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FOLLOW UP: has published SPECint_2006 and SPECfp_2006 results of commercially available quad-core AMD Opteron 2.0GHz and it is now possible to compare performance of shipping quad-core chips from AMD and Intel obtained on the latest versions of compilers and other software. For details see “AMD’s Quad-Core Chips Dominate SPECfp, But Intel Holds SPECint Firmly” news-story.

Advanced Micro Devices recently demonstrated more test results of its quad-core code-named Barcelona processors for servers, which once again confirmed the potential of its new chips, but also rose questions whether the current implementation of the product can beat the competing Intel Xeon offerings hands down.

The new quad-core AMD Opteron “Barcelona” processors at 2.60GHz can deliver 21% performance gain compared to quad-core Intel Xeon 5355 (2.66GHz) in SPECint_rate2006 and 50% speed improvement over Intel Xeon 5355 in SPECfp_rate2006 benchmarks.

The integer and floating point benchmarks results of AMD’s code-named Barcelona imply that the new product by AMD is considerably faster compared to Intel’s quad-core chip at the same clock-speed.

Unfortunately, Barcelona’s test results are “estimated performance” of the chip at 2.60GHz “based on internal AMD emulations”, whereas the first quad-core processors from AMD due to be available in September will only hit frequencies of up to 2.0GHz. Meanwhile, Intel Corp. plans to release its quad-core Intel Xeon X5365 (3.0GHz) chip towards September as well, whereas no quad-core AMD Opteron products with higher than 2.0GHz clock-speeds are projected until Q4 2007.

Moreover, given that AMD does not have a lot of time left to increase clock-speeds of Barcelona while keeping its power consumption low, the company’s high-performance quad-core central processing units, the firm may not be able to boast with both higher performance and considerably lower power consumption of its solutions. Still, it should be kept in mind that estimated performance based on emulations may not reflect actual speed of a product.

Besides showing off estimated performance, the company has also demonstrated projections of server performance powered by quad-core AMD Opteron “Barcelona” chips at 2.30GHz. According to such expectations, quad-core AMD Opteron delivers from 40% to 90% performance improvement over dual-core AMD Opteron chip that works at 3.0GHz, 30% higher clock-speed.

Earlier this year AMD showcased a system running two quad-core AMD Opteron microprocessors at unknown frequency and disclosed its POV-Ray benchmark result, which turned out to be approximately 4000 pixels per second. According to test-results by X-bit labs, quad-core Intel Xeon processor model 5365 renders over 4500 pixels per second in that benchmark.


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