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IBM Opts for AMD 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-chip dept.
ExE122 writes "Since the unveiling of the low-cost, low-energy AMD Operton in 2003, Intel has been struggling in the server-grade processor insdustry. Now, IBM has announced their decision to use the AMD Opteron processor in their new line of BladeCenter servers. System x3455, x3655 and x3755 rack-mount servers, two-way Bladecenter LS21, and four-way LS41 blade servers sporting the new AMD processors have already been announced. IBM will continue this transition over the next three months.

From the article:
"IBM's choice is by all means an important victory over rival Intel, which is struggling to sell the remaining deposit of server processors before the general acceptance of Woodcrest X5100 chips. Unfortunately for Intel, at the end of the second quarter, Advanced Micro had 26 per cent of the market for servers built on personal computer chips, more than double its share a year earlier, according to Mercury Research."

Could this be lights out for Intel?"
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IBM Opts for AMD

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  • by SIGALRM (784769) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:52PM (#15836932) Journal
    Earlier this year, Sun announced new Galaxy servers based on the new 3.0GHz Opteron chips (called x56 chips). As part of this announcement, Sun announced 16 new benchmark records. Among the new records, (using Sun Studio Compilers btw):
    • New SPEC CPU 2000 FPrates for V40z, beating Dell PowerEdge 6850 based on Xeon on similar benchmark
    • New SPEC CPU 2000 FPrates for SunFire X4100, X4200 servers
    • Best SPEC CPU 2000 FP numbers on SunFire X2100 servers
  • Nice! (Score:5, Funny)

    by JanusFury (452699) <kevin.gadd@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:54PM (#15836943) Homepage Journal
    You'd think that with AMD sponsoring Slashdot, they could at least spell 'Opteron' right once or twice in stories...
  • by Jtoxification (678057) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:54PM (#15836944) Homepage Journal
    You just opened the floodgates, Mister. But yes, I love AMD - look at my sig for the sake of /.

    Intel is going nowhere, however - there are far too many consumer-oriented PC corps out there that adore Intel. And sheesh, AMD has been on the short end for so long, it's hard to imagine that a corp like Intel couldn't wait it out, too.
  • by fuzz6y (240555) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:54PM (#15836947)
    Could this be lights out for Intel?

    No. No it could not.
    • by davidsyes (765062) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:57PM (#15836962) Homepage Journal
      But, it could be the dimmer switch, or the swimmer ditch for them...
    • by kingkade (584184) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:02PM (#15836986)
      Not if AMD's stock price in the recent 6 months is any indication. it's gone from around 42 to 17. AMD has accomplished a lot but Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest seem way too impressive to deny. Intel may finally strike back, especially considering AMD still needs to move to a 65nm process by the end of the year, no less. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.
      • by Barny (103770)
        Woodcrest (and conroe for that matter) are awsome single cpu solutions, the unified L2 cache and extended proccessing options allow them to bypass most speed problems of traditional code (cache coherancy thrashing, unoptomized code, etc) but all this gain is LOST when useing 2 CPUs (differant sockets) running in 64 bit mode, you will thrash the cache just like usual, the fancy microcode optimizer disables, it all falls apart.

        Intel have put a lot of nifty tricks into these new chips, tricks that will only wo
        • But "single CPU" doesn't quite mean the same thing anymore when talking about dual core chips. All those systems that were dualies would now be singles. And of course it doesn't matter for clusters, nor for blades (which have their own memory on each blade). So are we just talking about quad-core servers here? Or future 4 and more core x86 chips that don't exist yet?
          • by edmudama (155475)
            Not all "blades" are single-socket implementations. Sun's flagship x86 blade is 4 sockets/8 cores using the Opteron 885, with up to 32GB of shared memory for those 4 sockets.

            It would make sense for blades to appear in all sorts of configurations, depending on what application is being targeted and the available budget.
        • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:11AM (#15837524) Homepage
          all this gain is LOST when useing 2 CPUs (differant sockets) running in 64 bit mode, you will thrash the cache just like usual, the fancy microcode optimizer disables, it all falls apart.

