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AMD Hardware

AMD's Barcelona to Outpace Intel by 50% 199

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the harder-better-faster-stronger dept.
Gr8Apes writes "AMD is upping the performance numbers for Barcelona by stating that "Barcelona will have a 50% advantage over Clovertown in floating point applications and 20% in integer performance 'over the competition's highest-performing quad-core processor at the same frequency'". AMD also claims that the new 3.0 GHz Opterons beat comparable Intel Xeon 5100 series processors in three server-specific benchmarks (SPECint_rate_2006, SPECint_rate2006, SPECompM2001) by up to 24%."
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AMD's Barcelona to Outpace Intel by 50%

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  • by heinousjay (683506) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:48AM (#18841115) Journal
    I really hope this plays out. Not only do we benefit from better technology, but I get to read all the fanboy flamewars too!
  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:48AM (#18841127) Homepage
    It would be a shame if after what, 4 or 5 years? of being in the lead, AMD loses focus and stops making fast CPUs.

    The last thing we need is for Intel to have no real competitors. Innovation would slow and prices would hike up.
    • by Bodrius (191265)
      It would be a shame if after what, 4 or 5 years? of being a strong competitor, AMD loses focus on what is relevant in the market and just keeps making faster, more power-hungry, CPUs.

      The last thing we need is for Intel to have no real competitors. Innovation would slow and prices would hike up.

    • It's not as if AMD was suddenly not making fast CPUs, just that Intel's best was faster than AMD's best.

      There was just a little issue of whether they make the fastest. I would expect that few people would notice the difference in speed between a top AMD and a top Intel chip in actual use.
      • making the fastest is a big deal.

        Afaict intel and amd both make significant profits from selling the cream of thier production at huge markups. It is much easier for AMD to do that if thier cream is currently better than the competitors cream (the same applies to intel but to a lesser extent because intel is the gorilla with lots of contracts and marketing).

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:49AM (#18841135) Homepage
    Wow! The underscore makes all the difference!
  • I just bought an Intel Core 2 Duo, and I love it. But I was beginning to worry that AMD's rocky quarter, lack-luster product line up, and soon to be cut backs, might lead to a less competitive playing field. But I'm excited to hear that AMD is still in this fight and will be upping the ante for my next PC purchase.

    -Rick
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      Historically, company come out with something 'unexpected and amazing' after a really disasterious quarter.
      I would be prudent.

  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:51AM (#18841181) Journal
    has always bothered me.

    "Up to" is sugar-coated for "You can't expect any better than this" with a implicit translation of "It can get a whole lot worse".

    Ex: If CPU X get "up to" 100% more performance than CPU Y, but in all tests but one, actually has 1% of the performance, I'd rather have CPU Y.

    "Up to" means nothing to me, except as an advertisement for the competator; whichever has the least unpleasant average and worst case performance is the one I'm interested in.
    • "Up to" means nothing to me, except as an advertisement for the competator; whichever has the least unpleasant average and worst case performance is the one I'm interested in.

      And those numbers would be indicative of anything either. The problem with CPU benchmarks is that they have no real world application; Everyone has different needs. However, the marketing types for both the suppliers and consumers need numbers to push in front of each other, so they make up these things which those of us in the field understand have no real world meaning.

      It's a vicious circle, non?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 (605297)
        Actually, benchmarks DO have some real-world meaning - but only for comparison.

        If your specific needs happen to be similar to the things benchmarks stress, then you can expect the results to be relevant. If your needs differ wildly from benchmark methods, then you can expect the results to be irrelevant - but most likely they will be equally irrelevant.

        Benchmark performance is, at the very least, a better indication of relative performance than clock speed of cache size.

        Fact is, few end users actually NEED
        • by donglekey (124433)
          Not true. I have a top of the line computer from 3.5 years ago, and it cannot play high def trailers. Combine this with lots of flash video, video conferencing, etc. and you have various cpu needs that need to be met. It is hard for me to believe too, but flash and quicktime are pushing the needs of people's hardware.
          • by ponos (122721)

            Not true. I have a top of the line computer from 3.5 years ago, and it cannot play high def trailers. Combine this with lots of flash video, video conferencing, etc. and you have various cpu needs that need to be met. It is hard for me to believe too, but flash and quicktime are pushing the needs of people's hardware.

