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AMD Intel Linux Business Hardware

EM64T Xeon vs. Athlon 64 under Linux (AMD64) 313

Posted by Hemos
from the pressing-the-limits-of-the-machines dept.
legrimpeur writes "Anandtech has a nice performance comparison under Linux (AMD64) between the recently introduced 3.6GHz EM64T Xeon processor and an Athlon 64 3500+. It is disappointing to see how the Athlon gets trounced in FPU intensive benchmarks. No memory-bound benchmarks (where the Athlon is supposed to have an edge) are presented, though." Update: 08/09 23:34 GMT by T : As the Inquirer reports, many Anandtech readers take issue with the comparison.
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EM64T Xeon vs. Athlon 64 under Linux (AMD64)

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  • whoa (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:37AM (#9919966)
    i almost cared just then, for a second
  • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:38AM (#9919973) Homepage
    The editors of Slashdot seem to love posting articles whose sole purpose is to evoke flame wars between Intel fans and AMD fans.

    For what it's worth, I read the article and the processors seemed pretty well matched except for some "synthetic" benchmarks. I don't know much about the synthetic benchmarks that they used, but I have found that synthetic benchmarks are almost always biased in Intel's favor. Do synthetic benchmark writers optimize for Intel accidentally or is there some kind of conspiracy going on here? You be the judge.

    Finally, to try to balance out the article submitter's inflammatory comments about the Athlon being "trounced in FPU intensive benchmarks", here is a nice paragraph from the article summary:

    "That's not to say that the Xeon CPU necessarily deserves excessive praise just yet. At time of publication, our Xeon processor retails for $850 and the Athlon 3500+ retails for about $500 less. Also, keep in mind that the AMD processor is clocked 1400MHz slower than the 3.6GHz Xeon. With only a few exceptions, the 3.6GHz Xeon outperformed our Athlon 64 3500+, whether or not the cost and thermal issues between these two processors are justifiable."

    Obviously they are not comparing processors which have price parity, so one could spin this either as "look at how slow the Athlon is", or "look at how much money you have to spend to get an Intel chip that is faster than an Athlon", depending upon your bias.
    • by callipygian-showsyst (631222) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:43AM (#9920022) Homepage
      The editors of Slashdot seem to love posting articles whose sole purpose is to evoke flame wars between Intel fans and AMD fans.

      You've hit the nail on the head. Why on earth would you make a statement about how "disappointing" it is that Xeon may be better in some ways? Why is it disappointing to have a CHOICE?

      If you don't want CPU choices, get a Mac!

      • You've hit the nail on the head. Why on earth would you make a statement about how "disappointing" it is that Xeon may be better in some ways? Why is it disappointing to have a CHOICE?

        That's right. You'd only say it's "dissappointing" if you're talking to a supposedly pro-AMD audience and you're trying to sell some pro-Intel FUD , because as mentioned before, those processors don't run at the same speed, and there is a huge price difference so you're comparing a high-end chip to a medium-end chip.

        • Re:indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:20AM (#9920307) Homepage Journal
          To be fair, the Athlon64 processor compared is a 3500+, while Intel's is a 3.6GHz. So AMD chose to rate their processor at that performance level.

          To be fair again, Xeons generally outperform Pentium 4s at the same clock speed, due to various things like more cache and hyperthreading (before Intel added it to the Pentium line). The Xeon is normally targetted for servers and high-end workstations.

          Finally, at the end of the article, they promise to benchmark the Xeons against the Opterons.
          • Re:indeed (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Bedouin X (254404)
            This is still flawed because the AMD model numbers are relative to the class that they compete against. So the 3500+ is supposed to compete against a PIV at 3500 MHz. Just like the Semprom 3100+ competes with a Celeron at 3100 MHz. The Opterons, which compete with the Xeon, don't have MHz ratings they go by pure performance.

            Anandtech's claim that the upcoming PIV's are exactly like the Nocona chips are specious if for no other reason than the fact that there would be no reason to differentiate the two.

            The
    • Do synthetic benchmark writers optimize for Intel

      Given the history of the industry, I would more suspect the reverse, that the processor is tweaked to the benchmark.

      • Actually, benchmark writers DO optimize for Intel, but it's hardly a nefarious activity

        If a benchmark is written to take advantage of SSE2, and that benchmark benefits significantly from the vectorization, it is GUARANTEED to perform significantly better on a Pentium 4.

