It was a long wait but some independent benchmarks of AMD's new quad-core processors have finally arrived. AnandTech is one of the first sites to take a look at AMD's new chips.
Check it out over here. The reviewer only had a few days to play with the Opteron 2350 processor but says it looks promising. Intel is still leading in the performance area with its Xeon x5365 3GHz processor but the new Barcelona processors from AMD have an attractive price/performance and are very energy efficient:
Considering that AMD prices this Opteron 2350 under the Xeon 5345, AMD has an attractive price/performance offering for most applications. The only exception is a chess engine and highly optimized Intel binaries. Although our testing is not finished yet, there is very little doubt that AMD's newest chip is very energy efficient. Add to that the fact that the AMD platform is not burdened with the extra power consumption of FB-DIMMs, and it is clear that the third generation of Opterons will lead in the performance/watt area for a few months. When you are looking for the highest performance however, Intel has still a solid advantage with it's 3 GHz Xeon x5365
The future looks very interesting with the 45nm Xeon Harpertown and a 2.5GHz AMD quad-core in the next quarter. AMD hasn't clearly hit a homerun this time, but at least they're playing in the same ballpark.
The Tech Report also had a look at the Opteron 2350 and Opteron 2360 SE. They say the new quad-core Opterons offer significant performance gains over the old dual-core predecessors and that MHz for MHz they are sometimes a bit faster, slower or equal of Intel's Core architecture.
Tests indicate the new quad-core processors have a higher power efficiency than Intel's quad-core Xeon processors but AMD fails to regain the performance crown as Intel's chips are clocked much higher.
Nonetheless, AMD now faces some harsh realities. For one, it is not going to capture the overall performance lead from Intel soon, not even in "Q4," which is when higher-clocked parts like the Opteron 2360 SE are expected to arrive. Given what we've seen, AMD will probably have to achieve something close to clock speed parity with Intel in order to compete for the performance crown. On top of that, Intel is preparing new 45nm "Harpertown" Xeons for launch some time soon, complete with a 6MB L2 cache, 1.6GHz front-side bus, clock speeds over 3GHz, and expected improvements in per-clock performance and power efficiency. These new Xeons could make life difficult for Barcelona.
Even though AMD officially announced the Barcelona processors today it will still take a while before these CPUs will really be available. AnandTech writes the Barcelona processors aren't fully matured yet - one of the chips even died after they finished running their benchmarks. It's expected that the big server makers will still wait a couple of months before they'll ship the first Barcelona servers.