          Sorry, but there is no evidence for this. Real-world benchmarks show that 2-socket, 64-bit Woodcrest systems have good performance (usually better than Opteron).
          • by Anonymous Coward
            I'd like to see one of those benchmarks. Intel 64 bit mode was pig-slow on previous generation of Xeons and I haven't seen any benchmarks for Woodcrest running 64 bit code.
          • by Visaris (553352) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:59AM (#15838830) Journal
            Intel's own tech documents state that their famous "Micro-Ops Fusion" does not work in 64-bit mode. This feature is one of the main features that make the Core2 architecture as fast as it is. Losing this knocks performance down around 5 to 6 percent, which puts Opteron just that much closer.

            xbitlabs [xbitlabs.com] has some more details.

            No one is trying to say that Woodcrest isn't a good 64-bit chip. We are just telling it like it is: woodcrest does not gain much from 32 -> 64-bit code (in some cases it is a bit slower), while the Opteron gains decently almost across the board.
      • by Comatose51 (687974) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:30PM (#15837102) Homepage
        Your post seems to imply that AMD's stock price went down because of the Conroe and that the market has decided that the Conroe will crush AMD. That's misleading. Intel has recently slashed prices quite dramatically and initiated a new price war with AMD. That's the real cause of the stock price drop as margins in both companies are go down. The effects of new technology on Wall Street's thinking takes a little while to sink in. They're not nearly as quick as Slashdot.
        • by kingkade (584184)
          Your post seems to imply that AMD's stock price went down because of the Conroe

          I didn't imply anything or at least wasn't trying to. Ths stock price went down because of the repeated downgrading (first by UBS, if I believe). Since then even the Dell niche had little impact when it rose from around 30 up to 35 and then proceeded to tank toward 17. I agree that those downgrading is because of Intel dropping prices -- because they can afford to. or at least more than AMD can. Couple that with Conroe, and I r
          • by nessus42 (230320)
            You're underestimating traders.
            I think not. Wall Street has shown time and time again that they are generally sheep with absolutely no ability to predict the future.

            This criticism, however, applies just as much to the average Slashdot participant.

            |>oug
        • Your post seems to imply that AMD's stock price went down because of the Conroe and that the market has decided that the Conroe will crush AMD. That's misleading. Intel has recently slashed prices quite dramatically and initiated a new price war with AMD. That's the real cause of the stock price drop as margins in both companies are go down. The effects of new technology on Wall Street's thinking takes a little while to sink in. They're not nearly as quick as Slashdot.

          Quite right. And please remember tha
      • Um it started at 17? went higher and went back down. AMD has always been a consistent stock (in the last 5 years or so atleast)
      • by styrotech (136124) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @05:20AM (#15838119)
        One thing that seems apparent to me is how AMD comes out with better technology than Intel, and it takes literally many years of hard slog for AMD before the rest of the (non tech geek) world finally seems to grudgingly accept this.

        Then when Intel comes out with better technology after all those years, suddenly before the hardware is even released the whole world has seemingly swung back to Intel in the space of a few days.

        The marketing guys at AMD must be wondering just what it takes to overcome the massive gravity of Intels mindshare.
        • by 2nd Post! (213333)
          If AMD tried the "family" approach, with ads and marketing of how Athlons enabled heart warming success stories...

          A GI chatting with his girlfriend over VideoChat
          A mom making a DVD of her newborn addressed to her own mom
          A dad making a movie of his boy's baseball game

          Things like that. Right now by focusing on price, value, or performance they paint themselves as me-toos and knock-offs.
    • I beg to differ. Absolutely, indubitably this is the end for Intel. Anyone who argues otherwise is clearly a fool, an Intel phanboi, or someone with a lot of Intel stock. The question is purely rhetorical, and not in any way intended to generate faux commentary or a flamewar.
  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:55PM (#15836956) Journal
    Intel are still ahead in market share, and have just released some very competitive chips.