        Why?

        Although the Athlon64 has an excellent x87 FPU, it's SSE2 unit is roughly on-par with the Pentium 4 in terms of clock cycles per operation.

        What this means is the Pentium 4's raw clock speed advantage really is an advantage in this one
    • by EulerX07 (314098) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:58AM (#9920143)
      Good point. I don't think being 9.27% faster on a "Super Pi 2.0" benchmark justifies paying 243% of the price of an Athlon. But maybe I'm just old fashioned.
    • Years ago I got to play with an Intel Hypercube which was 32 286 processors all in one box. One of the other guys in the department talked to one of the benchmark coders at intel who described the bench mark numbers as "you can not exceed these speeds with this system".
    • by Tim C (15259) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:03AM (#9920185)
      The editors of Slashdot seem to love posting articles whose sole purpose is to evoke flame wars between Intel fans and AMD fans.

      Not just Intel and AMD fanboys, but anything with two (or more) highly-polarised camps. You see exactly the same thing with regard to Microsoft vs Linux, Closed vs Open Source, etc.

      Were I being cynical, I'd say two things:

      1) the editors have an agenda to push
      2) the editors want to post flamebait articles in order to drive hits (and therefore ad impressions) up.

      Hell, just last week there was a story about an autonomous plane, that mentioned in the summary here that it was running XP Embedded. What the hell does that have to do with the actual story?
      • Or perhaps, posting flaimbait in as an article usually generates a huge response. The more one sided the topic is, the more of a response will get. This means more people will view the Microsoft ads at the top of the screen and slashdot will get more money.

        Is this pointing to an unholy union between CowboyNeal and Bill Gates?
      • **2) the editors want to post flamebait articles in order to drive hits (and therefore ad impressions) up.**

        well that would surely explain why the blurbs and headlines are crafted usually to sound exciting, even if at the cost of totally twisting the story itself.
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:03AM (#9920188) Homepage Journal
      Not only that, they should have compared the EM64T Pentium against a similarly rated Athlon64, or compared the EM64T against a similarly rated Opteron. Comparing Xeon against Athlon64 is comparing products for two different markets - corporate vs. consumer, server/workstation vs. desktop.
    • by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefrNO@SPAMbhtooefr.org> on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:40AM (#9920521) Homepage Journal
      I think it's unfairly biased against AMD. Look at an AMD at the exact same price point, and meant to be used in exactly the same applications (DP server work, and DP workstations) - the Opteron 250.

      I know the A64 is PRated as slightly slower than the Xeon, but that's not what I have a problem with. The A64 has 512K cache - something that gets it KILLED against the Xeon. The A64 is a mainstream desktop chip positioned against the Pentium 4 (5xx series), the Xeon (9xx series, IIRC) is a low-end server/workstation chip (mid-end being served by the Xeon MP and Oppie 8xx, high-end being served by the Itanic, SPARC, POWER, etc.) positioned against the Opteron 2xx.

      Unfair review, IMO. Even an FX-53 (939 or 940) vs a single Xeon would have been fair, seeing as the FX-53 is an overclockable (and available in S939) Oppie 150...

      Now, anyone want to give me a dual S940 mobo, a dual Xeon mobo, two Oppie 250s, two Xeon EM64T 3.6GHz chips, some RAM, some HDDs, and a 6800 Ultra, so I can test this out?
    • Also, keep in mind that the AMD processor is clocked 1400MHz slower than the 3.6GHz Xeon.

      Well, AMD has long claimed that CPU clock is of little consequence when evaluating performance. If there's a pro-Intel bias here, it was caused by AMD's part-numbering system. Maybe, if they had used the clock speed as the part number, and called it an "Athlon 64 2200", it would have "trounced" the comparatively named Intel CPU. It's AMD's insistence in comparing their chips to Intel chips that are similar only in par

  • Why dissapointing? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ImTwoSlick (723185) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:39AM (#9919982)
    I'm all for the best processor out there. If it is made by Intel, then so be it. This will just give AMD more reason to compete for my dollar.
    • I hope this will help drive down the price for the AMD 64 FX CPUs to a level I can afford. The AMD chips are plenty powerful for any home system.
      • I hope this will help drive down the price for the AMD 64 FX CPUs to a level I can afford.

        It won't, for the same reason that Ferrari 550 Maranello being faster doesn't drive down the price of the Toyota Celica GT. They compared a desktop processor to an bleeding-edge server processor.

