22nd > April > 2003 Archive

Real to acquire Listen.com

RealNetworks has gobbled up Listen.com for close to $36 million, the companies announced today. RealNetworks plans to add Listen.com's Rhapsody music subscription service to its own RealOne SuperPass service. The company wants to nab some of Listen.com's streaming and caching technology as well as its music and radio services to build out the tunes offered on SuperPass. RealNetworks helped keep the struggling Listen.com in business earlier this year with a cash infusion. It's been a rough journey for online music sellers. Subscription services have often failed to work as billed and don't have the same attractive pricing model of free P2P networks. Still, RealNetworks has gone a long way in improving its service and bringing more types of content online. The SuperPass system works significantly better now than it did at launch. The companies expect the transaction to close in the late second quarter or early third quarter. ®
Ashlee Vance, 22 Apr 2003
Broken CD with wrench

Sun salutes Opteron

Sun Microsystems paid lip service to AMD's Opteron processor with an announcement on Monday to provide a modicum of software support for the chip. Just ahead of the Opteron coming out party, Sun decided to put out a short statement, saying it will support 32-bit Solaris, Java and the Sun ONE software stack on AMD's new chip, if needed. The 32-bit Solaris part of that statement makes it clear that Sun does not intend to do any major engineering work on its applications to use Opteron's 64-bit extensions. It's easy for Sun to give AMD a little pat on the tush one day before the Opteron launch. Sun likes to take a shot at Intel wherever possible, so supporting AMD in its moment of truth makes sense. Despite rumors to the contrary, Sun does not appear to be readying Opteron-based servers of its own. Sun has a lucrative 64-bit franchise and does not need to give some upstart a hand. In addition, Sun has enough problems trying to bolster its Intel-based line of systems without throwing a new chip architecture into the mix. Solaris x86 does provide another operating system option for Opteron users, which is a plus since relatively few OSes will be present at the launch. ® Related Stories AMD: the 64-bit battle Windows comes to AMD Opteron Sun touts Opteron over Itanic
Ashlee Vance, 22 Apr 2003

Who am I when I'm mobile?

Two recent announcements highlight the difficulties and importance of authenticating just who has access to what data or services via a mobile network, writes Bloor Research's Rob Bamforth. Each adopts a different approach, coming from two different perspectives in the mobile data world. The IT perspective, and the telecoms perspective - the intelligent end point, or the intelligent network. First, does the device know who you are? With the announcement from Aladdin Knowledge Systems and Pointsec Mobile Technologies, comes a traditional 'security equals something you hold plus something you know' approach to authentication. This is directly equivalent to the card plus activation PIN number we're all familiar with, and the idea being that it's unlikely you will both lose the card, and give up your secret password or PIN. The difference of course with a mobile device like a laptop, is the network isn't always connected, and you still want to authenticate. In this case, the eToken from Aladdin combines with a secure screensaver Pointsec for PC, and the user is authenticated only if the eToken is in place, and the correct password supplied. There's no network communication, so the device is secured even when no network is present, or required. However there is a Remote Help function so that an administrator can help authorised users to regain access to their data if locked - but how do they know the user is who they say they are? So does the network know who you are? The announcement from Ericsson demonstrates the other side of mobile data security, from a telecom perspective. Here, Ericsson has announced support in the Ericsson Service Delivery Platform (ESDP) for the latest specifications from the Liberty Alliance. This Alliance, you may remember appeared as a response to Microsoft's Passport network identity management system, and Ericsson are a sponsor member, alongside companies such as Nokia, Novell, Sony and Sun. Project Liberty is all about creating, managing and authenticating online identities and brokering services based on information related to that identity. This type of authentication operates as a service on the network and relies on the connection being present. It encourages the use of open, federated identities across multiple service providers, whilst providing the users with a single point of sign on. While the initial noise from the Liberty Alliance revolved around Web Services, it's clear from membership and announcements like this, there is huge impact in the mobile data world. To make mobile data services operate like a utility will require identities to be managed seamlessly and efficiently. Of course the mobile data world is not made safe by a single product, but products and procedures acting together, backed up by law enforcement and even insurance. The network centric view of it as a utility is too simplistic, as the devices connected are too smart, too independent, too personal. The personal computer is inherently an insecure device. As enterprises move from desktops and fixed offices to laptops, PDAs and mobile networks the problems intensify. What becomes important is the ease in which mobile devices are made secure and services can be delivered to those who are entitled to receive them. Strong security is worthless is it's difficult to implement or use. Both the IT and Telecoms communities must talk closely and work together to ensure they combine the best of both worlds. © IT-Analysis.com
IT-Analysis, 22 Apr 2003

