AMD Phenom Preview: Barcelona Desktop Benchmarksby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 10, 2007 12:03 AM EST
- Posted in
We can't draw too many sweeping conclusions based on the data here today, but here's what we do know:
- Gaming performance is much improved with Barcelona over K8, this is most likely a result of the improvements to the SSE engine and the wider front end of the core.
- Encoding performance is improved (again SSE128 rearing its head), but 3dsmax saw an unexpectedly large performance improvement.
- With a 10 - 15% increase in performance on average, Phenom should be more competitive than K8 was on the desktop (as expected).
Here's where things get complicated; we knew Phenom/Barcelona would be faster clock for clock, it was only a matter of how big of an improvement we'd get. If we are to believe that 15% is the best we'll get on average, taking into account that Penryn is around 5% faster than Conroe, the updated architecture from AMD alone isn't enough to really compete with Intel. In other words, price matters.
We saw how competitive AMD became after the first round of price cuts this year, but after the second set Intel went back to dominating. The trouble for AMD this time around is that Phenom is a much larger chip than the outgoing Athlon 64 X2, whereas Intel's Penryn family will actually be smaller than Conroe. AMD is already losing a considerable amount of money each quarter, so fabbing a larger chip at the same price as current CPUs will only make the situation worse. However, Intel can afford to continue to keep its processors as aggressively priced, especially moving to 45nm.
To put it plainly: Phenom/Barcelona make this price war more difficult on AMD, while Penryn makes it easier on Intel. What's the end game? Is there a solution? We're not sure, all we know today is a starting point for Phenom expectations.