    I'm an AMD supporter, but the near future is them trying to hold the ground they've recently taken, not expanding further.

    (And Intel probably the reserves to stuff up again, be uncompetitive for a few years, and still make a comeback with the next generation of chips.)
    • I own stocks in both Intel and AMD, and I've got to agree with this statement. AMD needs to hold ground between now and 1Q 2007 when it can get their 65nm and quad-core chips to the market.
      • As my faithful readers on slashdot are well aware, I cannot make head or tail of anything technological unless there is an automotive analogy of some kind (no matter how tortured) to explain things.

        So here's how I see it:

        AMD started to show signs of pulling ahead with the Athlon, and recently pulled ahead by at least a lap. However, Intel looks like it is about to regain that lap and pass AMD with its new family of CPUs. Many race fans, not just the usual Intel fans are excited about the prospects. Just as
  • Odd.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VikingThunder (924574) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:57PM (#15836961)
    It's kind of odd how everybody is jumping on the AMD train when Intel is finally having viable products with their new architecture (For instance, Dell finally jumping on board).
    • Re:Odd.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by OverlordQ (264228)
      (For instance, Dell finally jumping on board).

      When has Dell *not* been on board the Intel Train?
    • It's not odd.

      AMD will now have to drop prices, and why would AMD cpus suck today if they have ruled yesterday. They are just a good deal, especialy since new Intel CPUs (and even more, their
      motherboards) are still unproven. (and quite expensive due to low availability).
  • by slyborg (524607) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:58PM (#15836965)
    Paul Otellini : "AMD has 26% of the market? Well, screw that - if we can't have 75% of the market, we're outta here. Call up Slashdot, let 'em know we're closing the doors tomorrow."

    • The point wasn't the size of the market share, the point was how much AMD's market share grew. If AMD's market share continues to grow at the current rate, Intel wil be out of business within a few years. Not that I think that likely, but it's a more valid point than you make it out to be.
  • by TerranFury (726743) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:58PM (#15836967)

    Better question: Is this lights out for the Power line?

    IBM seems to be giving up on their Power cores. That's what concerns me, because it looked like they had a big shot of gaining territory in the gaming-and-entertainment market.

    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      I don't think so, but I think IBM has realized that there is just a big market out there for x86-based server hardware, and if they don't provide it to the customer, somebody else (Dell/HPaq) will.

      My understanding is that their new generation of blade servers will let you mix and match Power and x86/Opteron blades on the same backplane, so that you can mix and match whatever you want, in order to fill your needs.

      Frankly, this might be a good thing for Power if it's true, since it might allow customers who a
    • This concernds the Blade systems only, which were Xeon before, and does not at all affect their Regatta lines based on Power architecture, which are still the ones you see in the top500 clusters. I'm not sure what new stuff we can expect on the power line though.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)
      IBM offers x86 and Power5 based solutions for years. The PowerPC used in IBM servers and Workstations is very different from the ones Apple shipped in their desktop computers.

      Gaming territory is almost invaded by PowerPC RISC chips. Even XBox 360 uses sort of PowerPC and Cell processor in PS3 is also PowerPC.

      The chips used in servers are from same standard (PowerPC) and shares some stuff but completely different. We are speaking about some monsters here.

      Can check here for more info http://www-03.ibm.com/chi [ibm.com]
      • Sorry to niggle on a slight detail, but it's my understanding that the IBM server chips are called Power, not PowerPC. PowerPC are special "cut down" versions of the Power CPUs for the desktop and workstations (and Apple servers, and the embedded market for Freescale).
        • Once upon a time, there were two architectures, POWER and PowerPC. These shared a large common subset of instructions, but each had a few not supported by the other. If you tried to run POWER software on PowerPC (or vice versa), each unsupported instruction could be trapped by the OS and emulated; AIX did this in some PowerPC-based workstations, for example. Most compilers, including gcc, can target the common subset, and produce code that will run on POWER of PowerPC.

