AMD to come clean on Barcelona performance

Written by Tim Smalley

July 6, 2007 // 6:23 p.m.

Tags: #2006 #amd #barcelona #benchmark #clean #cpu2006 #honest #int #k10 #mystery #performance #rate #results #spec #xeon

According to a report, a spokesman from AMD has promised honest Barcelona benchmarks "in the coming weeks".

Earlier this week, some feathers were ruffled when simulated performance data for AMD's upcoming Barcelona processors reared its head on the net. Of all places, the source of the information was actually AMD's own website (the data has since been removed).

The problem with the so-called benchmarks was that they were not only based on "internal AMD simulations" at a clock speed that will not be available at the time of launch, but also the comparisons made by the company misrepresented the competition with out-of-date results.

At 2.6GHz, the simulated Barcelona benchmark claimed to be 21 percent faster than Intel's Xeon 5355 in SPECint_rate2006, but Intel has since released a new compiler that helps improve performance on its processors and it reduces the gap in performance to almost nothing (102 for Barcelona @ 2.6GHz, 101 for Intel's Xeon 5355).

If you also take into account the fact that Intel is soon to release a 3.0GHz Xeon 5365 (it's already available in the Mac Pro), which yields an even higher score of 106 in SPECint_rate2006, Barcelona already looks behind the times and we've not even talked about Penryn yet.

AMD's Phil Hughes claimed that the information was correct when it was published early this year, but then added that "[AMD is] working to remove that stuff from our website now. It is not an accurate reflection of the highest performance [Intel processors]."

Thankfully the offending data has now been removed and the tech world can return to some kind of normality. However, the real problem is that while the information was potentially accurate earlier this year, when AMD revealed last week that its fastest Barcelona processor at launch would be clocked at only 2.0GHz, the data was already a long way off what early adopters will see when the processor launches.

For now, there's a cloak of uncertainty surrounding AMD's Barcelona processors and I'm fairly sure that we're not going to see the real answers until independent benchmarks are published after the CPU's launch later this year. For now though, I guess we'll live and hope that AMD's next-generation processors will be competitive with whatever Intel has up its sleeves.

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