Yager says Barcelona is not just a quad core Opteron

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For those of you in to this sort thing, Tom Yager has a really interesting opinion piece on why you should care—really care—about AMD’s Torrenza processor line and it’s first baby, Barcelona.

By Tom’s reckoning, Barcelona is way more than 4 Opterons stuck together.

…Barcelona is genius, a genuinely new CPU that frees itself entirely of the millstone of the Pentium legacy. It’ll do the same for you.

Each of Barcelona’s four cores incorporates a new vector math unit referred to as SSE128 (128-bit streaming single-instruction-multiple-data extensions). I am aware that you only do quantum physics on weekends, but the potential for hard-core IT tasks such as encryption, compression, real-time analysis of high volumes of streaming business transactions, and wire-speed packet analysis is also the stuff of science fiction.

Barcelona gives floating-point operations their own schedulers (checkout lanes) and runs them twice as fast as 64-bit SSE did. AMD claims that Barcelona’s per-core floating point performance is more than 80% faster than the present Opteron.

Computerworld’s readers might only do quantum physics on weekends, but we do it every day. Whee.