            This is an indication that the code sucks. You should be able to play almost anything with a processor rated as 3000+ or better. I am sure that you can find some unrealistic 1080p/MPEG4 cont

            • by donglekey (124433)
              Athalon 2700, gf6800, 720p Quicktimes run at about 10 fps, don't know why. Pretty fresh install of WinXP and I don't use IE, but spyware never seems to outside the realm of suspects.
        • The programs that make up SPEC *are* real world programs that have been selected by the SPEC committee as representative of typical workloads. The mix of programs that make up SPEC change over time to reflect the fact that CPU's become more capable. In particular, many older benchmarks in the SPEC suite have been dropped because they now fit entirely in L2 cache.

          All that said, this is the hardware equivalent of Fredrick Brooks maxim that 'the Paper tiger is always better than the actual one unless realit
  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:57AM (#18841277) Homepage
    When the fastest Barcelona is ~2.5GHz and Clovertown is 3.0GHz, comparisons at the same frequency are pointless. What matters in reality is performance at the same price or performance at the same power or highest available performance at any price.
    • Agree, caveat that performance-per-watt needs to be added in, at least in part because watts are money.

      C//
  • Correction (Score:4, Funny)

    by matt me (850665) on Monday April 23, 2007 @11:57AM (#18841289)

    Barcelona will have a 50% advantage over Clovertown in floating point applications and 20% in integer performance.
    I think the figures for relative performance should be 1.500000000000000 and 1 respectively.
    • by Minwee (522556)

      I think the figures for relative performance should be 1.500000000000000 and 1 respectively.

      Of course Intel claims that they are 1.499999999326112 and 0.999999994351582.

  • Chipset to cpu and cpu to cpu link with intel you have to use the chip set for one cpu to talk to another one.
    Also If amd where to copy intel and put 2 dies on the same cpu they will have a better link for them that will not eat up chipset to cpu bandwith.
    • This post is very confused.

      First of all you can't put two dies on the same cpu, or at least it would be a horribly bad idea. You can put 2 cpu's on a die. Now I thought AMD already did this but they could just package several chips together and I'm feeling too lazy to look it up.

      Anyway, yes for Intel chips they must communicate over the FSB. However, as I've recently been finding out they don't do that much communicating. For instance most cache state info is generated just by listening on the FSB. Th
  • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:02PM (#18841361) Journal
    Over the past week we have heard about Intel's dominance and flashy new products, AMD's disastrous quarter, and now AMD's supposedly dominant new offering.

    I read tech news daily and am getting sick of the media wars... It is no wonder casual users get fatigued trying to keep up. Casual opinions depend on which day (or week or month) a person chooses to research product offerings. It is no wonder I am always hitting a brick wall when trying to get my users to educate themselves so they can get more out of their tech. They don't know what to make of all the posturing.

    This is not a function of the tech world developing *that* quickly. It is a result of the major players trying to out-strategize each other. I don't want to see anymore benchmarks (or hear about anymore promised software) until I am standing in front of a demo machine that is running the tech.

    Guess I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

    Regards.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Gr8Apes (679165)
      Well, blame Intel. ;)

      Seriously though, Intel's got the performance lead for now, but AMD's got the better tech and their release schedule "lags" Intel's a little. So Intel got the "jump" on AMD release cycle wise, and now you've got the situation where Intel has a brand spanking new product out that beats AMD's old offering by about 10-20%, at best at stock speeds.

      I personally am waiting for AMD's release and benchmarks before making a final decision, but the fact that I'm doing so already says which way I'
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by networkBoy (774728)
      FWIW, it seems to be AMD doing all the posturing.
      Intel seems to have taken a "no response" approach to media claims, instead producing product and letting guys like toms hardware do their thing. This isn't to say they don't advertise, but they don't take out full page NYT (or was it washington post?) ads chest pounding like AMD does.

      -nB
      • Wait... what?

