Introduction

There has been a relentless assault on the Server CPU market. How else could you describe Intel's impressive amount of new server CPU launches, and aggressive pricing during the past several months? At the end of May 2006, Intel released the dual core Xeon DP 5080 "Dempsey" at 3.73 GHz, still based on the same architecture as the latest Pentium 4 ("Presler"). As shown by the Dell DVD store benchmark, Dempsey made the performance gap with the best AMD Opterons smaller, but it still wasn't very competitive in the performance/Watt league.

Only one month later, we reviewed a new Xeon DP 5160 based on the Intel's brand spanking new Core architecture, codenamed Woodcrest. With the exception of SSL Encryption and the MySQL database tests, the new Xeon DP simply annihilated the competition. Our most recent data shows that the Xeon 5160 outperforms the best Opteron (2.8 GHz) by 10% (MySQL) to 60% (LAMP), while presenting 33% lower TDP numbers (80W versus 119W, 65W versus 95W). AMD launched the new Socket F in August, but the current Opterons are not capable of extracting higher performance out of the faster DDR2 DIMMs, leaving AMD no other option than severely reducing the price of their server CPU flagship in the dual socket market.


The Xeon MP machine on top of the HP DL585 in our rack...
but can it really overpower the quad Opteron?

But Intel wasn't satisfied. 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 in only a few years. In September the 3.4 GHz Xeon MP 7140M, codename Tulsa, was born. With up to 16 MB of L3-cache, can the new Xeon MP stop AMD's Quad Opteron from grabbing even more market share? Or do we have to wait for Tigerton to arrive? Let us find out....

The Xeon 70xx
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