AMD Claims Quad-Core "Barcelona" will outperform Intel "Clovertown" by 40%

AMD Claims Quad-Core "Barcelona" will outperform Intel "Clovertown" by 40%

Summary: When AMD launch the Barcelona processors at some point mid 2007, it is claiming that the chips will outperform Intel's Clovertown processors by 40%. Bold claims, but will the benchmarks support this claim?

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TOPICS: Processors
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When AMD launch the Barcelona processors at some point mid 2007, it is claiming that the chips will outperform Intel's Clovertown processors by 40%.  Bold claims, but will the benchmarks support this claim?

Intel is eager to claw back some of the server market share from AMD, and this is where Clovertown comes in.  Clovertown is the codename for Intel's latest quad-core Xeon 5300 line.  The Xeon 5300 line will represent excellent value for money since Intel plans on pricing them the same as its dual core Xeon 5100 processors.  That could make things tough for AMD.

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However, AMD isn't sitting still.  Their native quad core 65nm processors, codenamed Barcelona, are due for release later this year and rather than concentrate on price, AMD are instead emphasizing performance. 

According to AMD's corporate vice president for server and workstation products, Randy Allen, AMD expects "Barcelona to outperform Clovertown by 40 percent."  AMD achieve this performance while maintaining a thermal and electrical envelope identical to existing dual core Opteron processors.

While Intel went for a design that crammed two dual-core processors into a single package, AMD have built all four cores onto a single die.  Barcelona will be a Socket F processor and will be compatible with existing Socket F motherboards after a BIOS flash.

Intel's worked wonders in the desktop market with their Core 2 Duo processors and has managed to make almost every AMD processor obsolete (although the price war between the two companies hasn't been good for either of them - but it has been good for consumers).  Intel now hopes it can repeat that success in the enterprise market. 

Should AMD be worried about Intel's aggressive Clovertown pricing or will Barcelona protect their server market share?

Topic: Processors

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  • AMD vs Intel

    Should Intel be worried? Nope! Should AMD be worried about Intel? Nope!

    As long as both of these companies keep doing what they are doing, they will both be fine. The competition is doing two things. First, it is keeping prices down where us mere mortals can afford them. Second, it is pushing the envelopes of the technology at a decent pace.

    This is good for both the manufacture and the consumer. Intel used to be the "Microsoft" of processors. With the emergence of AMD, this is no longer the case. And the competition keeps both processor manufacturers honest. They will keep trying to one-up each other, and we will keep getting faster, more efficient processors as a result. Can anybody see anything bad in that scenario? I sure can't.

    I have used both processor technologies without bias. My only complaint has been the heat level of AMD processors, but they have resolved that issue. When I go shopping for my next processor, the only real consideration I will have is which equivalent processor is the least expensive at the time.
    kelmblade01
    • You are right.

      Bottom line is that they are the two top CPU manufacturers and to imply that either one of them may be in serious trouble is to say that there is really only room for one CPU manufacturer, and that is highly unlikely.

      The fact is that at any given point either company may be making better profit, or increasing or decreasing profit at a faster or slower rate, but to say that either one should be seriously worried or in trouble...that would be as bad for the public in the long run as it would be for the company in question.
      Cayble
  • Intel chips are OK for two processor systems

    Intel has been targeting the two processor market for as long as I can remember. They are doing well in the two core systems. There is prcessor/memory botleneck when more than two processors are involved.

    On the other hand processors relying on point-to-point links (such as Hypertransport) are scalable.

    It seems to me that Intel wants to finish one thing at a time: re-gain lost share in the 2 processor market and then play it by ear.

    As for Barcelona, we should see how it stacks up vs clovertown.
    Dr-T
  • AMD better deliver, but highly unlikely

    AMD is setting themselves up for embarrassment for making bold claims of 40% general per improvement. I give them credit for risk taking but this is marketing at its best.

    AMD will likely do 40% on floating point and very narrow (like 1-2) set of benchmarks. The market would crucify Intel for this claim but forgives AMD for making these claims.

    Let's face it. Barcelona has smaller L2 cache's - by ALOT, and latency into L3 cache. More imporantantly, they Barcelon issues fewer instructions per clock than Core 2. Unless they have some blue crystals from Venus, this is a scandalous claim by a company backed into a tough corner.

