Six months late and a few hundred MHz short, AMD introduced its quad-core Opterons today, immodestly referring to them as “The World’s Most Advanced x86 Processor.” Time will tell. Early indications are that the new chips best the currrent crop of Intel Xeons in memory bandwidth and performance per watt. AMD also touts the new Opteron’s floating point performance, but Jon Stokes at Ars Technica thinks the chip’s FP muscle may fall short of expectations:
… Xeon’s bandwidth bottleneck isn’t nearly so pronounced in two-socket configurations as it is in four-socket configurations, so at two sockets the two processors’ respective floating-point ALUs can duke it out on a relatively more level playing field. In this scenario, Xeon’s superior floating-point and vector hardware carries it, and gives it the 3D rendering scores that match and beat Barcelona’s.
In any case, Intel will respond soon with its 45nm Penryn processors. The race is on.