  • Opteron (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) * on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:40AM (#9919989)
    Wouldn't the larger cahced Opteron, the product actually positioned by AMD to compete with the Xeon series processors, have been a better comparison?
    • Re:Opteron (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gedvondur (40666) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:54AM (#9920114)
      Indeed. The comparison between the desktop grade Athlon 64 and the server grade Xeon is meaningless. It never comes down to those two when buying a server. A comparison with the Opteron would have been sensible.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The act of using a 3500+ instead of an Opteron 150 is a minor issue.

      The major issue is that Anandtech does not know how to compile software.

      The Makefile used for TSCP on the A64 is broken, and does not apply -O2 optimization at the right stage.

      My A64 3200+ scores 290K n/s when -O2 is properly applied.

      On "primegen" most of the time is spent in putchar(), instead of in computation, and they should comment out the putchar() loop instead of directing output to /dev/null, and retest both machines.

      Also, they
  • Why Not Opteron? (Score:5, Informative)

    by thoolie (442789) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:40AM (#9920000) Homepage
    Isn't the xeon a "workstation" or "server" CPU? Being the case, wouldn't it be prudent to to a comparison VS. the highest end Opteron or even the FX series of AMD cpus? I haven't read the article, but it seems to me OF COURSE INTELS BRAND NEW SERVER CPU is going to be AMDs NON-SERVER CPU. I know that the Opteron and the AMD64 are same architecure (minus a couple of little things, but it is those little things that differentiat a server CPU from a NON-SERVER CPU).

    These crack-pot benchmarks really don't mean much to me anymore.

    If they want to be fare, use the highend Xeon VS. the high end Opteron Vs. the high end G5 all using 64 bit linux with 64 bits aps. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE FAIR!! (I know this won't happen, but COME ONE!!)

    Psh....benchmarks...
  • in other news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by borgdows (599861)
    Athlon64 are for desktop markets, Xeon are for server markets

    for this comparison to be fair, Xeon should be compared to Opteron!
  • by danormsby (529805) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:41AM (#9920006) Homepage
    There is a memory test using Ubench in the review here [anandtech.com] and Intel wins again.

    So should I save up for an Intel processor or buy 2 AMD machines?

  • by hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:42AM (#9920012) Journal
    for this, but:

    "..No memory-bound benchmarks (where the Athlon is supposed to have an edge) are presented, though."

    Why oh why do we continually have "reviews" posted that aren't comprehensive? Hell, i hardly even click on any of the posted reviews anymore...just read the comments later and find out what was missed or just plain wrong in the review.

    Where does one go to get the real, straight scoop other than buying both, testing all products involved?

    Yeah, i'm a little grouchy this morning...had to get that one out.
  • AMD vs Intel (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nerd256 (794968)
    What you're looking for is value as well as how much power you need. When your computer is sitting most of the time, hardly doing anything, is dropping $500 on a faster processor really worth it. The human eye pretty much stops distinguishing framerate past 30fps, so, unless your hosting an intensive server or work platform, ensuring a non idle CPU, getting the Intel is just a matter of bragging rights.
    • Re:AMD vs Intel (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HFXPro (581079) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:11AM (#9920236)
      The human eye pretty much stops distinguishing framerate past 30fps

      Everytime I here this I cringe. The human eye can most certainly distiguish beyond 30fps, especially when it comes to crisp computer graphics. Most people who believe that 30fps is the limit is because that is what film is usually the rate with which film is displayed. However, if you notice film, you often have blurring around the actual sharp image (including CGI movies). This is because they eye normally sees a slightly blurred image do to the way the chemical receptors are fired in the eye. Therefore they look more like you see in the world. However, computers are different in that they don't usually have this blur. Without the blur, a lot more frames are needed so that the eye blur occurs correctly rather then lots of little snap shots. I myself can tell the difference between a 60fps image and a 75 fps image. I can tell the difference all the way up to 110 fps where it gets hard. I've run into people though who had trouble with telling the difference between 30fps and 40fps. So a lot of it depends on the person. However, we shouldn't cripple everyone for some.
      • The eye can see brightness changes up to a very high frequency. In a CRT each pixel is hit once every frame and slowly decaying until it is hit again with an electon beam. Thus the brightness is constantly changing. That is what you can distinguish (a funny feeling that something is 'wrong') but you can't see the actual changes.

