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AMD shows sunny side of Barcelona

Randy Allen, corporate vice president for server and workstations at AMD, announced the company is on track to ship its Barcelona quad-core server chip in production volumes sometime around the middle of this year. Server vendors already have samples of the quad-core chip, and systems are expected to start arriving in the third quarter. The hope is that Barcelona's design, in which four processing cores rest on the same piece of silicon, delivers enough of a performance boost over Intel's quad-core Xeon chip, which is two dual-core chips in a single package. AMD contends that's an inelegant design that doesn't solve Intel's problems with memory bandwidth.

Still, Intel has quad-core chips now for those who want them, while AMD doesn't. The company ran a demo comparing the performance of two four-socket servers, one using the quad-core Barcelona chip and one using a dual-core Opteron chip. The demo measured the performance of the chips on an imaging benchmark called POV-Ray, and as you might expect, the quad-core chip finished its task quicker than the dual-core chip. The quad-core chip processed about 4,000 pixels per second in rendering the image, while the dual-core chip could only hit around 2,000 pixels per second. Allen said Barcelona was not running at the fastest clock speed that will be available at launch, although he declined to specify the speeds that will be available.

AMD did not test Barcelona's performance against one of Intel's quad-core Clovertown Xeon processors, but Allen said Barcelona "will be the highest-performing x86 chip out there. It will blow away Clovertown." But soon after AMD's Barcelona arrives, Intel will launch its Penryn processors, which are expected to be a significant improvement once again over the current generation. AMD made its biggest mistake by letting Intel get ahead; the smaller company should never be the one playing catchup.

News source: News.com

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