Almost a full year before AMD launched the Athlon MP platform, we were already using AMD based servers on AnandTech. Back then there were no 1U chassis solutions for Athlons, there weren't even any server-class chipsets, much less server-class motherboards to take advantage of them.

We had to go out and find the most stable desktop Socket-A motherboards available, and built them in oversized 4U/5U ATX rackmount cases in order to realize our goal of using Athlons as servers. We didn't make the move to AMD based servers to be "cool" or to try something new, we made the move because all performance indicators stated that we'd be better off with AMD than we were with our older Pentium II/III Xeon platforms.

We documented our entire migration process here and it ended up being that we made the right bet; we were sold on the usefulness (and cost effectiveness) of the Athlon as a server platform although even to this day there isn't much support for the Athlon MP.

For a CPU that wasn't designed as an enterprise class processor to begin with, the Athlon did an excellent job when it actually made it to the server market. The lack of Tier 1 OEM support for the Athlon MP platform as well as relatively lackluster Tier 3 OEM solutions with very poor manageability options left the Athlon MP a diamond in the rough, never to be exposed to the majority of the enterprise market.

Fast-forward to today and you'll see that the Athlon MP is no match for the higher speed Xeons, and the lack of a 4-way+ solution hampers the platforms success in database environments.

Although the Athlon MP has lost its performance advantage, AMD has finally brought the Opteron to market - and just in time. We've already thoroughly explained the architecture behind the Opteron, if you are not intimately familiar with the K8 core then we strongly suggest you read Part 1 of our Opteron coverage before proceeding here.

The Contenders: Opteron 244 vs. Xeon DP 2.80
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