A few preliminary benchmarks are in, but the picture is still cloudy over "Woodcrest" performance

The Tech Report's Scott Wasson had an incredible opportunity to sit down and benchmark Intel's upcoming Woodcrest processor in a dual server configuration.  Intel's Woodcrest processor, as we've previously covered, is the upcoming Socket 771, 65nm dual core server processor for Intel servers.  Intel gave the media a preview of Woodcrest outperforming AMD Opteron by 33% in synethetic benchmarks during IDF, but today The Tech Report has a full scale analysis using its own benchmarks.  The review was still done under the watchful eye of Intel employees during a reviewer's workshop, but the publication was able to conduct its own benchmarks.

Absent from the benchmarking suite was the application that Intel used to demonstrate a 33% victory at IDF, dual Woodcrest 3.0GHz processors manage to squeeze by with 15% victory over dual Opteron 285 however though.  SPECapc on 3DStudio MAX put the Woodcrest processor at a much higher advantage performance, but most other benchmarks that Wasson ran only put Woodcrest in the 5 to 10% favored range.  The only benchmarks that gave Woodcrest considerable advantages were SiSoft Sandra artificial benchmarks.

When the power consumption between Opteron and Woodcrest were compared, Woodcrest had slightly lower power consumption, particularly when idle.  Intel's "33%" estimates from IDF obviously extrapolated the 10-15% performance victories to a performance-per-watt scenario.

We were a little surprised that Intel only provided Opteron 285 CPUs for comparison, since Opteron 290 processors have been available for several weeks already through the correct channels.  To be fair, neither Woodcrest 3.0GHz nor Opteron 290 have been officially announced yet. 

Update 05/23/2006: Scott Wasson tells me that Intel did not supply the Opteron 285 processors, and that the CPUs were actually tested independently in The Tech Report labs. 

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