          These days, IBM continues the POWER

    • by stevesliva (648202) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:49PM (#15837197) Journal
      IBM is most definitely not giving up on Power6 or Cell just because they're announcing Opteron blades. You have to remember this is IBM. They'll still sell you a System Z mainframe to run your COBOL code from 1972 on VM. Or you could run linux on it, if you'd like.


      The next Power processor will be the Power6 [wikipedia.org], and is supposed to come out next year. It's still be dual core, but meant to run at 4-5GHz. They also continue with PowerPC products [tradingmarkets.com], even without Apple.

      • If the Power6 is 4-5GHz and they don't figure out a way to make it run cooler, then you'll need water cooling on the servers. That's not easy and not cheap. I've seen water cooling on racks (basically heat exchangers) but internal to a server is very different. Intel gave up on the high GHz due to HEAT and I don't recall the Power chips being much cooler than Intel chips. BTW, it's called the "Z-series" and it's all the IBM mainframes (except AS400s) from small to HUGE.
        • BTW, it's called the "Z-series" and it's all the IBM mainframes (except AS400s) from small to HUGE.
          You missed the re-branding [ibm.com], obviously.

          If you really want to debate semantics, I could point out that the AS/400 became the iSeries, which is of course now the System i, which runs on power5.

  • by jbellis (142590) <jonathan.carnageblender@com> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:02PM (#15836984) Homepage
    Let's see... 100 minus 26... carry the 9... that leaves 74% share left for Intel, right? I'm going to have to go with "No, doesn't look like lights out."

    Please, quit it with the retarded questions at the end of the article summaries.

    --
    Carnage Blender [carnageblender.com]: Meet interesting people. Kill them.
  • by RLiegh (247921) * on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:04PM (#15836996) Homepage Journal
    Of course, as we all know, THIS the year that Linux takes over the desktop, and MS goes down the drain.

    Gee, I love living in Slashdot Land!
  • Not too suprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jjthe2 (684242) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:10PM (#15837022)
    You know this switch was coming sooner or later. AMD already does a lot of their serious R&D at IBM. They'll be the same company within 5 years.
    • Re:Not too suprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stevesliva (648202) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:05AM (#15837278) Journal
      You know this switch was coming sooner or later. AMD already does a lot of their serious R&D at IBM.
      Sort of. They're definitely sharing the Silicon-on-Insulator and some Strained Silicon secret sauce for a few process nodes, and even settling on some process compatibility-- Chartered Semi is now a second source for both AMD processors and the IBM-designed XBox processor. I wouldn't belittle AMD's own R&D, though. They're doing good things at Dresden.


      However. Process codevelopment hardly predicts systems codevelopment-- Just ask Sony and Toshiba, who collaborate on silicon but are on opposite sides of the HDDVD vs BluRay battle.

  • by gethoht (757871) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:12PM (#15837034)
    Core 2 Duo is posed to dominate the desktop market unless AMD comes back with a strong chip ASAP.
    It seems to me intel will gain back some lost market share with the Core 2 Duo.

    It's ridiculous to add the "end of intel" comment to the end of the article.
    • I agree, all these "the end of Intel" comments are so off base it's comical. First, Intel is coming out with new chips that are already kicking the butt of AMD's best chips. Second, Intel still has over 50% of the market, no matter how you look at it. And third, AMD does not have the production capacity to provide chips for 100% of the market share even if they had it. That means that even if the market demanded more AMD, they would have to either turn them away or put them on a very very long waiting l
      • DO you really think AMD is not planning to increase capacity? They are going to increase it. Will they ever be as big as Intel? Maybe, if Intel keeps screwing up like they have for the last 5 years of producing overpriced ceramic heaters. Don't forget this article is just about Opterons, not all CPU types. They can cover plenty more customers in that market right now.
        • Time to build a new fab, from the ground up, is around 4 years (and 4billion dollors). Last time I looked, AMD wasn't expanding very quickly or had the assets to build many fabs in parallel. Intel's current generation sucks, even Intel people will admit that. But the current direction is much more efficent and has great performance, so I definatly think we'll see Intel regain market share.
          • Look into the deal to use Chartered Semiconductor as a second source for AMD processors. If that works out, they don't need to build fabs to expand capacity.
          • by rts008 (812749) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:53AM (#15837467) Journal
            "But the current direction is much more efficent and has great performance, so I definatly think we'll see Intel regain market share."