PC sales climb, Centrino builds slowly

Personal computer sales were better than expected in the first quarter, according to figures from Gartner, with mobile PCs expected to draw continued interest. Preliminary numbers from the research house showed that worldwide PC shipments rose 6 percent in the first quarter of 2003. The Gartner report, "Preliminary 1Q03 PC Market Results-Slightly Better than Expected," said that total shipments reached 34.5 million units. Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's computing platforms worldwide group, said the figures were slightly better than the researchers had expected but do not indicate a major upturn. Better sales were mostly fuelled by price cuts, and factors like the war in Iraq dampened performance at the end of March. Hewlett-Packard, which held on to the number one spot for PC shipments during 2002, is now firmly in second place behind industry leader Dell. While HP shipments fell nearly 6 percent over the previous year, Dell saw its worldwide shipments soar 24 percent over the same quarter in 2002 and attained nearly 17 percent market share. HP's market share is now 15.6 percent, and IBM is a distant third with 5.4 percent. Gartner said Dell performed particularly well in the UK, France, Germany and Japan, while HP suffered in the United States and EMEA regions. "The merger with Compaq continues to be a work in progress," Gartner wrote, but its analysts said they do see advances being made. The analysts said that interest is growing in mobile PCs, where sales are increasing faster than in the standard desktop PC segment. Gartner believes that tablet PCs and especially the launch of the Centrino mobile platform from Intel are drawing much more attention to mobile PCs, although Centrino is not yet a major factor in driving shipments. Smulders said that it will take time for the corporate market, which is the first target for sales of Centrino, to adopt and integrate the technology into enterprise IT systems. "The marketing campaign around Centrino, however, is raising general awareness of the benefits of wireless mobile form factors," Smulders said. Intel has undertaken a USD300 million advertising campaign to promote Centrino, which is being integrated into notebook computers to let people connect to the Internet or their corporate network without plugging in. Dell, IBM, HP, Toshiba and other major vendors have already introduced models that incorporate Centrino, and research firm IDC has predicted that within a year, most notebooks will ship with Centrino as standard. © ENN
ElectricNews.net, 22 Apr 2003

Nominet UK to charge for domain transfers

Nominet UK is to start charging punters £35 a time to transfer .uk domain names from one person or organisation to another. The .UK Registry insists the charge is being introduced to cover the administrative cost of transferring domain names. Up until now, the task - which includes a number of checks to ensure that any domain transfers are above board and legit - has been done free of charge. Now, though, the not-for-profit organisation says that with around 2,500 domain name transfers a month it can no longer shoulder the administrative cost. Said Lesley Cowley, MD of Nominet UK in a statement: "We take a lot of care to make sure that domain names are not transferred in error. "While this process creates additional work for Nominet, it is essential to preserve the integrity of the domain name system, the accuracy of the register database and the confidence of .uk domain name holders," she said. The new charge is due to be introduced from May 19. ®
Tim Richardson, 22 Apr 2003

Betfair.com scoops Queen's Award

An online bookie, which takes more than £50m in bets every week, has been honoured by the Queen for bringing gambling into the 21st Century. The Sporting Exchange, which trades as Betfair.com, picked up an award for "outstanding innovation in the sports betting market" in this year's Queen's Award for Enterprise. A spokesman for the Sporting Exchange was chuffed to bits with the top business award saying that it "adds significantly to [the company's] credibility". The Sporting Exchange - which employs technology developed for financial markets - was among 120 companies from all different sectors to receive the coveted recognition. Other techie winners include London-based Worth Global Style Network Ltd, which provides on-line information for the fashion and style industries. The subscription-based service was launched in 1998 and has seen overseas earnings treble over the last three years. Elsewhere, Security outfit mi2g Ltd also picked up an innovation award for its work in Internet security. As with all the winners, the award means that companies will be able to use the Queen's Award Emblem for five years. ®
Tim Richardson, 22 Apr 2003

