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Processors

Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron Battle Head to Head
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Intel Xeon "Dempsey"

Intel's dual core Xeon, codenamed Dempsey, was released in May 2006 under the 5000-series model number. As with all Xeons, it is basically a standard desktop version CPU with added symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) capabilities. In this case, the CPU is the same as the Presler Pentium Extreme Edition (EE), which is basically the final revision of the dual core Pentium D (Netburst) using two Cedar Mill cores based on a 65 nm process.

The Dempsey Xeon has a range of 2.67 to 3.73 GHz with corresponding model numbers ranging between 5030 and 5080. With Dempsey, Intel introduced the Bensley platform (5000 series Chipset) using Socket 771 (also known as Socket J). The Dempsey, Woodcrest and the soon to come Clovertown (quad-core) Xeon processors all make use of this new platform. For our tests we decided to use the top of the range Xeon 5080, which runs at 3.73 GHz via a 1066 MHz bus and has 2 MB of L2 cache per core (4 MB total).

Intel Xeon "Woodcrest"

"Woodcrest" is the codename for Intel's new dual core server/workstation processor. It was introduced in June 2006 - only one month after the introduction of the Xeon Dempsey - and is based on the Core 2 microarchitecture. According to Intel, this design boosts performance by 80% while consuming 20% less power than the older Netburst-based Xeon processors.

The Woodcrest Xeon has a clock speed range of 1.6 to 3.0 GHz with corresponding model numbers of 5110 to 5160. As in the Dempsey Xeon, the Woodcrest also makes use of the new Bensley platform and Socket 771. For a more in-depth analysis of the Xeon 5100 series take a look at our Woodcrest article.. We chose the fastest available model, the Xeon 5160, for our test; this processor has clock speed of 3.0 GHz, uses a 1333 MHz bus and has 4 MB of shared L2 cache.

AMD Opteron "Italy"

The Opteron is AMD's answer to the Intel Xeon processor and is intended to compete in the server/workstation market. The first "multi core" Opteron CPUs were released in May 2005 and have since become a hit in the server market.

For our comparison we will be looking at the Opteron 200 series codenamed "Italy". It makes use of a 940-pin socket specifically designed for server platforms, which only accepts registered ECC memory. The 200 series is based on a 90 nm architecture and ranges in speed from 1.8 to 2.6 GHz, with corresponding model numbers between 265 and 285. For this test we used the top of the line Opteron 285, which runs at 2.6 GHz and has 1 MB of L2 cache per core (2 MB total).

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