If the Westmere Xeon EP were a car engine, it would've been made by Porsche. With "only" six cores, each core in the new Xeon offers almost twice the performance of the competition. A 32nm CPU that only occupies 248 mm2 the Westmere Xeon EP embodies pure refinement and intelligent performance, both Porsche traits. It's just made in Portland, not Zuffenhausen.

AMD's offering today is very different. Magny-cours is the CPU version of the American muscle car. It's a brutally large 12-core CPU: two dies, each measuring 346mm2 connected by a massive 24 link Hyper Transport pipe. AMD's Magny-cours Opteron has almost two billion transistors and 19.6MB of cache on-die.


12 cores, 692 mm2 die, 19.6MB of cache on-die

It's not all raw horsepower though. At 2.2GHz this 12-core monster is supposed to be content with only 80 precious watts, and 115W at most. HT assist also makes an appearance to keep CPU-CPU accesses to a necessary minimum, a problem that could get out of hand with 12 cores otherwise. AMD originally added HT assist with its first 6-core Opterons. So Magny-Cours is a like hybrid V12 Dodge Viper with traction control. Will this cocktail of raw core muscle and energy savings be enough to beat the competitor from Portland?

For once we could not resist the temptations of car analogies. As interesting as we found the Xeon Westmere EP, something was missing: a challenger, a competitor to make things more exiting.  In the last review, we just knew that the Xeon X5670 would crush the competition. This time is going to be close. AMD still won’t have a chance if your application does not scale well with extra cores. In that case you are better off with the higher clocked and better per-core performance of the Intel CPUs. But it is unclear if Intel will prevail in truly multi-threaded software now that a grim and determined AMD is willing to offer two CPUs for the price of one just to win the race.  

Magny-Cours
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  • 564265425722557 - Monday, March 29, 2010 - link

    1. Why is the TDP of the 65W ACP Magny Cours the question mark? And are you sure the TDP of the 80W ACP ones 115W?

    2. The Intel systems have only 24GB ram against the 32GB ram on the 2S magny cours. That's why the 100GB database test favors the Magny cours by a large margin.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Monday, March 29, 2010 - link

    AMD told us the TDP values of the Magny-Cours at 80 and 105W ACP. The TDP values of the Lower power versions were not disclosed yet.

    And as we disclosed on the benchmark config page, none of the benches uses more than 20 GB. The vAPus mark I uses about 19 GB. The SQL Server uses much less. While the SQL server test has to scan through the complete index, it does access the complete 100 GB data. There absolutely no advantage for the Opterons there. We checked.

    The fact that we spec the servers like that is a direct consequence of their memory channels (3 and 4). There is not much we can do about that.
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    How about about 4P performance? It's cheap now and it's AMD whole selling point. I guess you can get a 4P 48-core 128GB system for not that much. How would that compare to a say 2P Nehalem 12-core 92GB? Wouldn't they cost about the same? Will it still be competitive against 8-core 2P Nehalem-EX? And how about the 4P (like 6-core versions) Nehalem-EX? How about the 8-core versions of 6100 series Opterons? Reply
  • elnexus - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    In answer to cost:

    Compare our 2P Xeon 5600-series Workstation :http://elnexus.com/products.aspx?line_id=15514
    with our 4P Opteron 6100-series Workstation: http://elnexus.com/products.aspx?line_id=15635

    (I hope this isn't condemned as advertising, since it is an attempt to answer a question about price vs performance.)

    Note how low priced the 6128 chip is (the default chip included in the base price).

    AMD, I think are running away from Intel if you factor in the price...
    Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Thanks, I don't condemn it as advertising as this is a new platform so it's interesting and hard to get prices for complete systems yet. Basically 4P 8-core 6100-series opterons with 128GB DDR3 ECC REG cost as much as 2P six-core Xeon (Westmere EP) with 96GB DDR3 ECC REG. Mainly because you can use cheaper 4GB sticks and still get 128GB. And partly because there's no longer any markup for above >2P parts. I guess it accounts for something. Yeah, 6128 chip virtually don't cost nothing for being 4P compatible. Guess it helps AMD for a lot of workload scenarios. And since you can get 4P in 1U it's really nothing that speaks against it. Will be interesting to see what the Nehalem-EX can do though. Reply
  • TitanusComp - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    You can really get a good idea by comparing this two products:

    48 Cores:
    http://www.titanuscomputers.com/A400-AMD-Workstati...

    24 Cores (Quad SLi Capable)
    http://www.titanuscomputers.com/X450-Intel-High-Pe...

    Now, things to consider, do you need CPU or GPU power?
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, March 29, 2010 - link

    To make the whole benchmark complete I think you should ask some AMD Opteron 6136 from AMD to get a full review. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, March 29, 2010 - link

    and add the 56xx 4core counterpart off course Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    We are working on it. Expect an update with new SKUs this month. I would say next week, but I would like to take some time to do some in depth analysis. Reply
  • Hacp - Monday, March 29, 2010 - link

    Anand,
    I want to ask why are you biased against AMD? You should base your tests based on price. AMD is selling their 12 core for the price of an Intel 6 core. Compare apples to apples! Do a 12 core vs 6 core comparison and see who wins. Otherwise, you are doing a disservice.
    Reply

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