servers is so attractive besides much lower cost and much more control over your own IT infrastructure
  • Justin Case - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    In the OpenSSL 1024-bit signs, the quad Opteron has an almost 40% advantage over the Xeon when using 8 threads (in fact, that advantage rises to more than 90% when using optimized binaries), and is still the best of the bunch at 16 threads (32 wasn't tested), and yet the article text completely fails to mention this.

    It mentions the point where the (more expensive and more power-hungry) Xeon has its biggest advantage (4 threads, with a whooping 9% advantage over the Opteron), and the point where the Sun server (even more expensive) has its biggest advantage (32 threads, but the Opteron wins if using optimized binaries), but completely ignores the Opteron's trouncing of all the competition at 8 and 16 threads, and the fact that the Xeon 5160 cannot scale past its 4-thread peformance at all.">

    So the fact is the Opteron can handle a load of 10000 signs per second (over 12000 with optimized binaries), while the Xeon can't even reach 6000 (6200 with optimized binaries).">

    And yet, according to the article, "the Opteron no longerbeats the Xeon". Huh? A 40% advantage isn't enough to win? Who compared the scores, Diebold?

    So what if the Xeon performs better when you cripple the Opteron by reducing the number of threads? In any real-world situation, the server admin is going to use the number of threads that delivers the best performance (and is going to use the optimized binaries, of course, if he's competent). Just because the Xeon tops out at 4 threads doesn't mean the (better) results delivered by the Opteron should be discarded.

    If this was a "normal" Anadtech article, I wouldn't be surprised by the bias and "selective reporting", but I never expected Johan to "tow the party line" like this.
  • JohanAnandtech - Sunday, November 12, 2006 - link

    From the article:


    Still, our previous conclusion stands: clock for clock, the Opteron is quite a bit better at this than the Xeon "Core" architecture (Xeon 5160) and a lot better than the Xeon "NetBurst" architecture (Xeon MP 7130).

    Yeah, I am really doing Intel a favor here, pointing out one of the weaknesses of their core architecture and showing yet another very weak point of Netburst.


    the fact that the Xeon 5160 cannot scale past its 4-thread peformance at all

    Again from the article:

    One thread of OpenSSL Signing per core is optimal

    More than one thread per core doesn't give any performance advantage (unless you have a multithreaded CPU) so of course a Dual Xeon 5160 doesn't scale beyond 4 threads, just like a Dual Opteron. As openSSL scales almost perfectly, The important thing here is performance/core, as you don't want to pay for multi socket machine if you don't want to.


    but I never expected Johan to "tow the party line" like this.

    You should definitely read more carefully. "Selective reporting" would not include the MySQL, Power consumption or even the NUMA specjbb results as they are favorable for the Opteron.
  • Justin Case - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    The fact is, the quad Opteron box reviewed (DL585) _can_ sustain higher performance than the Xeon 5160 (close to 90% higher, using optimized binaries), correct? So, unless the Opteron box costs twice as much as the 5160 box (identically supported and configured, apart from the CPUs / MB), it delivers more bang for the buck.

    Is this a server test or a CPU core test? It's filed under "IT / Computing", not under "CPU / Chipset", so I have to assume it's supposed to be the former.

    So what if one server has twice (or 100 times) as many cores as the other? You might as well argue that the servers must be compared at the same clock speed, with the same amount of on-die cache, or with the same type of memory. All those things might be relevant when comparing CPU architectures (then again...), but not when you're comparing complete systems. The whole point of a server comparison is to see what kind of performance you get for the price. If one server is 70% more expensive but 80% faster, it's still a better deal for people who need the extra performance. That extra performance can be due to a higher clock speed, more CPUs, more cores per CPU, better memory bandwidth, a dedicated coprocessor, magic imps, whatever. But it doesn't make any sense to "compensate" for those variables (or for one of those variables) and ignore the fact that server X can and does deliver better performance than server Y when both make full use of their resources.

