AMD got the attention of Microsoft with their 64-bit Athlon 64/Opteron platform, and it was enough attention to warrant a new OS port to x86-64. Just weeks ago AMD scored another victory, with Intel announcing the adoption of AMD's 64-bit extensions to x86.

Future Xeon and Pentium 4 processors will ship with the x86-64 extensions enabled but architecturally they will be identical to the currently available Prescott based Pentium 4. The architectural similarity between Intel's IA-32e ad IA-32 processors (IA-32e is Intel's marketing equivalent to AMD64) is an important point to note as it means that if Opteron is able to outperform Xeon in 32-bit mode, it will maintain a performance advantage in 64-bit mode as well. We are assuming that Intel has no specialized hardware to improve 64-bit performance over AMD's solution, so the Xeon vs. Opteron comparisons we've brought you in the 32-bit world should still hold true in the 64-bit world later this year.

There has been much editorializing about Intel's recent 64-bit announcement, and we'll add nothing more than this to it all: it's a very good thing that Intel has gone the x86-64 route, it will mean that we see software support, drivers and overall market acceptance sooner. We have AMD to thank for Intel's backing x86-64, which is a big feather in AMD's cap but if there's one thing to be said about business it's that there's no room for pride.

Intel made the right decision; they would be losing sales if they didn't adopt x86-64, leaving those who needed a 64-bit x86 solution no option other than Opteron. However Intel gives AMD nothing if they adopt x86-64 in their own CPUs; AMD's sales don't increase and remember what we said about pride in business.

We'll talk more about Intel's upcoming 64-bit Xeons (Nocona and Potomac) in the conclusion, but let's get to what we're all here to see today: AMD's Opteron and Intel's Xeon go head to head in a real-world database serving comparison.

We compared the two titans in our web serving tests late last year, where AMD left Intel in a cloud of dust. Now the stakes are much higher, can Intel's deeply pipelined architecture contend with AMD's server-grown Opteron?

A Confusing Market


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  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    whats the deal with the slow ddr333 memory Reply
  • Jason Clark - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Cygni, if you have a peek at the 2 way web test we took shots of the monsters in that article..

  • SDA - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Ouch. At first it doesn't look like Intel is pwnd (sure, they lose in the four-way benchmarks, but as Opteron vs. Xeon benches go this one's still pretty close)... then the cost of the Xeon is factored in, especially relative to the Opteron 24x (which is even cheaper and equally suitable for 2-way systems).

    Things might change with the FSB800 Xeons, though. The Opteron will still offer a lot more bang for the buck, but the Xeon might offer more bang then. It all depends on how well the 90nm Opterons scale, I guess.
  • Cygni - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Very cool. So if your going 2 way for a DB, Xeon's look pretty good. I wouldnt have expected that.

    And can you guys snap some pics of the 4 way Xeon and Opteron boxes for us techno geeks that need a new wallpaper? ;)
  • Jason Clark - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Numa was turned on.... 64Bit is just waiting on software. Although 64bit is a reality hardware wise, software still has a loooong way to go yet. We may do some 64 Bit .NET stuff at some point in the future as well. Reply
  • SUOrangeman - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Looks like DDR400 ECC+Reg is readily available to me as well ...

  • Boonesmi - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    christophergorge - ddr400 reg/ecc (ie pc3200) is very much available, i just put 2gb in a cad/cam opteron workstation a couple weeks ago Reply
  • dweigert - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    I can't wait to see what happens when they do these again with NUMA turned on and a 64 bit OS. GamePC just released a set of astounding memory benchmarks,

    This ought to be some food for thought.
  • menads - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    To the people that said there is no DDR400 w ECC -that is pure BS! ECC/Reg DDR400 IS available for more than an year and the latest official Opteron SPEC submission of AMD is done with such memory!
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - link

    Just a quick question for whoever knows the answer: what's the die size on the 4MB Xeon? Reply

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