            I agree 100% for the short-term, but I don't count AMD out of the picture. (short-term: Intel kicks butt, medium-term, AMD kicks butt, long term: lather, rinse, repeat)

            Note this: (http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtm l;jsessionid=VCQM2KMTL4VXUQSNDBECKHSCJUMEKJVN?arti cleID=188700612)

            (quote from above link) "EE Times: With fab 38, AMD is planning to install a very modern production line. But this fab will launch production only in two years. What are AMDs plans for the time between?

            Udo Nothelfer: Presently, the main focus of Fab 36 is an aggressive ramp-up for 90-nm chips on 300 mm. Also we are about to complete the 65-nm technology qualification and will bring them to production in the second half of 2006.

            EE Times: Are the technological issues solved, especially regarding lithography and materials?

            Nothelfer: With the relevant problems, we are through. We are nicely on track and will reach our goal in the second half of the year. Our next major challenge will be the rapid ramp-up of 65-nm volume production. Our goal is quite aggressive: By mid-2007, we want to have the conversion to 65-nm in fab 36 done. "

            He (Nothelfer) then starts talking about the 45 nm hurdles they are working on.

            I'm sure Intel is also forging ahead (one hint: get rid of the wole FSB concept, HyperTransport works!), and it will take a long time (if ever) for AMD to break over the 50% market share, but AMD increasing it's market share by any significant amount has an effect on Intel.

            BTW, I happen to be partial to AMD cpu's, but I am not a rabid fanboy, I have both AMD cpu's(2), and Intel cpu's (3) on my home network.

            Core Duo is a big step up for Intel, and I expect them to take full advantage of this while they can, then AMD will step in with their volley.

            Who wins? So far, the customers. Hopefully that will continue, as I for one welcome my Star Trek computer-like overlords!
  • by Dr_Art (937436) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:22PM (#15837069) Journal
    I think TFA misses an important point. It's not whether Intel or AMD captures the entire market, or what market share these two players have. With only two major players, I'd say the main problem is that we have too little competition, not too much!

    Regards,
    Art
  • by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:23PM (#15837071)
    Is this the Apple Curse coming to fruition? Any chip supplier Apple picks seems to constantly have problems. It happened with Motorola, it happened with IBM, now Intel for goodness sake! Let's just hope Intel doesn't start having major production issues out of the blue.
    • Funny really but if you think, Apple had option to be more "neutral" between AMD and Intel. They decided to be exclusive Intel people again tying themselves to one particular company,

      I mean, it is x86, you can select between AMD and Intel and offer BOTH brands.

      Even Dell offers AMD stuff...
      • Re:Apple Curse? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mochan_s (536939)

        That's because windows supports both AMD and Intel architechtures in windows. They may both be x86 but all the enchancements they've done for optimizations are really different - like multimedia instructions, pipelining stuff are probably all different. So there is probably a little bit more involved in supporting AMD CPUs.

      • Re:Apple Curse? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thesandtiger (819476)
        I remember when Apple first chose Intel over AMD and people were screeching that they were stupid to do so because AMD chips at the time were far superior. Jobs had said something about seeing what Intel had coming up - and I have to say, for Apple's purposes and needs (fast chips, abundant supply) the Intel switch was the exact right idea. Had they gone with AMD, they'd have the lesser (at this point) of two options for their desktop/portables and possibly some supply concerns. I love AMD stuff, but they a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Even with their new Woodcrest CPU finally making it out of vapourware status, Intel has no real answer to Opteron in the 4P and above server space. Itanium is a failed venture that is on life support. It often performs worse than Opteron systems much much cheaper, so no hope there.