        It is believed by some that this is left over from way back when it came in handy to feel scared when a predator was moving in your neighbourhood. It isn't needed to know wheter it
    • by LightStruk (228264)

      The human eye pretty much stops distinguishing framerate past 30 fps

      Just as an example, try visually comparing GoldenEye 007 on the N64 to James Bond 007: NightFire on the GameCube. GoldenEye runs at 20-30 fps, while NightFire runs at a solid 60 fps. Then tell me that your eyes don't see the difference in smoothness and responsiveness.
      The reason our eyes don't have a problem with 24 fps film is because movies have lots of motion blur! Video games have no motion blur at all, unless you're playing a PS2, i

      • This is not a response to you, but to everyone who thinks 30fps is enough: http://www.audiovideo101.com/learn/articles/hdtv/h dtv08.asp [audiovideo101.com]
      • by TheLink (130905)
        "The reason our eyes don't have a problem with 24 fps film"

        Speak for yourself. When I watched LOTR, whenever they do scenery pans the "screen updates" were damn obvious and jerky - could see the new frames "ripple down".

        The fps of film sucks, but the resolution is pretty good.

        60Hz isn't enough. 85Hz is just about OK for me (not great but a monitor which does better isn't within my budget). Just use your peripheral vision to look at your monitor (look away from the monitor and see if it flickers at the of
    • it works with film and tv because film and tv capture motion blur. Computer graphics do not and our eyes notice.

      So depending on the amount of motion your eyes will notice that you are looking at a computer screen updating too slowly.

      The old 30fps is from the tv era. It doesn't account for people being able to see flickering tv monitors or lights.

  • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:44AM (#9920028)
    I ran the newegg benchmark. The result: you can buy an Athlon64, but you can't buy a Xeon EMT 3.6GHz. AMD is teh win!

    Seriously, Anandtech should just never compare widely available hardware with totally unavailable hardware. And what's with using a 512KB cache, second-rank Athlon64 to compare with Intel's flagship worstation processor? How 'bout the 1MB-equipped Athlon64 FX, or more appropriately an Opteron 150 (in stock at online retailers for $600-$650).

  • by imsabbel (611519) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:44AM (#9920029)
    The slowest Socket 939 Athlon versus the fastest Xeon available. PLus the SQL test of the Athlon were in 32bit, not 64 bit (which would have resulted in a win for the athlon).
    Some of the other synthetic benchmarks also show slighly suspicious anomalies.
    Plus were are the Nocoma 32bit benches? How are we supposed to see how performance improved in 64bit mode without comparison?

    A good review would have pitched the 3.6Ghz nacoma vs an Opteron 150, would have tested both in 32 and 64 bit and tried to use some application benchmarks.

    Not just picking some old scores out of the datadump to create a "shootout"
    • A good review would have pitched the 3.6Ghz nacoma vs an Opteron 150, would have tested both in 32 and 64 bit and tried to use some application benchmarks.
      Different compilers would also be interesting. It seems that the pathscale compiler is the best for AMD64 [pathscale.com]. Much more optimized than gcc for 64-bit.
    • PLus the SQL test of the Athlon were in 32bit, not 64 bit (which would have resulted in a win for the athlon).


      Why do you assume this exactly? The tested Intel chip is also 64-bit so would also presumably gain from the application being using the 64-bit instructions.
      • Hi Kristopher,

        There are some discrepancies:

        for MySQL Test-select, you used the 32-bit result A64 should have 215/223 seconds (according to >here:http://www.anandtech.com/linux/showdoc.aspx ? i=2127&p=5) >instead of 289 seconds.

        >I don't know if there are any others, but I would >suggest you check all your benchmarks again >carefully.

        Quote from Anandtech Forum. Nacoma WAS running in 64bit mode, but while recycling old data for the athlon, they didnt check enough...
      • Read the comments at Anandtech, and the source of the A64 numbers. He had both 32 and 64 bit numbers on the A64, and accidentally or intentionally put the 32 bit score in with a 64 bit score for the Xeon.
  • 2 things... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pandion (179894) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:44AM (#9920032)
    For one the Xeon has more L2 cache and for another most of the math benchmarks looked to be integer based. The Xeon gets beat in POVray wich is FPU intensive if im am not much mistaken... I think it is unfair to say the FPU on the Xeon is better...
    I would be nice to see more non-synthetic benchmarks.
  • by Epistax (544591) <epistax@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:47AM (#9920049) Journal
    That's not to say that the Xeon CPU necessarily deserves excessive praise just yet. At time of publication, our Xeon processor retails for $850 and the Athlon 3500+ retails for about $500 less. Also, keep in mind that the AMD processor is clocked 1400MHz slower than the 3.6GHz Xeon.

