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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  • Jason Clark - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Ross and I did not have 2.5Ghz, it was nearly impossible just getting ahold of 2.0GHz.... We'd run it if we had it :)
  • Regs - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Hi Derek Johan De Gelas mentioned that had 2.5 GHz part in your tech labs. Can we expect a preview of that soon?
  • Regs - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Whoops, I confused you Jason for Derek Wilson.
  • Viditor - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Which stepping of Barcelona were you using (it wasn't in the test setup and has become an issue of late)

  • firewolfsm - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    This review seems biased. If you want to run only the 2GHz part at least calculate the performance per clock because it looks like Barcelona has Intel beat in a lot of the benchmarks. Meaning 2.5GHz would be much more competitive.
  • firewolfsm - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Sorry for the double...
  • GlassHouse69 - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Well. It looks like AMD wins. Money is everything. Oh sure, there will be some geek who will say, "Money is no object, only getting the workload done as fast as possible." that geek would be wrong. Amazing how this WOULDNT start a price war. 400 vs.... 2.5-3x that much? You could put four on a board and start rocking in the free world.

    Makes me happy about Phenom. Imagine a 190 dollar quad that isnt intel? something to buy finally.

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