    Intel might regain a little marketshare in the 1P/2P server space with Woodcrest, but they're still in full retreat in the Enterprise market as more and more companies move to 4P+ servers.

    Seeing as AMD are releasing Socket F and R
  • by Black-Six (989784) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:46PM (#15837182)
    I recently Googled "AMD Quad Core" and clicked on the first or second result and read the article. If this article holds true, AMD could very well blow Intel off the map and into orbit. The article said that the recent buyout of chip maker ATI is part of a grander strategy by AMD to take a bite out of Intel. The article said that the current CPU dye made by any manufactuer contains 18 individual components, minus the cores, to create the CPU dye. AMD's 4x4 quad core slated to launch in early '07 is being rebuilt from the ground up. AMD is going to attempt to modularize a CPU dye to allow for quicker, cheaper, and easier manufactuering. By that they mean that each individual component will be interchangeable and have an on dye socket to be plugged into. A good visual image of this is building blocks. Identically shaped and sized units rearranged to create a new structure. The article said that the only difference hardware wise between an Opteron and an 64 X2 is 3 components. If AMD is successful in modularizing the CPU dye, this article estimates that AMD will have "entry level" 4x4 CPU's in 8000-9000+ range avaliable to CONSUMERS for around $400-$600 and industry quality models at around $1000 on the low end. Only time will tell if this is true, but for me, I hope it comes true as I'm being asked at school by the teachers as to who will have the better CPU in the future and my answer is "AMD of course.".
    • You're forgetting two very important factors:

      1. More cores does not necessarily a faster CPU make. Simply adding more cores isn't going to be enough for AMD. Every core you add tags on overhead... in many cases I would venture to guess 8 cores would be SLOWER than 1.

      2. Exactly how many applications out there right now are able to take advantage of 8 cpu's? Most everyday business applications people use aren't even SMP aware.
  • by saleenS281 (859657) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:47PM (#15837185) Homepage
    IBM already has bladecenters with opterons... [ibm.com] why is this news? How is this a defeat for Intel? IBM is basically announcing a refresh of their current lineup... you can bet your ass they'll be doing the same thing when intel rolls out the new Xeon in full force as well.

    Remember kids, just because you like to pull for the underdog, doesn't mean it's OK to make false statements about the king.
  • by tetromino (807969) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:47PM (#15837187)
    Intel dead? Have you people been living in a cave for the past few months?

    Look at some [anandtech.com] benchmarks [anandtech.com]. The new 5100 series Xeons with the Woodcrest core have been out since June, and a dual Woodcrests crush dual Opterons in almost every test. AMD's only hope at the moment is HyperTransport, with which they rule the market for 4-socket servers (Intel's old-fashioned FSB doesn't really scale to 4 sockets). But thanks to Core2 (Conroe and Woodcrest), Intel has taken over the 1-socket and 2-socket market. Prepare to see AMD's market share take a nosedive.

    I am generally an AMD fanboy, but my next system will use Intel chips. Now that Core2 is here, I am simply not interested in an antiquated AMD chip which can only complete an SSE2 operation once every two cycles. Until the K8L comes out, it's Intel Inside for me.
    • Is Intel really that good above 1 socket? I was led to believe that a 2-socket Woodcrest system has real bandwidth problems, because the inter-chip communication must go over the FSB. You're saying that the problems only set in at 4 sockets, but why not then also at 2 sockets?
      • Intel mitigates its lack of a modern bus by giving each 771 socket its own FSB to the northbridge (making the northbridge much more complicated as a side effect), upping the frequencey of that FSB to 1333 MHz, and implementing a very clever memory prefetch algorithm to hide resulting northbridge latency. Plus, of course, tons of cache to help limit the amount of data you need to send over the bus. As a result, a dual Woodcrest will still kick a dual Opteron's ass, although Woodcrest on HyperTransport would
        • Thanks for the info. Two further questions: how is cache coherency handled? And how will the pricing of a 2-socket Woodcrest system compare to that of a two-socket dual-core Opteron system?
          • how is cache coherency handled [in Woodcrest/Blackford]?

