Itanium2 1.5Ghz vs Opteron 1.6Ghz

Don´t know if there are many out here who are interested in this, but...

How do you think the new 1.5Ghz, 6MB-cache Itanium 2 (madison core) will stack up against the 1,6GHz Opteron in server/64-bit tasks? I do hope we´ll see this kind of comparison around the main hardware sites... (30th June is official date for 1.5Ghz Itanium 2). Opteron has a somewhat hard time matching the Xeons in workstation tasks, but it can outperform them by a long shot in server tasks. What about a similarly-clocked Itanium, or even the whole line of new Itaniums: 1.3Ghz (3MB cache), 1.4Ghz (4MB cache), 1.5Ghz (6MB cache)? (drool) :cool: They are looking good on paper!

Although... I know the IA-64 beasties are expensive as hell (the 1.3Ghz one will cost $1338, and the new top-notch 1.5Ghz will cost $4226 - and that´s not a typo). But they are interesting pieces of engineering... What do you guys think?
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  1. So are you going to buy 1.5Ghz 6MB cache Itanium? What the heck are you building with that setup?
  2. No, I´m most definitely not interested in Itanium for me. But the Physics Institute (where I work) might be interested in an institutional purchase as a high-performance server or high-performance computing/processing solution. Just as Opteron. The only thing is, Opteron is the first generation AMD 64-bit processor, and Intel has been playing longer in that field... so I´m interested in their next move. Don´t get me wrong: Opteron looks highly interesting too (they´re also cheaper). But the lack of reviews comparing Itanium to Opteron is irritating.

    In raw FPU operations, even AMD´s site shows Itanium 2 @ 1Ghz with 3MB cache and 180nm-based to beat an Opteron 144. Then again, the same Itanium has some Integer-problems which put it well behind opteron (Intel is supposedly addressing that with the Madison core). And considering its price, the 1Ghz Itanium is not that good a deal... But once scaled to 1.5Ghz and redesigned for 130nm, doubled cache, doubled transistor count, the Itanium 2 will probably be one scary beast! Can you imagine its floating point potential?...

    Ah well, I don´t know. Maybe I´m overly interested at those madisons...
  3. Good luck finding any benchmarks for Itanium, you will need it, i really dont think benchmark makers care eough to port any of thier software over to the Itanium architechture, and i really dont think many review sites have the ability to even ask Intel for an itanium server

    I believe the Itanium would be faster than the Opteron thats a given, but the price/perf difference would be too great, for probably the price of a 2-way madison itanium system you could probably buy a 4-way or possibly 8 way opteorn system which may have the same, or even higher performance, not to mention the backwards compatability if you have any programs which were never ported in 64-bit
  4. Did your Institute buy P4 1.4-1.6. If as most did, they stayed with intel even when it was a clear looser, there is little fear that they will jump to amd for so "important" a purchase. They will get you an itanium 2.
  5. Hm... yes, you´re probably right. But I´m not so blind as to happily spend $$$ on 1.5Ghz Madisons if there is no advantage to that. Not so stupid. Opteron is quite fascinating, and it costs soooo little in comparison :smile: .
  6. With the intel chip you are paying for a lot of R&D while AMD is trying to buy its way into a new market.
    The Itanium chip may look expensive, but you cant be looking at it alone. Here you have to look at the total price of all components. All that so I could say you have to "think inside the box" The total package is not much difference in price.
  7. You are comparing apples and oranges. The Opteron is an x86-64 processor using out-of-order and speculative execution, while Itanium is an IA-64 EPIC processor with x86 emulation.

    The Opteron's main advantage is that it is targeted at regular x86 code. But this also implies limited register sets, execution units and branch misprediction being a bottleneck. Scheduling instructions for maximum performance is hard because the order in which they are executed is unknown. Opteron is limited to 8 GB of RAM.

    Itanium requires recompilation of the code to make full use of it's capabilities. For this you get control over its 11 execution units and its 328 registers. Every clock cycle it can dispatch two bundles of three instructions each. To get this maximum performance it requires extensive scheduling but it is then guaranteed to run the most optimized. Itanium can handle up to 64 GB of RAM.
  8. Actually with built in mem controller and hypertransport, the opteron is capable of utilizing 1 TB of mem and of doing it more quickly than the Itanium. As far as registers go it has separate registers for use in 64 bit mode. Fortunately the Itanium 2 has more registers and is better optimised esp for SSE2.
  9. Erm, IA-64 doesn't have vector operations as far as I know. SSE/SSE2 are x86 extensions to allow vector calculations. IA-64's instruction format already allows for such operation bundling to be done without the need for SIMD.

    "We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
  10. I am also unaware of a 8GB-limitation in Opteron´s memory subsystem. I can´t really be sure that it has lower latency, although I´d probably be inclined to think so because of the integrated memory controller. Why don´t we see more Itanium benchmarks around?...

    I was under the impression - or rather, I read it somewhere - that Madison would have an increased FSB speed or something. Did I get that wrong? :frown: I´ve tried to find some Madison specifications, but I didn´t find much...
  11. There are several reasons why we don't commonly see Itanium 2 benchmarks.

    1. It's a server-level, special-purpose processor. How many Ultrasparc benchmarks do you see around? Spec results, Spec_Rate results, transaction speed, they're all listed for Itanium 2 as well.
    2. Lack of desktop/workstation-level applications for Itanium 2. Has Lightwave, 3dsmax or certain video editing programs even been ported to IA-64 yet?
    3. High cost of systems. No one's going to buy one just to run benchmarks and Intel's certainly not in the habit of giving them away.

    "We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
  12. The <A HREF="" target="_new">STREAM</A> benchmarks cover a wide variety of systems. However, I don't think there is an Opteron-based system in there yet. In any event, it'd be somewhat difficult to compare seeing as the kind of systems that use Itanium are proprietry. In any event, Opteron is targeted more at the Xeon / budget end of the server market where benchmarks are available.

    <A HREF="" target="_new">My PCs</A> :cool:
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