View Full Version : GamePC: Taking Back The Crown : Intel’s Xeon 5150 and 5160 Processors

07-17-06, 12:42 PM
"Nearly one month ago, we took our first glimpse at Intel's new "Core" architecture based processors for workstations and servers, codenamed "Woodcrest". The "Woodcrest" architecture is the basis of the new Intel Xeon 5100 series processor lineup, models of which are just making their way to market now and more or less obliterating everything in their path. While AMD has had a lock on performance and power consumption benchmarks for the workstation market for the past several years, Intel’s Xeon 5100-series showed us that the end of the reign was likely near. However, our previous lab report was just an early preview, and we had yet to see what "Woodcrest" would truly be capable of.

In our previous tests, we tested some early sample Xeon 5100-series processors which weren't in a finalized state, nor were they running at their intended full clock speeds. Nevertheless, our early results in terms of raw performance and performance per watt were extremely exciting, and we vowed to return to the subject once we had finalized chips in our hands. Well, that day has come, as we have pairs of shiny new Xeon 5160 and Xeon 5150 "Woodcrest" processors here in the labs, ready to show to the world that Intel is back.

"Woodcrest" based Xeon processors are based on the same core design and have virtually identical specifications to Intel's own Core 2 Duo for desktops and game rigs, but are specifically modified to suit the needs of workstation and server users. For example, "Woodcrest" Xeon processors support the ability to be run in multi-processor configurations for quad-core systems (Core 2 Duo's are single-processor, dual-core only). In addition, "Woodcrest" Xeons run at a higher 1333 MHz front side bus speed, and can run with much larger quantities of memory, up to 32 GB with the Intel 5000X chipset. These are certainly improvements over Intel’s Core 2 Duo, however there are also a few negative points as well. "Woodcrest" Xeons require expensive Socket-771 dual-processor motherboards, which start at about $400 (twice that of Core 2 Duo platforms), and require the use of expensive, and lower-speed FB-DIMM DDR2-667 memory modules, both of which makes “Woodcrest” an unattractive option for home / desktop usage. However, the high-entry price of these processors won’t detract potential workstation buyers, assuming Intel can deliver better performance compared to the Opteron processor lineup.

Nevertheless, let's get to what you've been waiting for. Intel's new, top of the line Xeon 5160 (3.0 GHz) against AMD's top Opteron 285 (2.8 GHz) in a workstation throwdown. Is Intel truly back?"

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