AMD Opteron 6174 Manufacturer:AMD AMD List Price (as reviewed): $1,165
Intel Xeon X5650 Manufacturer:Intel Intel List Price (as reviewed): $996
Almost exactly a year ago Intel unveiled the second member of the Nehalem CPU family, the Xeon 5500-series, aka Nehalem EP. When we reviewed the flagship model of this series, the Xeon W5580, we could only sing its praises, after having found that it was anything between 30 and 93 per cent faster than previous generation Xeons.
We weren’t the only ones to love the Xeon 5500-series either; it sold so well that in the year that it's been on sale that AMD’s market share of the workstation and server market has tumbled to its lowest level in years - around nine per cent. Even the launch of the Istanbul core Opteron 2400-series nine months ago couldn't halt the rout started by the Xeon 5500-series.
This March sees AMD and Intel return to the highly-profitable battleground that is the workstation and server market with two new CPUs. In the green corner AMD has its new 12-core Opteron 6000-series chip, based on the new Magny-Cours core. In the blue corner Intel has a revised Nehalem EP, the 6-core Xeon 5600-series, based on the new Westmere core.
Although both AMD and Intel are releasing a whole slew of new Opterons and Xeons, for this review we’ll be focussing our attention on the 2.2GHz Opteron 6174 and 2.66GHz Xeon X5650 as these two models are closest in price. For a full description of the Opteron 6000-series and where the 6174 falls, see page 2. Full details of the Xeon 5600-series can be found on page 3.