    I think this sums it up (besides the fact Intel kicked their pants). The AMD is running at 2.2 ghz, and retails $500 less. To me this says AMD is working smarter and Intel is working harder. Intel is reaching a (transient) ceiling with their clockspeeds and one day AMD will catch up to it. It will be interesting to see if Intel's multicore plan kicks as much ass as they are presently hoping. It'll also be interesting to see AMDs attempt at the same.

    Personally I'm rooting for both. If either company gets screwed, we're all screwed.
    • The AMD is running at 2.2 ghz,

      But can you overclock it? Is the 2.2GHz speed of the Athlon (and most of the other AMD offerings seem to plateau out around this figure) a limit for AMDs?

      • Is the 2.2GHz speed of the Athlon (and most of the other AMD offerings seem to plateau out around this figure) a limit for AMDs?

        Considering that the K8 architecture is only a year old, I would certainly hope that they can scale to much higher clock speeds. A large CPU maker doesn't launch into a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project to make its next generation of CPUs without planning ahead for at least several years. Improvements in clock speed, die size, cache size, and architectural tweaks shoul

    • The AMD is running at 2.2 ghz, and retails $500 less.

      The second figure you quote is relevant. The first figure you quote is completely and utterly irrelevant. It's like getting excited because your Chevy V8 is only redlined at 5500 rpm, and if you could make it run at 8000 rpm it'd kick the ass of that Mazda rotary.

      What matters in the end is how fast the computer in which the CPU is placed does what you want it to do, and how much the system costs (and possibly heat/fan noise and power consumption, i

  • FPU intensive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by klaussm (81352) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:51AM (#9920081) Homepage
    Where are the FPU intensive benchmarks that the Athlon is trounced in?

    Under normal circumstances a prime finder application does not use the FPU. And I also doubt that the super_pi application uses the FPU. However the powray benchmark (which actually uses the FPU), is one of the benchmarks where the Athlon wins.

    So it would seem that it is the Integer benchmarks where the Athlon looses, instead. This also corresponds with how the normal Athlon fares against the normal Pentium.
    • Absolutely correct.

      Anyway, if these guys had any clue about what they were working with, a lot of things would have been different:
      *) They would not have benched a low-end desktop CPU against the highest-end (still unavailable) server CPU
      *) They would have used optimization options with the compiler
      *) They would not have used synthetic benchmarks - and if they had, it would only have been as a "curiosity" not as results you could draw any meaning from

      I mean, come on, they wonder how HT can slow the system
    • Re:FPU intensive? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kent.dickey (685796) on Monday August 09, 2004 @12:28PM (#9921562)
      The "primegen" program listed where the Xeon beats the Athlon slightly does not do any floating point.

      I looked at the code and played with it a little (I got it from http://cr.yp.to/primegen.html [cr.yp.to] and it seems the benchmark is mostly limited by the implementation of putchar().

      My system was an dual AMD Opteron 1.8GHz running Win XP pro with Cygwin. I modified the benchmark to not use putchar() but instead just write the characters to a 1MB buffer, and it got 16 times faster! To be specific, "primes 1 100000000 > file" went from 24.2 seconds to 1.497. Note that it's generating 51MB of output for primes under 100 million. I didn't bother running it for the 100 billion max, but would expect it to be around 50GB.

      This is a very poor benchmark since it's just measuring your stdc implementation of putchar and your system's ability to sink data to /dev/null, not anything useful.
  • Hog wash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I_am_Rambi (536614) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:52AM (#9920097) Homepage
    So you compare a highend server/workstation proc to a highend desktop proc. Sure the server chip will win the majority of the benchmarks.