    We shall see how that 40% plays out and against *what* Intel processor.
    Prognosticator
  • Intel Design = Half Assed

    I firmly believe that AMD can achieve this performance with their quad core server processor. Intel slapped 2 dual core processors in one package and called it quad core, where AMD likes to do things the right way even though it may take more time.
    Either way with features like an integrated memory controller the AMD processors are more scalible. Test have shown that as you add AMD processors to Servers the performance lead grows over that of a similar Intel solution.
    bobiroc
    • And yet it beats AMD hands down.

      Run along, no one cares about supposed vaproware. Be sure to call if and when AMD actually has something for sale.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Vaporware?

        So you rather buy a chip design from a company that just threw it together primarily for bragging rights? Intel finally comes to the plate with a decent product with their "core" generation of processors and the Intel Fanboys jump all over them like a needy girlfriend. Nevermind the past 3 - 5 years with the substandard pentium 4 and their XEONs which doubled as easy bake ovens.

        Me I rather wait a bit for it to be done the right way, but thats just me. AMD is no fool.
        bobiroc
        • SHEER NONSENSE.

          I like AMD processors, but they are not my wife and I wont concoct nonsense like you have to defend their currently inferior performance. I have no allegiance to hardware, best bang for the buck is the rule. I like most people who have REAL WORK to get done cannot wait around for AMD to attempt to "get it right" as you say when Intel has it as right as it can be already.
          Cayble
          • Its not Nonsense

            My point is that when AMD led Intel for all those years Intel was held on a pedestal as being the Almighty Intel. AMD had the better design and many companies and reviews trounced on them. My dislike for Intel stems back many years ago before the first Athlon working as tech in the retail world where Intel would come in for product training and basically tell us to tell customers that AMD was inferior. This continued after the Athlon was released (obviously) and still continues today. So all I am saying is that since the release of Intel's "Core" technology generation of processors they have been held up as godlike in the semiconductor world. I still think AMD offers exceptional value for the money and I do believe AMD is still the better choice in servers with 4+ Processor cores.
            bobiroc
    • AMD likes to do things right?? Sure.

      Look, your nonsense claims are like saying that any company likes "to do things right" when the performance figures still put them behind. Sure, AMD has been making fine processors for a long time now, but implying that Intel does not do things right is crap. Intel certainly hasn't always made the best CPU, and AMD has at times made the best CPU. But this nonsense about "getting it right" is crap. I don't know where you live but where I live the Intel P4's were quite a bite cheaper then most AMD's last year so even if they were not the best they were the cheapest, and for many people I know that was "right".

      So try some honest opinion as opposed to the "I Love AMD" opinion that works to exclude any useful purpose for an Intel processor beyond a door stop. Your comments as currently given are nothing close to credible due to the fact that you have implied that Intel cant get it right and therefore is never a reasonable solution for many peoples CPU needs, and thats incorrect, to say otherwise would be a lie.
      Cayble
    • did I miss something?

      I like AMD and Intel both and think they both are very good manufactures and would never make a claim about them not doing "things the right way" like you did.

      Can you even backup any of your comments with something other than your opinion?

      You said that Intel "slapped 2 dual core processors in one package and called it quad core" and that is not the right way. What about AMD's QuadFX (aka 4x4) platform that AMD is calling multi-core? It is two physical processors on the same motherboard and not even on the same package like Intel's first gen. quad-core.

      You also said that the integrated memory controller on the AMD processors make them more scalable but I think that you meant the HyperTransport bus on the processors make them more scalable because of the lack of a front-side bus like the Intel's have.

      AMD's current "Quad-Core" isn't looking very impressive against Intel's so we will have to see what happens with the Opterons later. AMD's VP of Servers says that these benchmarks are "projected" which means they haven't actually benchmarked them yet. A quick search on Google shows that no one is impressed with AMD's QuadFX which is almost identical to the Opteron platform and some show that running a single processor AMD benchmarks better than when the second processor is installed.

      Here are a few interesting things to read about "AMD doing things right"

      http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2065493,00.asp
      http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061130-8327.html
      http://xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-quad-fx.html
      http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2066239,00.asp
      http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/ZDM/story?id=2693130
      http://www.hothardware.com/viewarticle.aspx?page=5&articleid=911
      http://swik.net/QuadFx
      jtechsystems
  • ok as long as the playing field is indeed level

    I agree, as long as everything else is the playing field is level.

