Target Market 1: High Performance Computing

There is one area that the Athlon MP was significantly more successful than Intel's Xeon - the HPC (High Performance Computing) market. This market tailors to the needs of the science community or any group of users that require a lot of processing power and very little more.

As we've seen in the past, AMD's architectures are highly optimized for floating-point intensive applications that haven't been SSE/SSE2 optimized; it turns out that the majority of HPC applications fall directly into this category and thus benefit significantly from Athlon MP, as well as the Opteron.

With the Opteron's SSE2 support, performance is even more competitive in those scenarios that don't depend on raw x87 FP performance. To give you an example of both the Opteron's competitiveness in scientific workloads as well as SSE2 optimized situations, here are two benchmarks from ScienceMark 2.0:

ScienceMark 2.0
Primordia Benchmark (Completion Time in Seconds - lower is better)
AMD Opteron 244 (1.80GHz)

Intel Xeon 2.80GHz

499.3

508.7

|
0
|
102
|
203
|
305
|
407
|
509
|
610

ScienceMark 2.0
BLAS Double Precision - SSE2 Vectorized Code (Peak MFLOPs - higher is better)
Intel Xeon 2.80GHz

AMD Opteron 244 (1.80GHz)

2478

2462

|
0
|
496
|
991
|
1487
|
1982
|
2478
|
2974

You can see that the Opteron is clearly competitive with Intel's Xeon, however the picture changes slightly if we toss in the latest Pentium 4 with an 800MHz FSB into the mix:

ScienceMark 2.0
Primordia Benchmark (Completion Time in Seconds - lower is better)
Intel Pentium 4 3.0C (3.00GHz/800MHz FSB)

AMD Opteron 244 (1.80GHz)

459.1

499.3

|
0
|
100
|
200
|
300
|
399
|
499
|
599

ScienceMark 2.0
BLAS Double Precision - SSE2 Vectorized Code (Peak MFLOPs - higher is better)
Intel Pentium 4 3.0C (3.00GHz/800MHz FSB)

AMD Opteron 244 (1.80GHz)

3482

2462

|
0
|
696
|
1393
|
2089
|
2786
|
3482
|
4178

So while AMD can enjoy a performance advantage for now, Intel is a much more formidable competitor than they were when the Xeon was first launch. Once the Xeon gets a larger L2 cache, a faster FSB (initially 667MHz) and a higher bandwidth memory subsystem (all which are on the roadmap), AMD will have to work on getting clock speeds up there to remain competitive on their home-turf.

Now that we've established AMD's previous and current strengths in the HPC market, let's look at two servers that tailor to this market.

Index Appro up to Bat with the 1100H

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