            Bus transactions that need to be seen by the other processor will be reflected onto the other FSB by the northbridge. So even though there are two FSBs, the effective bandwidth is not quite twice because of the broadcast traffic. (This is essentially the same scheme used by the PowerPC 970 and AMD K7, BTW.)

            And how will the pricing of a 2-socket Woodcrest system compare to that of a two-socket dual-core Opteron system?

            You can bet that Intel will make it
          • how is cache coherency handled? And how will the pricing of a 2-socket Woodcrest system compare to that of a two-socket dual-core Opteron system?

            Cache coherence between the cores on one Woodcrest chip is ensured automatically using some sort of internal intercore bus (in fact, the two cores actually share the same pool of L2 cache). However, for cache coherence between sockets, Woodcrest does have to pass a message down the FSB, to the northbridge, and up the second FSB to the other socket, which is no the

    • by kscguru (551278) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:39AM (#15837599)
      Crap benchmarks. Seriously, those reek to high heaven.
      • Comparing FB-DIMM to DDR. FB-DIMM has something like 4x the bandwidth, and isn't even available outside Intel OEM samples. AMD is moving to DDR2 real soon. Comparing pre-production Intel parts to half-year-old AMD parts isn't benchmarking. It's PR.
      • The benchmark list is mostly home-brewed. A hacked-together transaction processor (when there are industry standard ones out there for comparison - TPC numbers would be ideal), and RSA crypto optimized for the Intel processor.
      • Their SAMP benchmark and portgresSQL benchmark are worthless (they dropped to single-socket for them). The only common ones on the list are specInt and specFP - both single-processor benchmarks that don't show scalability.
      • The second link is a well-known example of Anand running a benchmark and discovering severe performance problems (i.e. mysql scales very poorly with more Opteron processors due to a mysql bug) - then still proclaiming Intel's huge victory.
      Woodcrest is faster in single processor configurations. Duh - it's a preproduction model compared to AMD's 3-year-old design. These benchmarks ultimately say NOTHING about multiprocessor configurations - I have yet to see any useful 2-socket benchmarks.
  • Spin Away.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by thesupraman (179040) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:54PM (#15837222)
    Wow, AMD Really are spnning evrything they can get their hands on in the last few weeks - could it be that they are trying to divert attention away from something?
    Let me think.. what was AMDs last real news?? When is the next major milestone in their processor lineup?

    What goes around comes around.. Intel have been busy beavers for a while, relying on their rapidly aging netburst architecure, and hurting for it, while they got their next generation in order - perhaps AMD should have done a bit more work to have an answer ready... oh well.

    IBM of course will do anything to divert server attention away from Intel, due to the fact that they have their own large-systems architecture to support - Power, and Intels ia64 is a competitor, whereas AMD have nothing even close to that market - of course IBM want people to like AMD and avoid Intel...

    I think the correct technical term is 'Duh!'
  • DOOM AND GLOOM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Could this be lights out for Intel?

    Do the editors really think that adding stupid little phrases like this to every article enhance the experience? Why do we need to read this every time that something happens that gives an avatage to Intel or AMD? Sheesh, give us a break.

    Minnesota twins batters hit 2 home runs in yesterdays game. Could this spell apocalptic doom and drawn out painful deaths for the New York Yankees?
  • by Rotten168 (104565) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:03AM (#15837269) Homepage
    AMD needs competition just as Intel does. More competition = good.
  • by BigFootApe (264256) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @12:25AM (#15837346)
    Everyone keeps talking about K8L. If they can deliver it in the short term (hah!), great, but what they really need is K8 Rev. G.