    Where are the 64bit benchmarks? They really didn't do any comparision to 32bit, so you can't say for sure if Intel implementation is good or not. Get the Opteron in there, do the same benchmarks in 32 and 64 modes and see if there is a difference. Also throw say 5 gigs of memory in the machines, that will see how each proc handles addressing above the 4gig limit.
  • by Ahkorishaan (774757) <ahkorishaan@noSpam.gmail.com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:55AM (#9920119)
    This article should not have been posted here, or on Anandtech for that matter. It has already caused a riot over there, both in the comments section of the article, and the forums. This article was grotesquely sub-par for Anandtech, and should have been removed immediately. Several of us avid AT readers have spotted discrepencies in the charts, stats that are totally bogus in comparison to previous AT articles. Particularly the MySql chart. To put it simply, there is absolutely no way to compare those two chips, as someone in the forums put it, "It's like comparing apples to a slab of meat." The Xeon has double the cache, is double the price, and isa top end server chip, being compared to a midrange desktop chip. The two simply cannot be compared. The article should have included an FX chip and/or an Opteron 150. Discount the article entirely. Hardcore Intel fanboys have spoken out against this article, that should really tell you something.
  • I am always disappointed in these reviews because they alway address gaming and multimedia (which I understand are most important to the greatest amount of readers) but rarely address scientific computing. I am most interested in how fast my FORTRAN/C math-intensive code will run (I have seen examples where AMD gets beat soundly in the "FPU" benchmark, but kicks ass in ScienceMark).

    AMD has been consistently good at scientific computing, but I haven't seen any performance specs for the 64-bit ones. Has
  • From the article: "That's not to say that the Xeon CPU necessarily deserves excessive praise just yet. At time of publication, our Xeon processor retails for $850 and the Athlon 3500+ retails for about $500 less"

    In other news, a Corvette just smooooookkkked a Ford Taurus.
  • Riiight (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zebra_X (13249) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:59AM (#9920152)
    And the 3500+ and the Xeon are in the same processor class how?

    The 3500+ is a mainstream, desktop processor. For a more accurate comparison, the FX series, and the opteron line should have been used.
  • synthetic benchmarks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the quick brown fox (681969) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:03AM (#9920190)
    I'm no expert on CPU architecture or synthetic benchmarks, but it seems like most of the synthetic benchmarks they used (primegen, super_pi, TSCP, uBench CPU) are the kinds of jobs that the Pentium 4 architecture is specifically designed to handle well: not much memory bandwidth required, little unpredictable branching. In these situations, the Xeon's 63 percent clock speed advantage is definitely going to make itself felt.

    My guess is that if these same benchmarks had been run on any Athlon vs. the equivalent P4 throughout history, the outcome would've been similar. But the results would also have been as irrelevant yesterday as they are today, since we all know the Xeon isn't 40% faster than the A64 in anything like real-world usage.

  • 3.6GHz vs 2.2GHz (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zoid.com (311775) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:05AM (#9920197) Homepage Journal
    This is the real compairson. Overclock the AMD to 3.6GHz and see who wins. As soon as AMD gets tthe 90nm process perfected I think we will see a huge boost in AMDs clockspeed.
    • by be-fan (61476)
      No it's not. There are different engineering trade-offs that were made. P4 traded IPC for clock-speed. AMD traded clock-speed for IPC. All that matters is what performs the best at the retail clock-speed.
    • by akuma(x86) (224898)
      This is the real compairson. Overclock the AMD to 3.6GHz and see who wins. As soon as AMD gets tthe 90nm process perfected I think we will see a huge boost in AMDs clockspeed.

      This always annoys me...

      You see, you can't buy an AMD at 3.6 GHz because it wasn't designed to run that fast. The AMD does more work per clock so it CAN'T run at 3.6GHz in 90nm. It is simply not designed to do so. The laws of physics prevent this.

      The Intel CPU CAN run at 3.6GHz because it was DESIGNED to run at 3.6GHz AT THE COS
  • Hyperthreading (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcbevin (450303) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:05AM (#9920199) Homepage
    While the Intel chip performed well against the AMD one, hyperthreading appeared to perform badly (i.e. the Intel chip without hyperthreading enabled tended to beat the same chip with it enabled).

    It would however be interesting to see a test that somehow say ran two of these benchmarks at the same time to see whether hyperthreading had an effect in such a case. Presumably most of the synthetic benchmarks especially don't really favour hyperthreading.
    • Re:Hyperthreading (Score:4, Insightful)

      by swv3752 (187722) <swv3752.hotmail@com> on Monday August 09, 2004 @11:04AM (#9920741) Homepage Journal
      HT not performing well is not surprising. It is a hack to overcome the limitation of the Pentium's long pipeline. If there are few branch prediction misses, it is going to take away a bit of processing power. One can think of it like have the processor's attention divided. Hyperthreading is like having two pipelines. One pipeline gets clogged (branch prediction missed) and the other can be worked on. Disable HT and and the procesor can narrowly focus on one pipeline.