    At 4 threads, the 5160 is the fastest system of those tested. So what if it has a 20% clock speed advantage? It's still the fastest, right? You're not going to artificially cripple its clock speed to match the others; doing that wouldn't make any sense (because, in the real world, no buyer / server admin would do that). So why cripple the other systems by limiting the number of threads they are running? In that test (with unoptimized binaries), the Sun box reaches the highest performance, period. With optimized binaries, the Opteron box manages to pull slightly ahead. Of course, then you have to take price into account, and maybe for a lot of people the 5160-based server will be the better deal, but you can't say it performs better when, objectively, it does not.
  • nah - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Great job Johan---as always Reply
  • Niv KA - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link


    Those benchmarks will be presented in our Clovertown - Intel's new quad core server CPU - review.

    I belive Clovertown is going to be announced somethime in the next week or two. On thursday I went to the "Microsoft: Ready for a New Day" here in Belgium (where Bill gates made an appearance of about half an hour, although not related!) and at the Intel booth they were showing off 4 servers which where running an "unannounced platform"! One of the technical guys at the booth let me in on a little "secret"! The Supermicro Systems were running "two sockets each box, each socket 4 cores! Eight cores each box! And the best part is its woodcrest arch!". I asked him if it was clovertown and he sayed that he "is just a technical assistant, not alowed to say anything" but he made the answer clear on his face! Clovertown is ready to go, and its FAST! They were running benchmarks all the time! I will post pictures on the fourms if I have enough time, but I have a HUGE project I need to hand in by tuesday so I might forget!

    ---Niv K Aharonovich

    PS: About the "outdated" system comments above, I am fully on Anandtechs side, it is impossible for an online newspaper company to make enough money to BUY everything, esp. in the $15,000 area! The only way is to ask for it from the vendors, and the vendors decide what to provide! Good job anandtech and continue the good work!!!!!!!
  • Dennis Travis - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Great job as usuall. Keep up the excellent work. Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Another bullshit "comparison" nice job guys. You are comparing an AMD system that has been out for over 2 years. Useless review as usual. Why are you not comparing new with new? Why don't you use a Xeon box that was out 2 years ago?

    Anandtech's reviews have become more and more worthless.
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    1. AMD has confirmed that they feel the HP DL585 with 4x 880 is a worthy competitor for our Tulsa machine.
    2. This server is 5 months old, not 2 years. As I made clear in the article, this is the 2006 revision.

    As we invest a lot of time of effort to convince OEMs and others to send us extremely expensive hardware for review, spend weeks tweaking benchmarks and OS to give you benchmarks, we hope we may expect some useful feedback from our readers.

    Just writing "useless" with little or no explanation why you feel it is worthless is not helping anyone.
  • AnandThenMan - Sunday, November 12, 2006 - link

    I was going to post an explanation as to why the "review" is very poorly done. But Scientia over at AMDz did a far better explanation then I could come up with.">

    Either the review is intentionally authored to show Intel in as best light as possible, or the author is incompetent and should not be doing reviews at all. I stand by what I originally posted, the review is bullshit.
  • primer - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Agreed. Reply
  • goldfish2 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Can I just quickly mention how nice it is to read an article where the author has managed to present all the relevant informatiom in as concise a manner as is possible, good job. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link


    Server reviews are extremely time consuming so most publications are not interested in it, so I am glad AT allows me to do this kind of reviews.

  • AllYourBaseAreBelong2Us - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Can you guys get a new DL585 G2 and do benchmarks with this new model instead?
  • Viditor - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    I thought this too...the G2 has 7 PCIe slots (3 x8, 4 x4), is $800 less expensive, and offers newer SCSI controllers. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Well, we did mentione it at our price comparison. From a performance point of view, the G2 is within 2% of the DL585 given a similar configuration.