Microsoft to license Windows ‘protocols’ to rivals

Microsoft yesterday agreed to release details of internal Windows protocols to competitors under license, as part of last year's anti-trust settlement. These protocols will be licensed "for the sole purpose of creating server software to interoperate or communicate with Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP and successor desktop operating systems", according to a statement by Microsoft. "With access to Microsoft Communication Protocols, licensees have new ways to achieve interoperability between their servers and covered Windows desktops," it added. Microsoft has promised to publish "virtually all information about the [protocol licensing] program, including sample license documents and brief summaries of each of the protocols, on a publicly accessible Web site that anyone can view". It said it hopes to reduce the initial cost of licensing its proprietary protocols, though the company makes no firm commitment on this point. However Microsoft's critics argue the anti-trust settlement - which the protocol licensing program form a small part of - is an ineffectual remedy to Redmond's monopolistic behaviour. Ken Wasch, head of the Software & Information Industry Association, told Reuters that even though he welcomed signs that the anti-trust agreement was being enforced it "will do little to restore the competitive damage that Microsoft's anti-competitive actions did to the software industry." When the idea was mooted a year ago, joint-lead of the Samba project Jeremy Allison told us that a published specification was of no use at all:- "There can't be a specification that's worth anything," he told us. "The source code itself is the specification . The level of detail required to interoperate successfully is simply not documentable - it would produce a stack of paper so high you might as well publish the source code." ® Related Story Why Microsoft's EU 'concession' is no concession at all
John Leyden, 22 Apr 2003

Itanic cluster to shake up oil exploration

Intel has come good (at least in part) with its claims that the latest version of Itanium would shake up the server market. No we're not referring to sales figures for Itanic, which remain subdued, but news that Itanium 2-based systems are to be used in BP's seismic research facility. Based in Houston, BP's advanced seismic research centre now includes a high-performance computing cluster of 259 HP rx5670 systems featuring more than 1,000 Itanium 2 processors and 8000 GB of memory. The combined system, running under Linux, boasts peak performance of four teraflops. BP has added the system to its existing server resources to increase the speed at which the company can analyse complex seismic imaging data. Collecting and making sense of this data is an important part of oil and gas exploration. "To achieve the most cost-effective and productive drilling procedure, we have to gather massive sets of seismic data and analyse them quickly and accurately," said Keith Gray, manager of BP's HPC centre. "The combination of HP Itanium 2-based servers running Linux and software tools and services from Intel and HP gives us the power to produce better-defined results in a fraction of the time." ® Related Stories Windows on Itanic Tanglewood: the next Itanium revealed HP talks scalable for Itanium 2 chipset, dualie module Intel rewrites Itanium roadmap Do not feed, poke or disturb the Itanic user
John Leyden, 22 Apr 2003

Nvidia targets workstation market with nForce 3 Pro

Nvidia has released its third-generation nForce chipset, targeted at AMD's Opteron chip and its first official move into the professional graphics workstation systems arena. The company already offers pro graphics chips in the shape of its Quadro range. With the Opteron handling memory control, the nForce 3 Pro is essentially a glorified South Bridge chip with an AGP 8x controller thrown in. While past nForce chipset components talked to each other across a HyperTransport bus, the single-chip nForce 3 uses the same bus to communicate directly with the host processor. In addition to AGP 8x support, nForce 3 provides RAID 0 and 1 - providing disk striping and disk mirroring, respectively - separately or in parallel. RAID works with both ATA-133 and Serial ATA drives, though the latter won't by supported until Q3. ATA support is provided by the nForce 3 Pro 150, which is shipping today. It offers three Ultra ATA-133 interfaces. Serial ATA will come with the Pro 250, due in the autumn, presumably to tap into the arrival of Opterons for uni-processor workstations - itself awaiting the arrival of the Athlon 64 in September - not to mention the greater availability of Serial ATA hard drives. The Pro 250 will offer four Serial ATA ports and two ATA-133 interfaces. The new chipset also supports a number of technologies sported by earlier nForce parts, including AC 97, PCI, USB 2.0, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and the StreamThru data stream prioritisation system. The Pro 250 chipset will also offer Gigabit Ethernet, providing two ports. Both nForce 3 chipsets will be fabbed at 0.15 micron. Nvidia also announced that 16 systems builders have signed up to offer nForce 3 Pro-based Opteron workstations: @Xi, Alienware, Angstrom Microsystems, BOXX Technologies, Colfax International, Concordia Graphics, Core Microsystems, DigitalScape, Einux, Hypersonic PC, Max Black, MaxVision, NTSI, Polywell, Si Computer Italy and Sys Technology. Most of them, it has to be said, are the usual suspects - vendors who've been offering AMD-based workstations for some time, and for whom nForce 3 marks a natural - and now official - upgrade from nForce 2. In addition, Nvidia said it had signed Asustek to offer nForce 3 Pro-based mobos, which are now sampling - presumably with units going to the above hardware vendors. ®
Tony Smith, 22 Apr 2003

