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The first benchmarks we ran in our labs left very little doubt on Woodcrest's superiority at 3 GHz when compared to the fastest dual core Opteron 285 (2.6 GHz). However, we decided to provide the results at a later point as we prefer to add disciplines to the lineup that reflect various server scenarios. The benchmark section includes synthetical memory bandwidth benchmark results, showing that the quad channel solution offers an improvement, and power consumption measurements. We consider these very impressive, because they make very clear that Intel is likely to become the performance per Watt leader given the high performance in the first benchmark runs, while AMD still has the chance to remain more efficient per se.
It is pretty safe to say that Woodcrest will now be the best choice for 2P servers - as long as AMD doesn't answer with faster models and Socket F. Intel's FSB1333 interface at 333 MHz should be fast enough, and DIB makes sure that each processor receives the full bus bandwidth. While this may sound like an ample headroom for the future it actually is not: As soon as Intel's quad core Clovertown hits the market in early 2007, the Front Side Bus could easily be saturated.
However, we do not see Woodcrest knocking out AMD, since the HyperTransport architecture remains the best choice for 4P solutions thanks to its point-to-point layout and dedicated memory controller per processor. Also, socket F will accelerate HyperTransport links to make sure that multi-core processors don't suddenly saturate the interface.
Finally, Intel might have to convince SMB customers of the benefits of fully buffered memory, because a 2P Opteron system does still provide a very good value - especially if you can live with 4 - 8 GB of memory. FB-DIMMs will only have a serious benefit if multiple modules are deployed.
View the Woodcrest picture gallery.
Read the Woodcrest news brief on TG Daily.