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Servers are where thread-friendly new architecture shines the brightest

Today, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMDannounced the Opteron 6300 Series, code-named Abu Dhabi.  Equipped with a Piledriver core, the new chips serve as an enhanced replacement to the Bulldozer-equipped Opteron 6200 Series (which was code-named Interlagos).

As we mentioned in our piece on the consumer Piledriver launch, the new core is impressive, featuring a number of performance enhancements.  However, consumer workloads tend to be lightly threaded, so the consumer workloads tend to fall short on the price-v-performance scale.

In the server market it's a very different tail.  Workloads here tend to be heavily threaded in many cases, such as virtualized infrastructures, web hosting, mobile device data serving, etc.

AMD's numbers may be a bit biased, but it's claiming to essentially match rival Intel Corp.'s (INTC) performance in HPC (high-performance computing) applications, such as chemical simulations, with a chip that's only half the cost.

AMD performance Opterons

Intel will likely respond with some aggressive price cuts to stay competitive, but for now it's faced with the puzzle of how to compete with a foe that offers twice as many cores at half the cost.

AMD Opteron 6300 Series pricing
Pricing (click to enlarge)

Unlike the consumer market, Intel and AMD are largely competing on the same node -- 32 nm -- for server chips.  This is because Intel has yet to announce E5 series chips based on Ivy Bridge, having only announced E3 series dual- and quad-core offerings.

We spoke with Michael Detwiler, AMD’s Server Product Marketing Manager, who says that AMD's focus it to be "real targeted, instead of trying to be everything to everybody."

He argues that AMD's new Opterons provide "more computations per dollar" than Intel's mixed 32 nm and 22 nm Xeon line.

Piledriver
Piledriver bakes in a number of enhancements (click to enlarge)

The chips feature a number of subtle improvements, including better branch prediction, new instruction set support, and a more efficient cache.  In other words, everything is looking good, although third-party benchmarks weren't available at launch.

Source: AMD



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Marketing Fluff
By Ammohunt on 11/6/2012 2:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
This is mostly marketing fluff and means little for the consumer market. On another not after i decided to retired my AMD based server hardware and use it as my main machine. I replaced an intel E8500 with a FX-6100 6 core and couldn't be happier. What convinced me was the valid argument made here and elsewhere that even mid range cpus run 99% of the games on the market with a good GPU. The 6 cores are nice to have because i have a need to run VM's for work. I have always preferred intel but right now the premium the want for their CPU's just isn't worth it IMHO.




RE: Marketing Fluff
By Argon18 on 11/30/2012 1:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
Precisely. It isn't about performance. And it isn't about price. It's about the ratio of the two: price/performance

Yes intel has some offerings now that in terms of absolute computing speed are ahead of AMD. But they cost a small fortune. Especially in the server market. Opteron absolutely crushes Xeon in the price/performance department. And to businesses and individuals alike, that translates into better value . In today's computing world where even a half-decade old CPU is more than enough for most casual tasks, it simply doesn't make sense to pay the intel premium to get the absolute fastest thing.


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