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.
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?