        That's why we're constantly hearing about the performance advantages of Penryn. If anything, AMD has been a bit quieter than Intel. Compare the references on the Wikipedia pages for Barcelona and Penryn if you want evidence.

      • by logicnazi (169418)
        Well, as much as I think Intel usually gets a bad rap on slashdot and similar places, in fairness I out to point out that this is really easy to do when you have the performance crown. Taking out ads bragging about their superior performance would mostly just give people a reason to doubt intel (if they are taking out ads does it mean it's in doubt?) while AMD had better take out these ads as at the moment no one else is going to do it for them.

        If the situation ever reverses and AMD's strategy to keep up s
      • by codemachine (245871) on Monday April 23, 2007 @04:17PM (#18844751)
        I think this has more to do with the fact that "Intel Inside" and such have been ingrained in people from Intel's past advertising. The general public is much more likely to have heard of Intel than AMD, which means AMD has a much greater need to get their name out there than Intel.
    • by Bo'Bob'O (95398)
      Well, fact is, when it comes to CPUs, in the end, whether Athalon, Sempron, X2, Core 2, Celeron.. all these things over the last decade, if you spent X on one product (not including server chips) the difference in performance was generally measured in a few percent.

      On the other hand, buying video cards has gotten BAD. The numbers, ratings, even the price points have become seemingly almost random. The mark up is enormous at just about any retail chain. Higher price cards can have lower performance sometimes
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by xerent_sweden (1010825) on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:10PM (#18841465)
    I can't wait to run Microsoft Word on these babies!
    • Heh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Skadet (528657) on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:23PM (#18841627) Homepage
      Indeed. I work in a law office as a graphic designer/web designer/video editor. That's what I do all day (when I'm not reading slashdot).

      2 of our attorneys just got quad-core Mac Pros with Studio displays. For writing documents on. Maybe the occasional slide show. I'm stuck on this 3-year-old Dell with dual CRT monitors. Old ones.

      Sorry, just had to bitch a little. Your comment is more real-world than you may have realized.
      • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Funny)

        by stevesliva (648202) on Monday April 23, 2007 @01:05PM (#18842199) Journal

        2 of our attorneys just got quad-core Mac Pros with Studio displays. For writing documents on.
        They probably also got Ferraris. To commute to work in.
      • by greg_barton (5551) *
        Dude, convince them to get you a cheap mac mini and set up Xgrid clustering on those quad core mac pros. You'll be leaching off their processors in no time. :)
    • by Heembo (916647)
      I think you are the first person in the world to ever use that sentence.
    • by crhylove (205956)
      Dude, you haven't switched to Open Office yet?

      OOOP = Obligatory Open Office Plug
  • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:21PM (#18841603) Journal
    I think one of the major reasons why AMD did so poorly last quarter was its silly marketing campaign. Towering signs on billboards and large airport ads tout AMD as "smarter choice", since it uses less power.

    Marketing a chip as using less power is the same as having Toyota make an exclusive advertising campaign toward wheel-chair bound people: the group you're targeting has few people in it and they're going to research any product they buy. The server market is important, but when I buy my shiny new server, power consumption isn't my first consideration, nor is that the only thing AMD offers.

    With this announcement, I'm hoping AMD starts a new slogan touting, say speed. That's what I buy a processor for primarily. AMD's always been fast for the cost and it's high time they market themselves as being faster and better rather than being "as good as" Intel. My new pick for a marketing slogan? "Upgrade to AMD" AMD should position its chips to be slightly more expensive at every pricing tier, but in doing so, blow them away in performance. (In the present economy, businesses have money and will gladly spend more money on products they feel are superior. Ford spends more money on marketing than BMW (but which would you rather own?). AMD should be trying to make Intel look like Ford, rather than being the "Ford alternative".)

    AMD is marketing to a minor concern of a niche audience, while they ought to be using their superior performance (at a given price point) to sell hardware. Would you rather be a "power saver" or "upgrade to AMD".
    • by bockelboy (824282) on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:46PM (#18841951)

      The server market is important, but when I buy my shiny new server, power consumption isn't my first consideration, nor is that the only thing AMD offers.