    A current AM2 K8 dual core with 512k+512k cache is similar in size to Conroe with a 15% (roughly) disadvantage in performance (at common price brackets). Moving to 65nm will drastically reduce die sizes, allowing AMD to squeeze more chips on each silicon wafer, even compared to Conroe.

    Consequently, AMD will be able to sell their chips to us at really cheap prices while still making a good profit, building a war-chest for when K8L faces off against CxQ. Then we repeat the whole process again when Intel moves to 45nm.

    I think having a 4m L2 cache might be a bit of a boat anchor around Intel's neck when it comes to manufacturing. Time will tell.
    • Actually, caches are easy to lay out on chip and manufacture. In fact, it's much harder to lay out complex logic. In fact, it is interesting to speculate on how having the HT controller on the die, compared to plain cache, could affect yields for AMD compared to Intel. Of course, speculation is all you can do, because there's no way you can get those numbers from either company.

      Of course, Intel will have the same challenge when CSI is supposed to be on line in the higher-end models in 2008. Also, it will be
  • by fbg111 (529550) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @01:46AM (#15837611)
    Yes, of course. Absolutely, indubitably this is the end for Intel. Anyone who argues otherwise is clearly a fool, an Intel phanboi, or someone with a lot of Intel stock.
  • by Don_dumb (927108) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @02:47AM (#15837788)
    I thought IBM were chucking the new Uber-chip the Cell into blades and this was going to revolutionise the world [/hype], did it not work? Or haven't they actually put these on sale yet?
    I would have though that this would at least muddy the waters a bit with the whole Intel vs AMD war on IBM servers.
    • The Cell processor [wikipedia.org] is an in-order execution chip with strong focus on floating point. For this reason it will probably be really good for scientific calculations and simulation, but not very practical for general server-applications.

      The Opteron servers and the Cell servers will most likely live side by side in the product offering from IBM. Apples and Oranges and all that...
      • So to clarify, the Cell servers are likely to be used for some 'power processing applications' (graphic rendering?) but the Opterons for file, database and client application servers.
        Surely the Cell will still take some of the market away from the other two, even if a limited part of the market?
      • Apples and Oranges and all that...


        Considering the article and discussion ... should that be "Apples and Windows and all that..."? :)
  • by eshefer (12336) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @08:08AM (#15838572) Homepage Journal
    when a slashdot editor writes "could this be lights out for companyX" when companyY is a sponsering vendor [slashdot.org].. I have a feeling you guys are heading twards shark-jumping waters fast.

    this is a design win for AMD, yes. and an important one at that. but this is a far cry from lights out for intel. jeezz.
  • by Glasswire (302197) <.glasswire. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday August 03, 2006 @09:09AM (#15838917) Homepage
    For 4-way MP, one of the reasons that IBM Xeons (like x366) have been excellent performers is the sophisticated memory controller hub chipset ("X architecture", the 'Hurricane' chipset) which has an advanced L4 cache and snoop filter integrated. What IBM now calls the x3850 (basically same as x366) still has this advantage - and combined with the new Intel 'Tulsa' Xeon MP chips with huge L3 caches, IBM should probably outperform their generic design x3655 Opteron (and other Opteron 4-way boxes). The real reason, I suspect, why IBM is doing this is not so much technical (they have felt their Xeon MPs were competative against Opteron 4-ways) but that there is now an AMD market mindshare which had created a disadvantage in some corporate accounts that had adopted the other AMD 4-ways (generally the HP 585) and were happy with it - IBM felt shutout wherever AMD fanboys became dominiant in IT thinking.

    In the 2-way DP space the new IBM x3650 with Xeon 5100 series Woodcrest (and any other Woodcrest based DP) will be as good or better than anything AMD throws at the DP space in 2006 -incl the new 2.8GHz F socket stuff.

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