      So a lot of the synthetic benchmarks seem to be optimized for Intel's long pipeline.
  • by metalac (633801)
    Finally Linux benchmarks :). They are sooo hard to find and finally they are being used.
  • Let's see.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adiposity (684943) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:14AM (#9920260)
    Xeon = 3.6 GHz, A64 = PR 3500
    Xeon = Server, A64 = desktop
    Xeon = L3 cache 1MB, A64 = L3 Cache 512K
    Xeon = $??? (probably > 800 when available), A64 = $345 (pricewatch)
    Xeon = fastest of Intel's 64-bit chips, A64 = slowest of AMD's 64-bit chips

    Anandtech = sold down the river? What the hell?
    • Yeah, I pretty much agree. To say that the Xeon beat the Athlon 64 is like saying the sky should be blue when you walk outside. We're comparing a very capable processor used in home PCs to a server/workstation proc. One would hope the Xeon can win in some tests.

      An opteron (or at least a 64FX) comparison would be more appropriate I should think.
    • Not really. It is intersting. For half the price you get almost all the performance of the new Xeon out of an AMD chip. Lets face it both are bloody fast chips!
  • I call bullshit. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fefe (6964) on Monday August 09, 2004 @10:41AM (#9920531) Homepage
    "Math intensive" means floating point intensive, because that is all the math normal people do with their machines. Calculating Pi to a billion digits is not floating point math, it is integer math.

    The "math intensive" benchmark in this setup was Povray, and there the Athlon 64 shined. A lot. lame is also a floating point heavy application, and both CPUs are close there.

    gzip measure memory performance. Apparently, the dictionary fit completely into the cache of the Xeon. Not a fair test.

    I cannot comment on MySQL performance. It should measure integer and memory performance, I would wildly guess.

    Bernstein's prime sieve is also integer arithmetic . If you have a prime with 100 million digits, the action is mostly in the CPU caches. Again, no fair test.

    The unfairness of the benchmark setup becomes particularly obvious when you look at the chess benchmark. Chess (and other game AI type problems) do a lot of unpredictable jumps. That's the weak side of Pentium 4, and that's why Athlon 64 has historically outperformed Pentium 4s by a WIDE margin. Look at the hardware used by the PC chess tournaments and the chess grandmasters and you see Athlon and Athlon 64 all the time. If Anand now measures that Athlon 64 is outperformed by a Xeon, then the test setup can not have been fair.

    I don't know about ubench, never heard of it before.

    Password cracking and encryption is 100% integer arithmetic. And it is one of the mainstays of Opterons from the beginning. Anands measurement flies in the face of that.

    I call bullshit.
    • This was a 64 bit test, and we really don't know how cache sizes affect 64-bit operations yet, in real world tests. Since they compared the slowest dual-memory 64, with the smallest cache, against the fastest 64-bit Xeon, with a bigger cache, I think these benchmarks may be valid. They just shouldn't have been placed together and alone on one graph.

      -Dan
  • by hirschma (187820) on Monday August 09, 2004 @11:03AM (#9920727)
    I think that the article demonstrates the effectiveness of cache for some applications. How much would you like to bet that the Xeon was able to run pretty much everything in cache where it won, and the Athlon 64 wasn't?

    Very poor comparo.

    Jonathan
  • by Outland Traveller (12138) on Monday August 09, 2004 @11:14AM (#9920855)
    As part of a larger project I've recently had to evaluate these two chips technologies. I've been benchmarking the AMD Opteron 246 (2.0 Ghz) against a 3.0Ghz Xeon with 64bit and hyperthreading extensions, using the the same top end memory config, same hard drives, etc.

    With the overwhelming majority of our real-world custom application performance numbers, the Opteron system was the better performer by a wide margin.

    I'd suggest if anyone is making a real decision about these chips, to test them out yourself under actual-use conditions.
  • Flawed benchmarks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdot.hackish@org> on Monday August 09, 2004 @11:59AM (#9921274) Homepage
    I though that these benchmarks looked a little strange when you're using Jack the Ripper as one of your major comparisons. There's a nice thread [aceshardware.com] going on over at Ace's bashing the benchmarks, including a post [aceshardware.com] from the author of the chess benchmark stating:
    this test they did was flawed in all respects.

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