AMD Says New Opterons Kick Xeon Butt

But is it comparing apples with oranges...?

In the last month perennial industry golden boy AMD has been getting rather a kicking off big bad old Intel courtesy of Core 2 Duo. Now it claims to be fighting back – at least in the server space – with Socket F.

Socket F is a new processor format AMD is introducing this week for its latest range of Opterons and it claims to reduce power consumption while at the same time supporting DDR2 memory and the company’s AMD V virtualization technology (previously codenamed ‘Pacifica’).

The figures looks pretty good on paper too until you look a little closer. After all AMD claims its flagship Opteron 8220 SE is around 47 per cent faster than Intel’s Xeon 7041 in a 4P configuration and uses a quarter less energy. The trouble is the company is not comparing like with like and when you raise it against Intel’s new core based Woodcrest (the Xeon 5100 series) the only things AMD can shout about are greater power efficiency and ‘seamless’ future migration (Socket F will be the format for quad core CPUs next year). Benchmarks – the SPECfp_rate2000 on Linux apart – are severely lacking.

All of which means 1. I’m talking about server processors with a level of technical detail I’m not particularly comfortable with and 2. AMD will pretty much have to concede the performance crown to a generation of Intel chips for the first time in a very long time.

For the record 23 new dual core Opterons and three single cores are available now. Prices begin from $255 for the 1.8GHz 1210 to a whopping $2,649 for the 2.8GHz 8220 SE and if you’re feeling overtly brand loyal you should check them out.


Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor