The past week has been an exciting one for the IT community; the release of AMD's Opteron microprocessor has restored competitive balance between the two microprocessor giants. Although we have a very large IT user base, there are a good number of our more than 3 million monthly readers who could care less about the performance of a 2-way Opteron under SQL Server.

The Enthusiast community is still waiting for Athlon 64, and to be tempted by the performance of the Opteron and not given an idea of how a single processor Opteron would fair on the desktop is simply cruel.

The temptation continues when you realize that although none of the AMD-chipset based Opteron boards have an AGP slot, boards based on NVIDIA's nForce3 Pro chipset will. For those of you that haven't read Part 1 of our Opteron coverage, NVIDIA's nForce3 Pro chipset is a single-chip solution for uniprocessor Opteron workstation and enthusiast-class PCs; as we just mentioned, with an AGP 8X slot.

ASUS is NVIDIA's launch partner for the nForce3 Pro, but unfortunately official review samples of their nForce3 Pro boards won't be ready for another month or two. "Great," you think, we go all this way to tempt you and then say that there's no way for us to give you an idea of how competitive the Opteron would be in a desktop scenario.

The biggest limitation to giving you a good idea of what sort of desktop performance to expect out of the Opteron is that none of the current platforms have an AGP slot, but with a decently fast PCI graphics card we could still do a nice Opteron to Athlon XP comparison to give us an idea of what sort of performance to expect down the line from Opteron/nForce3 and Athlon 64 platforms.

And that is the focus of today's article, to give you an idea of the performance the Opteron processor itself will be able to offer in non-server environments.

Turning a Server Board into a Desktop Solution
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