There has been a relentless assault on the Server CPU market. How else could you describe Intel's impressive amount of new server CPU launches, and aggressive pricing during the past several months? At the end of May 2006, Intel released the dual core Xeon DP 5080 "Dempsey" at 3.73 GHz, still based on the same architecture as the latest Pentium 4 ("Presler"). As shown by the Dell DVD store benchmark, Dempsey made the performance gap with the best AMD Opterons smaller, but it still wasn't very competitive in the performance/Watt league.

Only one month later, we reviewed a new Xeon DP 5160 based on the Intel's brand spanking new Core architecture, codenamed Woodcrest. With the exception of SSL Encryption and the MySQL database tests, the new Xeon DP simply annihilated the competition. Our most recent data shows that the Xeon 5160 outperforms the best Opteron (2.8 GHz) by 10% (MySQL) to 60% (LAMP), while presenting 33% lower TDP numbers (80W versus 119W, 65W versus 95W). AMD launched the new Socket F in August, but the current Opterons are not capable of extracting higher performance out of the faster DDR2 DIMMs, leaving AMD no other option than severely reducing the price of their server CPU flagship in the dual socket market.

The Xeon MP machine on top of the HP DL585 in our rack...
but can it really overpower the quad Opteron?

But Intel wasn't satisfied. The lucrative 4 socket market was and is still dominated by the 8xx Opteron, which managed to capture up to 50% of the market share in only a few years. In September the 3.4 GHz Xeon MP 7140M, codename Tulsa, was born. With up to 16 MB of L3-cache, can the new Xeon MP stop AMD's Quad Opteron from grabbing even more market share? Or do we have to wait for Tigerton to arrive? Let us find out....

The Xeon 70xx
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  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    Well, we did mentione it at our price comparison. From a performance point of view, the G2 is within 2% of the DL585 given a similar configuration.

    Getting a server in the lab is not like getting a videochip for review. The machines are much more expensive, and you need much more time to review them properly. So OEMs are less likely to send you the necessary hardware. For a videocard they send out a $500 item that can be reviewed in a few weeks, maybe even a few days. For Server like these, they have to send out a $20000 machine and be able to miss it for a month or two at the least.
  • Viditor - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link


    Well, we did mentione it at our price comparison. From a performance point of view, the G2 is within 2% of the DL585 given a similar configuration

    I can certainly understand and empathise with the situation...and I did enjoy the article, Johan!
    The reason I mentioned it is that line in your conclusion...

    The HP DL585 also has a few shortcomings: it does not offer any PCIe expansion slots, the SCSI controller is an old SCSI 160 model, and there are no USB ports on the front of the machine

    I thought that (considering the circumstances) it was a bit unfair and misleading...
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, November 11, 2006 - link

    I just pointed out that it is a bit weird that a newer revision of the DL585 (it was thé HP Opteron machine just a few months ago) used SCSI 160. There is no reason at all why HP could not replace this: they revised the server anyway.

    I should mentioned that these results were solved in the G2, but still it is a missed chance... eventhough I reported it a bit too late :-)
  • photoguy99 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    yes, bring it on!
  • finalfan - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    On page The Official SPEC Numbers, in second table SPEC FP 2000 Performance, the positions of (4/8) HP Opteron AM2 and (8/8) Hitachi Itanium 2 should be switched. No Itanium runs at 3.4G and no way a 4way 1.6G AM2 can sit in second place.
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Corrected. It is weird, the accurate numbers were in the orginal document. The generation of the table went wrong. I have double checked and now the FP numbers should all be accurate
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    Probably my fault. I think when it got put into Excel that the various x/y numbers were converted to dates. I thought I fixed all of those, but probably missed one or two. Sorry.
  • icarus4586 - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link


    There has been a relentless assault without any mercy on the Server CPU market...

    This report brought to you by the department of redundancy department.
  • bwmccann - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link

    When are you guys going to start benchmarking server CPUs using applications that are widely used in organizations on a daily basis?

    Most companies have a very high percentage of servers running Windows. With that I would love to see some test on SQL, Oracle, Exchange, and other core components of enterprises today.

    Also it would be nice to see a closer comparison of the servers. For example you tested a DL585. A DL580 (Intel Woodcrest) would have been better suited since some of the components would be the same.
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, November 10, 2006 - link">

    Most of the time Jason does the Windows benchmarking, me and my team do the Linux benchmarking.

    Java, MySQL and SSL are also core components of many enterprise apps.

    We are working on Oracle and got access to a realworld Oracle database a few weeks ago (for the first time), but it takes time to really understand what your benchmark is telling you and how you must configure your db. And Oracle is ...very stubborn, even patching to a slightly higher version can lead to big trouble.

    The DL585 is a direct competitor (quad socket) in this space, more so than the DL580 (DUal Socket)

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