New dual-core Intel Xeon processors on Paxville core are not free from these drawbacks. On the contrary, they suffer from them even more than their single-core fellows. Moreover, they are incompatible with the older mainboards, because their power consumption is higher than that of the regular single-core Xeon CPUs.
As for the performance of the dual-core Intel Xeon processors, there is nothing to boast at this time. These CPUs prove really efficient only in those tasks that can be easily split into multiple parallel threads for simultaneous processing and that are not critical to the system bus bandwidth. According to our test results, there are very few applications that meet these requirements. So, it looks like dual-core Intel Xeon processors are still performing purely representational functions being just a formal competitor to dual-core AMD Opteron.
In addition, I would like to take pokes at the developers of professional software tools. As we see, all this software is quite well optimized for two parallel threads. There are quite a lot of programs that can use even four simultaneous threads. However, when it comes to eight logical CPUs, there are just a couple applications that prove capable of handling that much power. It is quite natural, as 8-processor systems have never been available in the workstation market. But times have changed. Two dual-core Intel Xeon CPUs supporting Hyper-Threading technology allow processing 8 threads at the same time. And in most cases dual-core Xeon CPUs fail to show what they are capable of because of the lack of appropriate software support.
I sincerely hope that things are going to change in the future. Because the Intel Xeon (Paxvill) processors we have tested today will soon be followed by faster CPUs on the same architecture. And these upcoming dual-core processors will be free from the drawbacks we have encountered in the today’s Xeons, which will make them much more suitable for workstations. These processors are expected to appear in Q1 2006 already and are known as Dempsey. They will be based on 65nm cores, will feature lower power consumption and heat dissipation on the one hand and higher clock frequencies (up to 3.8GHz) on the other. Moreover, they will acquire a faster front side bus and new chipsets to support them featuring an individual bus for each CPU in the system.
So, despite the today’s evident fiasco, the future looks pretty rosy for new Intel workstation CPUs.