    What could upset the aboe argument is when Intel uses its might
    in other areas besides processor architecture. Consider the ff:

    - Intel has 10 or so fabs while AMD has only around 2. Even if AMD had the better architecture, it is supply constrained. Intel doesn't have such issues, and can quickly ramp up a superior design to flood the marketplace. They've done so with Core 2 Duo, and AMD took a significant hit to maintain price/performance parity by drastically lowering prices.

    - Intel is a much, much bigger company than AMD. Intel has more financial resources, more co-op ad money, etc. Intel could simply drop prices if it so manted, to drive
    rosanlo
  • ok as long as the playing field is indeed level

    I agree, as long as everything else is the playing field is level.

    What could upset the aboe argument is when Intel uses its might
    in other areas besides processor architecture. Consider the ff:

    - Intel has 10 or so fabs while AMD has only around 2. Even if AMD had the better architecture, it is supply constrained. Intel doesn't have such issues, and can quickly ramp up a superior design to flood the marketplace. They've done so with Core 2 Duo, and AMD took a significant hit to maintain price/performance parity by drastically lowering prices.

    - Intel is a much, much bigger company than AMD. Intel has more financial resources, more co-op ad money, etc. Intel could simply drop prices if it so manted, increase co-op dollars
    (The "Intel Inside" and "Centrino" campaigns come to mind)
    and spend gazillions in advertising to make consumers, who
    might not know better, demand Intel inside. The only things
    that prevent Intel from doing so are the federal government
    and PC enthusiasts, who would lambast Intel if it resorted to
    such predatory tactics. Several times in the past, Intel has
    pushed AMD to the edge of bankruptcy.

    - process technology. Yes, AMD might have a superior architecture team, but Intel is unrivaled in process technology.
    AMD needs IBM's and the world's help to even stay several
    steps behind Intel. Intel is unmatched in process technology,
    and is about 1-1/2 generations ahead of AMD, IBM, and everyone
    else in getting the feature size down, and using larger wafers. More features and bigger wafers = lower cost of CPU production = higher wafer yields = more CPUs produced. Intel has converted all its wafer fabs to smaller feature size.

    AMD needs to seize and maintain a defensible market share.
    It can't afford more than a handful of mistakes.
    rosanlo
    • WTFlip?!?

      Let's not talk about the Dressden Fab because arguably, you may be right on process technology --in and of itself-- but....

      AMD chips are much smaller and uses fewer transistors per chip therefore requiring smaller waffers per capita chips. Smaller chips = lower cost of CPU production = higher waffer yields = more CPU produced.

      The size of the waffer is not the only variable to consider neither is the size of the CPU. It's the motion of the ocean ;-)

      AMD has fewer errors per capita CPU on each waffer at there Dressden fab than any other fab including Intel's.

      AMD has several fabs, none running on full capacity so increasing production is easy and inexpensive. AMD supply issues --if any-- lie with the distributors and Intel's marketing schemes, not the AMD fabs.

      ...And when did AMD ever go to the edge of bankruptcy?
      Logics
      • I'm just curious

        with the statement

        [i]AMD has fewer errors per capita CPU on each waffer at there Dressden fab than any other fab including Intel's[i/]

        How do you know? I have not read that anywhere.
        John Zern
  • Big claims, day late and dollar short

    Yes, and someday Tranmetta is going to replace everything else. Uh huh, sure it will.

    I guess AMD thinks that Intel is doing nothing between now and when/if Bacelona is released. That seems to me like both a foolish and dangerous assumption.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • You must think

      And you must think AMD is sitting quietly letting Intel regain their ground.

      It is not an "if" statement. I have never known AMD not to deliver on their product. They remain true to their roadmaps and thier press releases. I can't say the same for Intel on many occasions.
      bobiroc
      • Great. Fine. Good. F$%&# Marvelous

        You go ahead and wait. I like you am positive that given some time AMD will regain the ground they have lost, but I, unlike you don't sit around waiting for tomorrow when I need a new CPU today. I get the best I can afford and last year it was AMD, today its Intel. And that remains true as of today no matter what you say.
        Cayble
        • Well this is America

          Well good for you, I am glad. Thats the beauty of this country is that we have a choice.
          bobiroc
    • Tit for tat...

      Every time AMD chips outperform Intel chips, you hear the same claims coming from Intel evangelists. This is what they get paid to do...talk about how much faster their upcoming chips are going to be and how they'll trounce the completition. It's just a big game of leapfrog. This month Intel is on top, next month it'll be AMD, the next it'll be Intel again. If you think that either company will be doing nothing between releases, you're an idiot.
      jasonp@...