[Update 9:05PM - TGDaily is reporting that Barcelona might be delayed till September. This is devastating news for AMD if true because Intel's 45nm Penryn CPUs are due towards the end of this year.]
CPU analyst and expert David Kanter just posted his in-depth article on AMD Barcelona and if the manufacturing permits it, AMD's Barcelona has the potential to smash Intel's quad-core chips. Based on the article, "The device described at ISSCC was targeted at 2.2-2.8GHz at 1.15V, while operating within a 95W maximum thermal envelope." Kanter explained to me that the information presented at the ISSCC refers to the electrical capabilities of the "taped out" Barcelona chip and added:
I think what the information at ISSCC means is that AMD can produce a product at the claimed frequency and max TDP envelope. Whether they choose to do so is a strategic decision that will take into account manufacturing, marketing, PR and other factors. Yields will be the key issue, and given what Hector has said, it seems clear that they won't have huge quantities of Barcelona out till next year.
I later clarified with Kanter that Hector Ruiz strongly implied that quantities of Barcelona won't be high until next year since he has said that Barcelona won't make that big of a financial impact this year. So it isn't really clear if 2.8 GHz at 95W TDP will be the launching product or if that's what AMD will eventually aim for in an actual product. This does mean that Barcelona will at least keep AMD competitive in the near term if they can actually deliver the yields in a timely fashion.
AMD has publicly claimed a 20% advantage over an Intel quad-core "Clovertown" server product "at the same frequency" for Integer performance. If we accept this 20% clock-for-clock claim, it means AMD will need to deliver a Barcelona server product that exceeds 2.5 GHz to claim the speed crown over an Intel 3.0 Clovertown quad-core CPU. The current rumors for Barcelona's actual launch speed is anywhere from 2.4 and 2.8 GHz. If AMD actually pulls off a 2.8 GHz Barcelona launch, it will be a massive victory for AMD. The timing will be critical since Intel will be launching its next generation 45nm high-K dielectric Penryn processors around the end of the year and the preproduction parts are already clocking in at 3.33 GHz with some shocking performance numbers. Ramping up Barcelona's clock speed as quickly as possible will be critical to AMD's success both in the server and desktop space.
AMD has been hyping Barcelona by publicly saying that it will "knock Intel dead" or that it will "clobber" Intel's quad-core product. That means AMD had better deliver the goods or else it will be a huge embarrassment. With the competitive nature of the server market, it's very unlikely that AMD will have the luxury of holding back their highest clock rates if manufacturing permits.