The clock has "ticked" and Intel has released a refresh to the quad-core Xeon line-up, code-named Harpertown. AMD has also finally released their quad-core Opteron, code-named Barcelona. Intel is on what they like to call a tick-tock release cycle of processors. Every "tick" is a refresh of the current architecture, and a "tock" represents a new architecture. AMD doesn't seem to be on any pattern of release cycles, and the Barcelona launch is a bit late and not as well organized as some of their previous product launches.

Harpertown will launch with clock speeds all the way up to 3.16GHz, and will also ship two low voltage parts (2.3GHz and 2.6GHz). The rumor mill speculates that Intel may be able to reach 3.4GHz with the new 45nm process shrink. Barcelona on the other hand is launching at 2.0GHz with speeds down to 1.7GHz. There will be three low voltage Barcelona parts at launch: 1.7GHz, 1.8GHz and 1.9GHz. Frankly, it's more than a bit disappointing that AMD wasn't able to launch at higher clock-speeds; however, they are planning to have higher-clocked parts towards year-end that will only require a few more watts to run.

For quite some time now Intel has been living the high-life in the quad-core arena, even though both AMD and the media criticized them for gluing two dual-core processors together to create their quad-core product line. AMD has lost market share to Intel over the past couple of years, mostly due to the success Intel has had with their current Core architecture. One does wonder if AMD might have sat too long on the Opteron before making head-way into a new design or moving along a bit quicker to quad-core; yes, there was work happening, including an aborted architecture, but when you're fighting the reigning heavyweight such mistakes can be costly. Obviously, AMD has had a rough year with respect to their finances, but hopefully they are on the mend and Barcelona is the beginning of an upswing.

We've already looked at Barcelona in several previous articles, but Harpertown is the new kid on the block this week. That being the case, we'll start with a closer look at Intel's latest addition to their lineup.

What's new with the Harpertown Xeon
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  • MrKaz - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    You bring very valid points! And thanks to the originator of this discussion!

    But let me spice things a little.
    I think you and Anandtech are wrong!
    Correct testing would be loading ALL THE MEMORY BANKS WITH RAM!!!

    That would be more realistic scenario.
    I see Intel praising the technology edge of FBDIMM by allowing to have more RAM on the system, then lets load the Intel system with the maximum RAM they can handle.

    Otherwise seams a little biased test.
    Showing how Intel systems:
    -are energy efficient = use less RAM on them and add more to the AMD system
    -can handle much more RAM than AMD = Show how Intel system have lots of memory banks
  • flyck - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    although you are correct when you say there are small errors in the setup, i cant agree with the part about being paid by intel todo...
    This is an assault which they cannot defend themselves against.

    Either way this review would be much more interesting when a 2.5GHz release and low power barcelonas would be available. But that is dependent on AMD itself.

  • Viditor - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link


    Either way this review would be much more interesting when a 2.5GHz release and low power barcelonas would be available. But that is dependent on AMD itself.

    As to that, the low power Barcelonas are available...NewEgg has them in stock already.">NewEgg
  • flyck - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    most hardware site rely on hardware that has been given to them for testpurposes. They wont buy them.
  • Justin Case - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    Which is probably one of the reasons why CPUs in some reviews overclock so well, and the ones you buy from retail overclock so poorly.

    I don't trust any review where the item was supplied by the manufacturer; chances are they cherry-picked the best one they had, to get the best possible review. If the sites can't afford to buy the items they're reviewing, they should simply strike a deal with a retailer, where they get to test the stuff (and return it) in exchange for a sponsored link or something. That way the chances of getting an above-average (or below-average) part are the same as for anyone else.

  • Justin Case - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    In other words, what you're saying that the Opteron did not have more RAM than the Xeon, so it did not get any benefit from the different memory configuration.

    Well, that's the "pro-AMD" conspiracy put to rest, no doubt. Thanks.

    But you still have 8 DDR2 DIMMs on the Opteron versus 4 FB-DIMMs on the Xeon. As pointed out above, using the same configuration would either reduce the Barcelona system's power consumption (by about 18 watts, if both used 4 DIMMs) or increase the Harpertown system's consumption (by about 40 watts, if both used 8 DIMMs).

    In the latter case (which is the likely scenario on a server under high loads - fill it with as much RAM as possible), that would put the Xeon's "performance per watt" below that of the Barcelona system in most of your tests.

    And there's still the mystery of why a system that dissipates less heat needs more than twice as many fans. Or was there also a typo on the number of fans in each system? Maybe the number of fans is different but the total number of fan blades is the same, so that's alright? :)
  • Wirmish - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    The problem is not the number of GB, it's the number of DIMMs.

    Do you try to convince us that one 8GB DIMM use the same power as eight 1GB DIMMs ?

    This is just plain stupid.
  • Wirmish - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Same question...

    AMD..: 8 DIMMs (16 GB) + 7 fans
    INTEL: 4 DIMMs (8 GB) + 3 fans

    A DDR2 DIMM needs 4.4 watts while a DDR2 FB-DIMM requires near 10.4 watt.">LINK

    With 8 FBDIMMs the Xeon may consume ~42 watts more !

    A standard fan may consume anywhere from 1.6 to 6.0 watts.
    Try to use only 4 fans (1 middle-front, 1 top-rear, 2 CPU) with the AMD system.
    It will work perfectly and you will save ~15 watts.

    1. Add 4 FBDIMM in the Xeon system.
    2. Remove three 3.5" fans in the AMD system.
    3. Rebench.
    4. Update your power consumption and performance/watt graphs.
    5. Thank you very much.
  • Proteusza - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    okay I also think its fishy but I'm playing devils advocate here.

    if you had to run a netburst server, part of your power goes to cooling, thats part of your total energy requirement. if the AMD system requires more cooling, for whatever reason (no matter how strange that may seem), then like it or not its a part of your server and energy expense.

    As for the differing amount of ram, that makes no sense at all. Why halve the amount of memory on the Intel system?
  • Justin Case - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Maybe AMD uses inferior knock-off photons, so despite dissipating less heat, it needs more cooling. ;)

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