AMD Opteron is DOA, significantly less powerful than Intel’s ‘Woodcrest’ Xeon

Digit Magazine pitted Intel’s new Xeon, previously codenamed ‘Woodcrest’ and based on the same chip technology behind the company’s Core Duo processors, against AMD’s newly launched Opteron processors. Intel’s new Xeon’s are also the chips used by Apple’s first Intel-based workstation, the Mac Pro.

“The results show that Intel has reclaimed its crown in a majestical fashion. The Xeon 5150s were 35 per cent faster in Maya software renderer and 16 per cent faster in mental ray than the Opteron 2218s. Intel’s chips also gave an 18 per cent boost to Photoshop over AMD’s rival,” Neil Bennett reports for Digit.

Bennett reports, “The performance over the Power PC G5s was equally impressive. The 5150’s Maya software rendering time was a whopping 90 per cent faster, and its mental ray score was 32 per cent faster. It was also 27 per cent faster in Photoshop – though this is not something you could translate to the new Mac Pros as an Intel-native version of Photoshop is still at least six months away.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple flies aboard Secretariat, while Dell plans to hop on a nag headed for the glue factory. Who’s the Chief Processor Picker for Dell and what, if any, were his criteria exactly, besides their usual “lowest price, performance be damned?”

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple chose well: Anandtech – Intel Core 2 Duo ‘the fastest desktop processor we’ve ever tested’ – July 14, 2006
Report: Dell signs deal with AMD for millions of chips for full range of desktops, notebooks – June 26, 2006
Apple chose well: Intel poised to take massive lead across the board over AMD – June 07, 2006
Dell opts for AMD’s Opteron; deal confined to servers at this point – May 18, 2006


  1. One thing the Opteron – new and old – have in common is that they can run 32-bit and 64-bit apps simultaneously. The Intel chips are either/or with Windows.

    A minor nit to pick, but significant for people who would buy workstations like those priced to compete with the MacPro.

    BTW: Sun is also using AMD chips in it’s “x86” lines.

  2. I heard an interesting little tidbit from my partner yesterday, who is a PC consultant and has some kind of Dell sales/service status. (no idea what it is but who cares) Anyway, he ordered some 3 gig Quads yesterday that will only run windows, after a phonecall to a mid level sales exec at Dell turned up some interesting intel. (take how much a mid level exec actually knows with several grains of salt, but I found it interesting) My partner asked why the Dell workstation was so much more expensive, and if they would match the price of the Mac Quad. To make a long story short, the exec told him the price was bellow there manufacturing costs, and Apple is getting better than normal pricing (even in Dell purchasing terms) and is Intel’s new darling. This kind of makes sence seeing how Dell just flipped of Intel with this AMD deal. Whats even more interesting is according to the dell guy, Apple got first silicon way before anyone else the industry, soemhting that dell always bosted. Interesting times we live in!

  3. Agreed about the MS/AMD link. Part of the reason for this was that Intel decided to go with two differentiated lines, while AMD decided to scale. Now Intel won’t license the AMD code. Still … Apple managed to create an OS that gets the job done.

    Sun, though, mainly deals with 64-bit apps and could use any 64-bit CPU they wanted.
    Download a complete enterprise-class solution—Solaris 10, Java Enterprise System, development tools and N1 management software—at no cost, no kidding.
    Minimum Hardware Requirements
    Proper installation of Solaris 10 requires a SPARC-based or x64/x86-based system with:
    Minimum of 256 MB of physical RAM (or 512 MB for PXE booting)
    Minimum of 2 GB of available hard drive space
    For SPARC platform-based processors, 250-MHz minimum
    For x64- or x86-based processors, 120-MHz minimum
    DVD or CD-ROM drive

    Oh … that’s for the Parallels crowd.

  4. DLMeyer,
    Do you know something the rest of the world doesn’t? Everything I’ve read says that 64-bit versions of Windows can only run 32-bit applications and drivers in an emulation layer. That would be independent of the processor.

    If somebody’s going to nitpick about 64-bit/32-bit compatibility, they shouldn’t even be considering Windows when 32-bit apps and drivers can run side by side on a Mac without emulation layers.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.