Newisys readies Opteron gear

Newisys Inc. is "the other company" betting its future on AMD's new Opteron chip and, as promised, the company unveiled its server on the big launch day. The two-processor Newisys 2100 is the first server to roll out of the Austin-based company's doors. The system ships with two, hot-swap hard drives, dual embedded gigabit Ethernet ports, two PCI slots and a built-in service processor with its own 10/100 Ethernet connection. As with any kit based on Opteron, users receive a combination 32-bit and 64-bit machine. Those who love and adore Pentiums and Xeons have a new choice in the 32-bit server processor market, while others willing to gamble on freshly recompiled code can pick up extra memory addressability with the 64-bit extensions. There are no real surprises with the server, as Newisys has been showing demo models of the box for some time. There was, however, some disappointment felt when Newisys revealed its final list of OEMs planning to ship a 2100-based system. For many months now, reporters have flirted with the idea that Newisys would have either IBM or Dell signed up on launch day. Former IBM executives fill the Newisys management ranks, and ex-Dell workers have flocked to the company as well. These ties helped foment the notion that this little company deep in the heart of Texas could tempt a big name to go the Opteron way. Michael Dell put some of the speculation about his company's moves to rest, handing out an emphatic "No" to Newisys in an interview earlier this year. This left IBM as the big question. Newisys executives would never confirm that a deal with IBM had been completed, but like any good start-up they supplied an endless stream of OEM innuendos. Their hints at a possible agreement made reporters froth at the mouth and swat speculation back and forth between themselves. Well, here you have it. IBM plans to start selling an Opteron-based system in the second half of this year, but says it's making the servers on its own. This should come as no great shock given IBM's penchant for controlling much of its server design. IBM has a tense relationship with Intel over the Itanium 2 processor and is yet to ship a system based on the chip, which was announced last Summer. Unlike Itanium, however, Opteron does not challenge IBM's Power RISC business. AMD bills Opteron as the Xeon killer, and IBM appreciates anything that keeps a little pressure on Intel. Jack Steeg, a senior vice president at Newisys, said the company is still in talks with IBM and that it may yet have some surprises in store when Big Blue finally brings a system to market. Newisys has a 4 processor system coming later this year, which could tempt IBM. In the meantime, Newisys is left with a host of smaller channel partners to ship its systems and package them with software. ®
Ashlee Vance, 22 Apr 2003

White House cybersecurity czar resigns. Again

Former Microsoft security chief Howard Schmidt has resigned as White House cybersecurity advisor, just weeks into his new role. Schmidt took over the job from his much-criticised predecessor, Richard Clarke, in February. He is leaving at the end of this month to work in the private sector. In a resignation letter, Schmidt said that many of the functions of his job had been taken over by President Bush's newly-created Homeland Security Department. A successor to Schmidt is yet to be named. Cyber alarmists are bemoaning the apparently diminished importance attached to IT security issues in White House thinking. "We are concerned that the cybersecurity issue is losing visibility inside the White House," Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, told CNN. "In this case, the 'bully pulpit' opportunity to influence the development of a truly secure cyber infrastructure and associated best practices will be lost." Which roughly translated amounts to: If people in the government aren't talking up the threat of Internet meltdown or worse, the sales might be lost. ® Related Stories Slim pickings for cybersecurity in DHS budget Bye, cyberczar Clarke - thanks for everything Of mad snipers and cyber- terrorists Ex-Microserf Schmidt as govt cyberterror Cassandra
John Leyden, 22 Apr 2003

