Intel’s new Xeon DP platform is an impressive performer, it bested our Pentium III Xeon platform of similar configuration by quite a margin. Its performance in the content creation/audio/video and streaming content benchmarks was impressive to say the least. Although some performance was lost in portions of the SPECviewperf benchmark, it still came out faster overall.
However with the upcoming introduction of the AMD 760MP chipset and the Athlon 4, AMD is set to have an answer to Intel’s Xeon DP architecture, which would otherwise have become the de-facto standard for x86 workstations. Although the Intel Xeon DP will be available at clockspeeds of up to 1.7GHz at introduction, AMD might match Intel in clockspeed and best them in performance by introducing a 760MP configuration running two Athlon 4s at 1.7GHz.
Overall we feel that the Intel Xeon DP platform is a step in the right direction for Intel, the quad channel Rambus implementation, like that of the i850, offers an impressive memory bandwidth. It will be interesting to see what AMD comes up with to best Intel in that department, as the DDR memory bandwidth we’ve seen up till now is about as fast as PC-133 SDRAM, and no match for the RDRAM.
In the FPU department the Xeon DP, like the Pentium 4, needs some more work to optimize for SIMD and SSE2, once those optimizations are properly implemented we’re confident that the FPU performance of the Xeon DP and the Pentium 4 will be equivalent, or better than that of the Athlon. And once Intel scales up the clockspeed, 2GHz versions should be available in Q3, we’ll see a gradual raise in FPU performance naturally, even without optimizations.
The next few months however we’ll see stiff competition for the Xeon DP, once AMD releases their 760MP chipset and the desktop Athlon 4, there will be another player in the dual CPU x86 workstation field. In the past few months AMD has shown that it can best or equal Intel in price/performance for the desktop x86 CPU. It’ll be interesting to see what they can do in the x86 dual CPU workstation arena, which up until then will be Intel’s monopoly.
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