Socket-F vs. Woodcrest

We first started contacting AMD for a Socket-F platform a few weeks before its release date. Typically, when we receive a platform from AMD, it consists of a couple of CPUs, a main board and some memory. This time around AMD decided to send full platforms from a vendor called Colfax (one of AMD's solutions partners). Note that we used the plural of platform: AMD made a fairly bold move and sent a Woodcrest system as well. Both of the systems were configured identically: same case, power supply, hard drives, DVD-ROM and cooling (minus the CPU fans).

Click to enlarge
Of course any loyal Intel fan is going to cry foul, but rest assured we checked to see that there was no foul play here. The BIOS settings were configured as identically as possible, the fans were all running inside the case, etc. We've wanted to do this kind of comparison for awhile but lacked the equipment in the lab to create two identical systems. As we alluded to above, the only component that wasn't the same was the processor cooling. Intel's thermal design for most Xeon systems is an air duct that is fed by a hefty 6" fan on one side and vented out the rear of the case (see pictures on the next page). This usually produces a system that sounds like a miniature wind tunnel, at least for the server versions. There are of course a few other differences, but most of those relate to the platform: registered DDR2 vs. FB-DIMMs, different chipsets, and different motherboards were used, but that will always be the case.

What's new with Socket-F?

Socket-F isn't a huge technological leap for AMD; the most notable change is the move to DDR2 memory. Besides the new memory type however, Socket-F brings hardware virtualization acceleration and better power consumption. All of this is fabricated into a new 1207-pin LGA socket, similar to the LGA design of socket 775 only with more pins in the CPU socket. Here's a quick overview of the currently shipping 2-way Socket-F Opterons.

AMD Socket F Overview
Model Clock Power Consumption
2210 1.8GHz 95W
2212 2.0GHz 95W
2212 HE 2.0GHz 68W
2214 2.2GHz 95W
2214 HE 2.2GHz 68W
2216 2.4GHz 95W
2216 HE 2.4GHz 68W
2218 2.6GHz 95W
2220 SE 2.8GHz 119.2W

The Systems
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  • minidad - Thursday, December 21, 2006 - link

    Hi,

    Anandtech has done a lot of hard work here, and should be commended for this, but the methodology appears flawed. The metric of comparison between the different systems is the % cpu utilization at 6 different load points. However, if you examine the Dell DVD Store cpu utilization graphs, the CPU utilization for each load point is different for different cpus except for the two heaviest load points. They should be the same at each load point for correct comparison. In other words, when the opteron 2218 is running at 65% cpu load in load point 3, the woodcrest is running at 50%. Since the load points for the different cpus are not comparable, the conclusions of the article are unfortunately not usable.


    Reply
  • Mantruch - Thursday, December 21, 2006 - link

    Woodcrests are faster? well, thats all i need to know Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    Does that version of Windows server support NUMA? It could make a significant impact on results...
    Reply
  • BikeDude - Thursday, December 21, 2006 - link

    NUMA is supported on
    Windows Server 2003
    WinXP SP2
    and newer

    See reqs at:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dllproc/ba...">http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dllproc/ba...
    Reply
  • gouyou - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    I think it would be nice to have a test using a linux plateforme. I'm wondering if there is any performance gain for AMD using scheduling and memory management algorithms made with a NUMA set-up in mind. I guess that in some scenari we might see the opteron performance closer to the Intel one. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    The Dell test runs on Linux, while our forums benchmark runs on Windows Server 2003 x64. We will be providing additional benchmarks in the near future comparing Opteron and Xeon in other ways, so stay tuned. Reply
  • Spacecomber - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    Sorry if I overlooked where this was mentioned in the article, but are these comparable systems comparably priced? Reply
  • Nehemoth - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    Why you don't include information test for Terminal services, for example in out company with have plans to migrate from an old version of Citrix Metaframe to the Windows 2003 server terminal services.
    And don't care much about the power consumption (in out country the electricity bill is always high not matters what) but i do care much about the upgrade path, for example :
    (And taking in mind the HP solutions , DL365 opteron VS DL380G5)

    1-If i choose Opteron over Woodcrest will be easy or more cheap to buy more memory next year end?

    2-What about Quad Core, i know that i can buy woodcrest QC now but it will become conductible this upgrade concerning the bus of intel or should i see beyond to opteron QC (anyway for an upgrade for a system bought it in january 2007 shall be are less january 2008).

    These are the things that matters to me right now and i hope that AT answer those question sooner than later.


    Reply
  • Nehemoth - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    HP has curious quad core upgrade path
    http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=36...">http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=36...
    Reply
  • mino - Monday, December 18, 2006 - link

    As for upgrage path, go AMD.

    While Woodcrest is usually a bit better than AMD, K8L will be better in allmost every aspect to Clovertown.

    Also I doubt 45nm Penryn-derived 4C Xeons will be compatible with current platforms.

    As of now I would go for some serious 16DIMM board with cheaper DC like 2214. And plan upgrade in Q407 or Q108 to K8L.
    Reply

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