Battle of the Quads: Intel eats AMD's "Frankenstein" for lunch (and spits it out)

Summary:Our boy George Ou who loves to talk hardware is all over several rounds of benchmark tests pitting Intel's 2.66 GHz quad-core QX6700 against AMD's new "4×4" Quad FX dual CPU.

Our boy George Ou who loves to talk hardware is all over several rounds of benchmark tests pitting Intel's 2.66 GHz quad-core QX6700 against AMD's new "4×4" Quad FX dual CPU. If there's one thing George knows how to do: it's kindle the passions of ZDNet's readers who often love him or hate him for what he writes (and sometimes, we get calls for his head on a platter!). Yesterday was no different when he characterized the contest betweens these two titans as a slaughter. It was no contest.  Here are some of the highlights of what George said:

  • From highly optimized multi-core applications like 3D rendering and Video encoding to single threaded applications like games the AMD Quad FX either lost by a little or it lost by a lot.  AMD had its best showing in 3D Studio Max by winning one of three rendering tests by a razor thin 1% margin though it still lost every other rendering test in 3D Studio Max.
  • AMD has hit a thermal brick wall with their 90 nm part while Intel's Core 2 overclocks like a dream.  The top of the line Intel QX6700 has an amazing 40% overclocking margin allowing the reining performance champ to gain an extra 40% performance.
  • From a power consumption standpoint, every benchmark showed the Quad FX PC drawing more than double the power of an Intel-based PC with the QX6700 quad core CPU....From a power consumption standpoint, the AMD Quad FX is a the Hummer of PCs without any of the performance benefits.  It just senselessly guzzles power while delivering inferior performance on every application......When I asked AMD about the massive power consumption, they said that the enthusiast doesn't care about power consumption which seems kind of hypocritical every time I drive down the freeway and and I see the AMD sign criticizing Intel for wasting billions of dollars in energy.
  • From a price standpoint, the Quad FX is priced competitively at $1000 for a pair of FX-74 dual core CPUs while a single Intel QX6700 quad core CPU costs $1000.  The QX6700 is in high demand so street prices are currently hovering around $1100.
  • AMD points out that this will usher in a new era of dual socket desktop PC computing though companies like Dell and Apple have been selling dual socket Intel PCs for months.  AMD points out that this is for the desktop market rather than the workstation or server market though I still don't understand what difference it makes other than the name we give it (DB comment: I couldn't agree more. This whole business of workstations vs. PCs is a sham).
  • The bottom line is that AMD has delivered a Frankenstein of a solution that guzzles a ton of power while delivering inferior performance.  I just don't know of any other way to describe the AMD Quad FX platform. 

Well. George of course has never been one to mince words and the discussion thread on his post is steaming hot. Here's a couple of comments that got my attention.  There are more than 60 others:

  • Actually if you look at the review posted on Anandtech, they showed that for certain benchmarks that are memory bound (like all the games they benchmarked), pulling one of the cpus out of the dual socket 4x4 board gives better results than using both dual core cpus. The issue is apparently with checking coherency of memory because there are 2 memory controllers with the 4x4 setup.
  • This article reads like an Intel press release...except without the restraint normally shown by Intel press releases.

Topics: Processors

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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