      That's nice - but when we look at purchasing $250k - $500k of servers, power consumption as an important factor.

      Back in the days when dual-cores were just beginning, this indeed was HUGE. Do you want 30% more Irwindales which would require 100 tons of cooling, or the AMD dual-cores which require 30 tons of cooling? The same is going to happen at the dual-core/quad-core boundary.

      As CPUs are cheaper and cheaper and A/C systems remain a constant cost, the people who spend large amounts of money are going to look more and more at power costs. They're probably aiming at business customers who don't buy *a* server, but buy a *hundred* servers.
      • by Spoke (6112)
        Exactly. When you have a datacenter (or even a room) full of servers, the amount of heat you have to dissipate is very important.

        Electricity and cooling costs are huge. And unlike a server which you buy once and may use for 3-5 years, you pay for electricity and cooling all the time. The electricy/cooling costs over the lifetime of a product can often cost more than the server itself, so anyone not looking at the power consumption of their systems as a high priority item (desktop, server, anything) is doing
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday April 23, 2007 @03:09PM (#18843875) Homepage
      Sorry, but performance/watt has become one of the major metrics by which CPUs are chosen, especially in business and double especially in business server rooms. Performance/watt is the new performance/$, because wattage tells you how much the hardware is going to cost on a continual basis for both the electricity to run it and for the necessary air conditioning. These costs dominate over the initial cost of the hardware, and are thus more important. Plus, if you have limited space you have a limited heat capacity, and higher perf/watt means you can get more perf in your server room.
      • by Prien715 (251944)
        My point was that the metrics are important, but the people buying the servers are going to do research regardless of the marketing material. If AMD marketed itself as "better" you'd consider it just as if they marketed themselves as "power-saving". While AMD may gain some traction in the server farm market from the ads, the waste the opportunity to gain traction in any other market by targeting a niche, and in doing so make people who want to buy AMD chips for other reasons think twice -- "You can have a
        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          My point was that the metrics are important, but the people buying the servers are going to do research regardless of the marketing material.

          Tee hee hee! Of course, that's why there's all those ads in computer trade rags and the wall street journal, because the people buying servers always do their own research and never believe marketing materials.

          AMD should market to their entire market.

          Based on what? They can't exactly claim top performance right now. They can't claim longest battery life for laptops
    • by darkwhite (139802)

      Would you rather be a "power saver" or "upgrade to AMD".

      Be a power saver.

      When Intel came out with Centrino, I bought one almost at launch. When AMD came out with Winchester, the Athlon 64 that made the gigantic leap in price/performance/watt, I bought two. When nVidia started making lower-clocked GPUs that didn't need a fan and wiped the floor with ATI in price/performance/watt, I bought three over 3 years (6200, 7600, and now, 8500) (that was the main reason - the other one being ATI's shitty drivers for Linux). Now, I'm looking at a new ultraportable, and AM

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Wait a second... So you want AMD to miraculously make their CPUs faster at any cost (they recently tried to, with less than impressive results) and additionally raise the prices by an amount not prroportionate to the speed gains? AMD took and held its chunk of the home user market by being cheaper and/or better then Intel. Once they start having worse pricing (and also horrible efficiency) it's time to consider jumping ship.

      Also, forgoing power (and thus heat) efficiency isn't going to make them any frien
  • Fly me... (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperslo (704715) on Monday April 23, 2007 @12:35PM (#18841807)
    I'll do you 50% faster and 20% harder than your date last week, and promise not to cost you more.

    But marry me soon baby, I need the money

    SSE4? Please, don't get distracted over little things like whether or not I can cook!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      SSE4? Please, don't get distracted over little things like whether or not I can cook!

      SSE4? I'm not buyin' either AMD or Intel until they're at least at SSE256. What's that? It'll take a while? That's OK, I don't have the monies to get them now anyway.
      <sarcasm/>

      For my type of workloads, straight SSE2 is still just fine. I'll take an improvement on that now instead of, say, waiting for the x86 world to match AltiVec instruction-per-instruction. But i would go for a wider ISA - give me 4x64bit registers
  • by Skapare (16644) on Monday April 23, 2007 @01:07PM (#18842221) Homepage

    What's really relevant to me is the performance per dollar ... not just dollar of CPU cost, but also dollar of whole system cost (including software, if that goes above zero), and dollar of energy cost (including the cost of shoving waste energy out the back door in seasons I does me no good to keep it indoors).