AMD launches Opteron

UpdateUpdate It should have been here nearly 18 months ago, but AMD finally got its Opteron dual 32-bit/64-bit server processor out the door today, launching the chip formerly known as Sledgehammer at a flash bash in New York City. AMD has three Opterons on offer, with the promise of more to come. Today's launch centred on the 240, 242 and 244, all aimed at dual-processor systems (hence the '2'), but AMD expects to get the 840, 842 and 844, for systems with up to eight CPUs, to market next month. A chip for uni-processor machines, the 144, is coming too, but won't ship until Q3. Each Opteron contains its own DDR SDRAM controller, handling 200, 266 and 333MHz memory clock frequencies. The chip also features an on-die HyperTransport interface, capable of maintaining three 6.4GBps coherent links. Interestingly, one difference between the Athlon 64 and the Opteron is the number of HT links supported: Athlon 64 supports only one. All the Opterons are based on 0.13 micron silicon-on-insulator technology. Even so, the die contains around 105.9 million transistors - many of them providing the 1MB of L2 cache - all crammed into a 193mm squared area. That's large, and with clock speeds reaching 1.8GHz (the 244) and a 1.55V core voltage, Opteron pumps out up to 89W. The Athlon 64 should run rather more coolly. Head of AMD's processor business, Dirk Meyer, said that chip will have a die size under 120mm squared - probably due to reduced L2 cache, we'd imagine. Certainly AMD needs to do something to get the size down if it's to get the parts into mobile systems, as it has promised. Ditto high-density servers, which is why we believe we're having to wait so long for the Opteron 144 - almost certainly it will use the same approaches utilised to shrink the Athlon 64. By then we should also see a native, 64-bit version of Windows for the chip. Windows Server 2003 will support 32-bit operation on the Opteron at launch, but a 64-bit version won't ship until the summer, and then only as a beta release, Microsoft said today. Linux users are better placed: SuSE has 64-bit Opteron support available now, as does Mandrake and Turbolinux. NetBSD support comes via Wasabi. Applications now supporting Opteron's 64-bit mode include Computer Associates' Advantage Ingres RDBMS and IBM's DB2. Oracle is on its way too. Pricing for the three chips available today is $794, $690 and $283, for the 244, 242 and 240, respectively. AMD will continue to offer the Athlon MP, but versions below the 2000+ have been discontinued. ®
Tony Smith, 22 Apr 2003

Microsoft issues Office 2k reg. bug patch

Microsoft has posted a patch to remedy the registration bug that has plagued Office 2000 users in some of the world's biggest organisations since 15 April. The bug invokes Office's Registration Wizard, even if the user has already registered the product, typically through the purchase of a Select Customer volume licence. In many cases, the bug is merely annoying, forcing the user to get rid of an unwanted window. In some cases, dismiss the window too often and Office ceases to function, or enters what Microsoft calls "Reduced Functionality Mode". The only way to get it back is to register the software with Microsoft. The patch, available here, is offered in a number of forms, for a variety of Office configurations. "We believe that the fix should address all cases where Office 2000 users are receiving registration prompts," Microsoft said in a statement. "Any users who get the unexpected prompt may dismiss the dialogue box and continue working." ® Related Stories Office 2000 SR-1 registration bug strikes corporates Office 2k reg. bug in code used to block registrations Related Link Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 818798: Office 2000 Prompts You to Register After April 15, 2003
Tony Smith, 22 Apr 2003

Mac show gets Macworld moniker back

First it was Macworld Expo. Then it was Create. Now, less than a month after organiser IDG renamed its summer show for Mac users, it has restyled the event again. Now it's Macworld Creative Pro. Clearly Create didn't cut the mustard with the Mac user base who make up the vast majority, if not all, of the show's attendees. You don't change the name of a show as big as Macworld Expo without seriously pondering the strength of the alternatives. But it looks like whoever decided that Create was the way to go got it wrong. IDG hasn't explained exactly why it changed the name a second time, but did say in a statement: "The name change further defines the event's focus on the needs of creative professionals, as well as consumers who want to develop more advanced skills in the creative arts." In short, it's narrowing the focus back on the Mac market and again leveraging the strong Macworld brand. Perhaps IDG also recalled the fate of eMedia Weekly, the rebranded MacWeek newspaper. Published by... er... IDG, eMedia Weekly was christened to appeal to the growing number of creative types using PCs not Macs. Alas Mac users were not amused, and the once mighty organ soon folded. It's tempting to see Create suffering a similar backlash in the weeks since IDG announced the show's new direction. Like Spinal Tap's ill-fated excursion into freeform jazz, IDG's move to drop the Mac branding can't have played well with the fans. It certainly can't have been a result of objections from Apple. While the Mac maker has made its disapproval of the show's planned shift from New York to Boston, and canned CEO Steve Jobs traditional Macworld Expo New York keynote, it nevertheless gave its official blessing for the Create name-change. There's another possibility. Stone Software has long held a trademark for its 14-year-old NeXT-now-Mac OS X graphics app, Create. Of course, a show and a piece of software are two very different beasts, but the potential for a clash is there. Certainly Stone's blog entry dated 22 April 2003 claimes that "IDG 'gracefully' backed down from trying to hijack the name for their expo in NYC" and refers to "large lawyers". An earlier post mentions Stone's access to "the best patent attorneys in DC". Unfortunately, however, neither side would comment further. ® Related Story Macworld Expo renamed Create as Apple touts WWDC
Tony Smith, 22 Apr 2003