    Getting a server in the lab is not like getting a videochip for review. The machines are much more expensive, and you need much more time to review them properly. So OEMs are less likely to send you the necessary hardware. For a videocard they send out a $500 item that can be reviewed in a few weeks, maybe even a few days. For Server like these, they have to send out a $20000 machine and be able to miss it for a month or two at the least.
  • Viditor - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link


    Well, we did mentione it at our price comparison. From a performance point of view, the G2 is within 2% of the DL585 given a similar configuration

    I can certainly understand and empathise with the situation...and I did enjoy the article, Johan!
    The reason I mentioned it is that line in your conclusion...

    The HP DL585 also has a few shortcomings: it does not offer any PCIe expansion slots, the SCSI controller is an old SCSI 160 model, and there are no USB ports on the front of the machine

    I thought that (considering the circumstances) it was a bit unfair and misleading...
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    I just pointed out that it is a bit weird that a newer revision of the DL585 (it was thé HP Opteron machine just a few months ago) used SCSI 160. There is no reason at all why HP could not replace this: they revised the server anyway.

    I should mentioned that these results were solved in the G2, but still it is a missed chance... eventhough I reported it a bit too late :-)
  • photoguy99 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    yes, bring it on! Reply
  • finalfan - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    On page The Official SPEC Numbers, in second table SPEC FP 2000 Performance, the positions of (4/8) HP Opteron AM2 and (8/8) Hitachi Itanium 2 should be switched. No Itanium runs at 3.4G and no way a 4way 1.6G AM2 can sit in second place. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Corrected. It is weird, the accurate numbers were in the orginal document. The generation of the table went wrong. I have double checked and now the FP numbers should all be accurate Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Probably my fault. I think when it got put into Excel that the various x/y numbers were converted to dates. I thought I fixed all of those, but probably missed one or two. Sorry. Reply
  • icarus4586 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link


    There has been a relentless assault without any mercy on the Server CPU market...

    This report brought to you by the department of redundancy department.
  • bwmccann - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    When are you guys going to start benchmarking server CPUs using applications that are widely used in organizations on a daily basis?

    Most companies have a very high percentage of servers running Windows. With that I would love to see some test on SQL, Oracle, Exchange, and other core components of enterprises today.

    Also it would be nice to see a closer comparison of the servers. For example you tested a DL585. A DL580 (Intel Woodcrest) would have been better suited since some of the components would be the same.
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link">

    Most of the time Jason does the Windows benchmarking, me and my team do the Linux benchmarking.

    Java, MySQL and SSL are also core components of many enterprise apps.

    We are working on Oracle and got access to a realworld Oracle database a few weeks ago (for the first time), but it takes time to really understand what your benchmark is telling you and how you must configure your db. And Oracle is ...very stubborn, even patching to a slightly higher version can lead to big trouble.

    The DL585 is a direct competitor (quad socket) in this space, more so than the DL580 (DUal Socket)

  • DigitalFreak - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    No, the DL580 is a quad socket as well.

    Although it's probably what you already had on hand, the new DL585G2 offers a lot of what you said the DL585 lacked (PCI-E, etc.)
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    My bad, by reading "Woodcrest" (which is wrong) I thought there was some DL580 model that was dual socket that I wasn't aware off. So basically the DL580G4 is Tulsa based, I think the DL585 is a more interesting competitor for our Intel server.

    The fastest DL580G3 are all Paxville (or even older based) so not interesting for comparison... the spec numbers make it clear it is pretty bad performer.
  • severian64 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link


    If you are read this, please include the following benchmarks on Windows for the Quad Intel vs Quad Operton if you do a quad shootout on windows:

    1) Windows 2003 Server x86-64 , SQL Server 2005 x86-64
    2) Windows 2003 Server x86-32, SQL Server 2005 x86-32, Exchange 2003

    For the SQL Server 2005 tests please test all aspects of the database such as SQL Server Integration Services not just SQL statements.

    Also, the tests would be most usefull if they were done with 4GB , 8GB and 16GB configs.



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