Opteron announcement

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Tue Apr 22 20:09:20 EDT 2003


> You want to look at this page of the (15 !) page report by Aces Hardware 
> (the results are mixed):

I think the results are pretty clear: AMD has successfully transformed
the well-regarded Athlon core into a serious competitor to anything Intel
has to offer.  

the core isn't really changed that much: it's got SSE2 now (which helps blas
a lot), seems to gain somewhat from extra regs in 64b mode (but it's not
clear how you go about using them, since until now, Intel's compiler has been
the far-best).  I'm still a little puzzled about the 1MB onchip L2, since 
low-latency ram at least partially obviates the need for it.

at the system level, AMD can now compete against Intel's agressive bandwidth
scaling (where the Athlon recently lagged) and has a clearly superior SMP
architecture (especially for >2-way). 

in my opinion, AMD will quickly realize that their CPU price ($794 for
opt/244(1800)) has to roughly match that of the Xeon/2.8 (pricewatch: $425),
since they're comparable in performance.  there's no reason AMD can't 
play $794 as an opening bid, to capitalize on the buzz and make a point
about being serious players.

I don't see any reason for a serious difference in prices of motherboards:
Intel's i7xxx Xeon chipsets are well-understood and perform well, but if
anything, Opteron boards should be cheaper, since the chipset has fewer 
responsibilities.

so for those of us looking at dual-CPU cluster bricks, $740 difference due 
to CPU price is a serious issue.  AMD can either let the prices slide or 
bump up the clocks (for which AMD has already paid the SOI price, as well
as the cost of a couple extra pipestages.)

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