A new report by Neal Nelson indicates AMD beats Intel in 45nm low power quad-core servers. Here's the full press release:
A server configured with new AMD (NYSE: AMD) low power
Opteron "Shanghai HE" processors used 13 to 21 percent
less power while delivering better throughput when
compared to a virtually identical server configured with
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) Xeon "low power" processors. The
test results were collected during extensive testing by
Neal Nelson, an independent computer performance
consultant. The results have been given the consultant's
money back accuracy guarantee.
"The AMD based server beat the Intel based server in our
tests. We processed millions of transactions against a
real database and we measured the total throughput and
the total power used by the servers. We are certain of
the accuracy of our test results and we provide our
customers with a money back guarantee. If a system
under-performs in the real world, we will take it back
and refund the purchase price." commented Neal Nelson,
president of the consulting firm.
The servers were tested with three different transaction
workloads: a calculation intensive workload, a disk I/O
intensive workload and the "idle" state when the server
was powered up and waiting for transactions to arrive.
The entire test suite was run twice, first with 4 gigabytes
and then with 16 gigabytes of main memory.
For the calculation intensive workload the Opteron
reported 1.0 to 6.3 percent higher throughput. The disk
intensive throughput tests ranged from 1.1 percent favoring
the Xeon to 5.0 percent favoring the Opteron. The power
consumption, however, favored the Opteron in every test with
a range of 13.1 to 20.8 percent. When the power readings
were normalized by throughput the Opteron advantage ranged
from 21.8 to 26.8 percent.
The servers used in this test had virtually identical
configurations. The only notable differences were that the
Intel server had an 8 percent faster clock frequency with
2.5 versus 2.31 gigahertz, and the Intel server used "Fully
Buffered" memory modules (FB-DIMMs).
Nelson has observed that for several years Intel has been
asserting that it's central processing units (CPUs) are more
power efficient than comparable CPUs from AMD. Intel, however,
does not discuss the fact that, for the current generation
of Xeon server CPUs, the Intel architecture requires an external
memory controller chip as part of the server chipset (this is not
required for the AMD CPUs) and that Intel mandates the use of
FB-DIMM-based memory technology which draws more power than
the DDR2 memory technology used by AMD processor-based servers.
The net effect of these architectural differences is that an
Intel based server can draw more power at the platform-level
when compared to an AMD based server that delivers comparable
throughput. A server's total throughput and total power
consumption are much more important than whether some
individual computer chip consumes more or less power.
The Nelson test results should not be confused with power
usage test results from the Standard Performance Evaluation
Corporation (SPEC). The SPECPower test was created by a
committee of engineers from computer manufacturers (including
Intel). SPEC issues a disclaimer which specifically states
that the test results may not predict real world experiences.
The Nelson test was designed and executed entirely by an
independent computer consultant and Nelson offers a money back
guarantee of its accuracy.
Nelson's firm has over 35 years experience providing data
processing consulting services to some of the world's largest
computer customers including the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, the
Internal Revenue Service, McDonalds, WalMart and Federal
Express. Nelson operates a benchmarking laboratory that is
available to commercial and government users for independent
computer performance tests.