Price Comparisons

Clearly, six cores and 16MB of L3 cache does not come cheap:

Pricing and TDP of the Xeon 74xx series

Let us see how this compares with the current AMD pricing, which AMD has not updated since March 2008.

Server CPU Pricing
Intel CPU Price AMD CPU Price
Xeon X7460 2.66GHz (6 core, 16MB) $2729  
Xeon E7450 2.4GHz (6 Core, 12MB) $2301 Opteron 8360 SE 2.5GHz $2149
Xeon E7440 2.4GHz (12MB) $1980 Opteron 8358 SE 2.4GHz $1865
Xeon E7430 2.13GHz (12MB) $1391 Opteron 8356 2.3GHz $1514
Xeon E7420 2.13GHz (8MB) $1177 Opteron 8354 2.2GHz $1165
  Opteron 8350 2.0GHz $873
Xeon L7455 2.13GHz (6 core, 12MB) $2729  
Xeon L7445 2.13GHz (12MB) $1980 Opteron 8347 HE 1.9GHz $873

If we use the numbers from our quad socket comparison, it is clear that the two top models of the newest Xeons are out of reach of AMD. You might remember that a 2.5GHz Opteron 8360 performs more or less at the level of a 2.93GHz Xeon X7350. The E7450 that replaces the X7350 has six improved cores and a massive 12MB L3, which should ensure the newest Xeon easily outperforms the X7350 despite having a clock speed disadvantage of about 20%. Intel remains stubborn when it comes to the lower power CPUs, which come with a huge price premium. This leaves a small opening for AMD with its upcoming 45nm Shanghai CPUs.

Index Benchmark configuration
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  • duploxxx - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    your virtualisation life was very short, perhaps marketing can keep you alive for a while since on paper you are better with the amount of cores.

    your 24 cores @2,66ghz are just killed by 16cores @2,7ghz">
  • synergyek - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Why only testing scanline render? It's a slow and old monster. Can you add mental ray render to your tests or, maybe, vray, which is used in arch. visualizations? Also you can use Maya 32/64-bit (software, hardware, mental ray tests) for both windows and linux platforms. Mental ray on Vray uses all cores available in the system, and results must be much better, than ordinary scanline.
  • duploxxx - Saturday, September 27, 2008 - link

    Nice article, altough in virtualisation with VMmark it was already clear that the new dunnington had more headroom with the additional cores.

    only few remark, since you are talking about a retail price of +25000euro you could at least add for information that there are 8socket barcelona for about 5000euro more that scale again way better then dunnington with its 32 cores. So indeed intel did a step up again after there tigertown was heavy beaten by new barcelona in 4s even in low speed but at a certain cost of platform, afterall this dunnington is not cheap. it will be the question what a 4s shangai @3.0 ghz will do against this 6 core giant, afterall it is a huge die and the shangai will be way cheaper and consume less.

    lets hope you update this nice article with the soon to be released shangai.
  • Sirlach - Friday, September 26, 2008 - link

    From my research when the hex cores were announced the super micro boards came with an x16 slot. Is it possible to see how CPU restricted multithreaded games perform on this monster? Since it is running server 2008 this is theoretically possible!
  • BaronMatrix - Thursday, September 25, 2008 - link

    It seems like a better comparison would be with the number of cores the same. You could take a 4S and remove one chip and match that against a 2S Dunnington.

    From what I saw, it is nowhere near 50% faster though it has 50% more cores plus 4 times the cache. It looks like Intel may NEVER catch up with Opteron. Shanghai will just increase the difference.

    It's just a shame Hector decided to have a "devalue the brand name" fire-sale or we'd be much closer to Bulldozer and SSE5.
  • trivik12 - Thursday, September 25, 2008 - link

    4S has been one market where AMD dominated even after conroe's release. With Tigerton intel chipped away AMD's market share bcos of barcelona issues. with Dunnington Intel has a performance advantage. U dont look at per core performance but overall platform performance. AMD needs to catch up soon bcos with beckton AMD will be behind 8th ball in that market as well.
  • snakeoil - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    intel is cannibalizing nehalem this are desperate measures from a desperate man.
    this is a dead end road, sooner or later intel will have to dump the front side bus,but its evident that intel is not very confident about nehalem and quick path.
    these processor are the last kick of an agonizing technology.
    this is just a souped up old car. nothing more.
  • kingmouf - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    Although a good thing for testing, I'm wondering if by making artificially the VMs more processing intensive rather than memory intensive, one is getting a quite wrong idea of the power consumption between the Intel and the AMD systems.

    Off-chip activity (coming from signal amplifiers, sensors, external buses etc) results in great power consumption. Actually one should expect it to be a crucial part of the total consumption of a system. In this case, I believe the AMD system has an advantage with the memory controller being incorporated in the processor chip. To one extend this also becomes clear in your testing.

    Comparing the Intel CPUs one may observe that the 6-core part has a huge cache memory that seriously limits the main memory accesses. In the case of the 6VMs, there will also be reduced inter-socket communication. Both result in very serious reductions in off-chip activity, which materialises in a whopping 25% reduction in power usage.

    Therefore I believe that making the benchmarking process more memory intensive, as you point is the real-world scenario, AMD could earn quite a few points there.

    On a more general argument now, I can't stop thinking that chips like the 74xx Xeons are somewhat a waste of transistors. Intel is simply following the "bully" path rather than the "smart" path. I cannot stop thinking what would the results look like if instead of the two extra cores and the huge amount of cache, Intel added a TCP offload engine, a true hardware RAID controller, a block cipher accelerator, a DSP engine or an extra FP processor core (I'm not mentioning a memory controller because someone will pop up and say that they have already done that in the nehalem). All these things - and one could add much more - are integral to any server or HPC system and I believe can offer much more countable results than the two extra cores. Better performance and definitely better power usage. On the other hand, considering the weaknesses of AMD, maybe that is the company that should really get down to it.

    Not long there was a lot of hype of AMD opening up their socket and coherent HyperTransport so that people could actually produce accelerators. What has happened with that? Are there any products on that market? It would be interesting to see some benchmarking with these things. :)
  • JohanAnandtech - Thursday, September 25, 2008 - link

    "Im wondering if by making artificially the VMs more processing intensive rather than memory intensive, one is getting a quite wrong idea of the power consumption between the Intel and the AMD systems. "

    You are right that most virtualized workloads (including the OLTP ones) will need a lot more memory *space*, but they are not necessarily more memory intensive. It is good practice for example to use another scheduler to make it more CPU intensive: you are getting more transactions per second on the same machine. It is pretty bad to lose your watts on anything else but transactions.
  • jedz - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    It's pretty obvious that AMD is not competing neck to neck in the server arena with their current opteron offerings because of the fact that they are way behind Intel's, and it's not right to compare the opteron to an intel7460 in terms of performance/watt. Why don't you wait for AMD's Shanghai and then redo this benchmarking process.

    Maybe it will do justice for AMD....

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