Like a virgin – Madonna hacked for the very first time

Madonna's role as the material girl placed her in a spot of trouble this weekend when the pop star's Web site started doling out free song files from her new album. A hacker decided to take revenge on Madonna after she flooded P2P networks with fake music files from her "American Life" album. Madonna had apparently laced the fake tracks with loops of her saying, "What the fuck do you think you are doing?" The hacker scored a minor victory against Madonna by breaking into her site over the weekend and posting all of the tracks from "American Life" for download. According to The Smoking Gun, the site went offline after the attack and remained down for close to 15 hours. The hacker also left a message for Madonna saying, "This is what the fuck I think am doing." Neither Madonna nor her music label cohorts seem to have mastered the art of fan relations just yet. Swearing at your most loyal and eager audience ranks right up there with filing lawsuits against college students and launching attacks against our armed forces. It's also on par with making new CDs as difficult to open as possible, bound as they are with glue and cellophane. This is not an industry run by men and women with any love of music. Times must be tough for the one-time pop queen. She stared as Amber in the film "Swept Away," but few were able to judge her performance as a torrent of damning reviews ensured moviegoers stayed at home. More recently, Madonna prepped a vitriolic music video meant to depict her firm stance on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The diva, however, decided to pull a scene with a grenade landing in George Bush's lap. This change of heart has the mainstream press calling for her head. ®
Ashlee Vance, 22 Apr 2003

VIA unveils Opteron-optimised K8T400M chipset

VIA today joined Nvidia and AMD itself and launched a chipset designed to support the new Opteron 64-bit processor. VIA's Apollo K8T400M is a two-chip product, that's essentially a modified version of VIA's KT400A, adding HyperTransport to the North Bridge to allow it to communicate with the CPU. The connection to the South Bridge, VIA's regular VT8237, operates over the company's established 1.06GBps V-Link bus. By contrast, Nvidia's nForce 3 Pro Opteron-oriented chipset is a single-chip solution that adds the AGP controller, typically part of the North Bridge, to the South Bridge. Each Opteron contains its own DDR memory controller - the other key North Bridge component. The K8T400M North Bridge can connect to two Opterons, and provides an AGP 8x bus for graphics. The VT8237 provides dual-channel Serial ATA supporting RAID 0, 1 and 0+1; dual-channel ATA-133; support for up to eight USB 2.0 ports; VIA's Vinyl six-channel surround sound audio system; 10/100Mbps Ethernet; PCI support; and an MC 97 modem. AMD's own 8000-series chipsets centre on the 8111 I/O Hub, which connects to the Opteron's HyperTransport bus. The family includes the 8131 PCI-X tunnel and the 8151 AGP 3.0 tunnel. ® Related Stories Nvidia targets workstation market with nForce 3 Pro AMD launches Opteron
Tony Smith, 22 Apr 2003

Opteron zings through server benchmarks

Bored with Opteron yet? The best has yet to come. Ace's Hardware has been putting the new 64bit processor through its paces with Windows 2000, SuSE and Debian flavors of Linux in a head-to-head with Intel's Xeon processor. And the results are intriguing. Although Intel's venerable Xeon holds the edge in workstation performance, in the server tests AMD's chip wins eight out of twelve head-to-head comparisons. Excluding Microsoft SQL benchmarks, it wins 8:1. Which in footballing terms, would be considered a "heavy defeat", with home supporters calling for the manager's head. However, this is early days, concludes Ace's:- "The introduction of a NUMA aware, 64bit OS, better compilers, and 64bit drivers should all boost performance. And there is no reason to believe that AMD will be limited to 1.8 GHz this year. Once the circuit engineers get the knack of SOI circuitry design, and there are reports showing that they already have, they should be able to get a lot more clockspeed out of the Opteron than they have out of the Athlon. The slightly longer but more balanced pipeline and SOI should take care of that and push the Opteron past 2.2 GHz and more." We note that none of the benchmarks use more than 2GB of memory, and the large address space offered by 64 bittyness is one of Opteron's selling points. You can read the results here. AMD has its own benchmarks here.® Related Stories AMD launches Opteron - speeds n' feeds VIA unveils Opteron-optimised K8T400M chip Newisys readies Opteron gear - channel angle Sun salutes Opteron Freds and threads know AMD's Hammer Hammer momentum leaving Itanic stranded AMD's Sanders knows nothing about anything, claim States
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Apr 2003