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Intel's Paxville: too slow, too hot, too dumb

Opteron killer - back to the drawing board?

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Don't look. Hot Carl just melted my box

Having a dual-core chip on the market will hopefully stop the Wall Street Journal and New York Times from writing that Intel trails AMD with dual-core chip technology. Those papers aren't going to describe the differences between dual-core designs. So that's a major victory at least from a marketing and investor point of view. Shareholders don't like to read negative copy about their companies in such respected papers.

On the other hand, you have publications such as GamePC actually testing these chips and showing that even the fastest Opteron (2.4GHz) consumes less power than the slowest Xeon (2.4GHz). This wouldn't be such a big deal if the fastest Xeon (2.8GHz) could crank software at a much quicker clip than Opteron.

But it can't.

The Opteron chips trounced the Xeons in every benchmark conducted by GamePC. In many cases, the worst performing Opteron part beat the best performing Xeon.

The reviews site diplomatically spun the results:

"Intel's 'Paxville' Dual Core Xeon processors can provide a much needed performance boost in applications which are designed to take advantage of a lot of processors and run a lot of simultaneous threads. Namely, server and high-end workstation class applications. In applications which can fully make use of its abilities, these new Xeon processors can push some solid performance numbers and crunch through code fairly fast."

Fine. And...?

"The amount of processing power with two of these Xeons is pretty impressive; however, all this processing power does come at a cost.

"Intel's new dual-core Xeon consumes the most power of any processors we've seen to date, and also runs exceedingly hot, both negative qualities for a processor which is designed for the server space. In addition, the chip is also not compatible with older Socket-604 platforms, meaning you will have to drop an additional $400-$500 on a new dual-core Xeon compatible platform, which will be a painful purchase if you've already got a Socket-604 Xeon system up and running today, and want to upgrade to dual-core processor. In addition, as of today, there are no motherboards on the market available to purchase which will support these new processors, which certainly will put a damper on any prospective buyers."

Oh. Surely, it's not that bad.

"Unfortunately, even a solid platform can't help Intel's performance numbers, as their new dual-core chips (while powerful in their own right) simply are bested across the board by AMD's dual-core Opteron processors. Even worse, the Opterons typically perform much better while running at slower clock speeds and only having half the amount of on-die L2 cache to utilize. AMD's chips also consume far less power and run quite a bit cooler, giving AMD an edge on nearly all fronts."

Yipes. Back to the labs, boys.®

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