    • Nice try, but you're off by a great deal.
      • by raddan (519638)
        Why? That observation seems spot-on to me. I recently bought an AMD system instead of an Intel one due to price. I've been primarily a Mac user for the past 18 years, and I needed to replace my aging G4, so I had no opinion either way as far as brand went. I chose my performance level based on benchmarks at Tom's Hardware and other places, and then I sought out to build a machine that met those minimum specs. While it looked like I could get a faster Intel machine if money were no object, the AMD's pri
  • Real life tasks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ceka (1092107)
    It would be more relevant to know how does it perform real life tasks, eg kernel compilation time comparison...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Slashcrap (869349)
      It would be more relevant to know how does it perform real life tasks, eg kernel compilation time comparison...

      Interesting definition of "real life tasks" you have there.

      For the majority of the computing population, I would suggest that "real life tasks" would be more accurately defined as downloading and playing porn, rendering MySpace pages and running Norton Antivirus together with the 28 different systray applets installed by Dell during the manufacture of their shitwreck of a PC. Furthermore I would al
  • I'm all for heated competition, and it's great that AMD can claim integer performance supremacy on the high end again for a while. But at what cost do they make that claim?

    The article mentions that the 8222 SE is priced at $2149. So if I want a system with more than 4 cores, I'm bound to pay ~2.5x as much per processor.

    I can get a workstation with 8 3Ghz Clovertown Xenon cores from Apple for just under $4000, 8 Opteron cores at the same clock will cost me more than twice that for the processors alone, nev
  • by FFFish (7567)
    Sorry, AMD, but I don't get my panties in a bunch over CPU speed any more. The CPU isn't the bottleneck that it once was.

    Truthfully, I have not seen a significant benefit to higher CPU speeds since circa 300MHz days. Except for gaming, things seem to always work about the same speed. The rate at which I can type this message is limited not by CPU, but by my fingers; the speed with which I browse the web is limited not by CPU, but by my ability to skim for content; the speed with which I get real paying w
  • Wasn't intel recently showing some Penryn benchmarks with up to 50% improvements depending on application.

    All pointless till we have a 3rd party compare Penryn to Barcelona. I imagine neither will have much impact till 2008 as both will be production limited this year.

    Also AMD need to stop talking and start showing.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 23, 2007 @02:39PM (#18843443) Homepage Journal
    Really I find my current PC fast enough. What I want is lower power and heat for the entire system.
    Now if AMD can produce a cheap and silent system with good graphics performance I am all for it. Say something as fast as an X24400 and an Nividia 7600 GT all for about $300 then you have a winner. You will sell millions.
    A quad core system? I just don't need it yet.
  • If there was a way to lock in 50% of that performance for encryption and malware scanning and all the other security gorp that's killing us, that would be great.

    Please don't dump it into another golly geewhizbang video or multimedia processor subfunction on the chip.
  • Since AMD keeps pushing the ship date of Barcelona out (now Q3) and Intel keeps pulling ship date of Penryn-gen quads (Harpertown) in (now Q4, maybe Q3?) the relivant comparison is not going to be between Barcelona and Clovertown, but Barcelona and Harpertown.
    I suppose since, AMD only wants to compare same-clock chips (probably because they won't get higher clock Bars for a while) they may start argueing that we should only be allowed to compare Intel's old 65nm products (not the 45nm) to 65nm Barcelona, to
  • When Apple chose Intel chips, a huge mindshare of tech enthusiasts became enamored of Intel. I look into myself and see the irrational plus sign in front of Intel and minus sign in front of AMD, though I'd been a huge fan of AMD before. What the f? Both companies are just awesome innovators. I hope they keep sharpening each other. proverbially, as steel against steel. Gotta love the geniuses in our midst.
  • What I want to know is - will this new AMD chip use AM2 socket, or a new version?

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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