The Pentium-D dual core Pentium 4 and Opteron 875 dual core are launched. At the end of 2007, a quad core Whitefield CPU will be launched by Intel, and a quad core “K9” of AMD will make a stand against Whitefield. The multi core train has picked up speed and is unstoppable. But what will be the challenges ahead? What are the architectural advantages of the current cores? What will set the different architectures apart? Read on in this third part of The Quest for More Processing Power series.

In case you missed it, in our first article, we explained that dynamic power, power leakage, the memory wall and wire delay have forced CPU designers to rethink the methods that they use to achieve higher performance CPUs.

In Part 2, Tim Sweeney, the leading developer behind the Unreal 3 engine, explained the challenges of multi-threaded development of the next generation of games.

The multi-core future...

In the past 15 years, architectural improvements have made sure that the Pentium 4 issues and retires about 6 times more integer instructions each clock cycle than an Intel 486 could on average. At the same time, the die size would have been 15 times bigger if there were no advancements in silicon process technology, and even those aggressive advancements could not avoid the fact that the Pentium 4 needs almost 20 times as much power.
Clock speed increased from 33 MHz to 3800 MHz, so it is clear that clock speed, not extracting more ILP (Instruction Level Parallelism), has been the main reason why a Pentium 4 performs so much better than an i486.

However, the next generation of CPUs will be based on a completely different philosophy. The Xeon MP Version 2007, alias Whitefield, will have 4 cores, and run at speeds at around 2.6 GHz. At that speed, there are reports that it would consume less than 90 Watt. Intel will use its P-m “know-how” to keep the power dissipation so low. Each core is not really a P-m, but it is clear that the pipeline will be shorter than the one of Willamette, the first implementation of the Pentium 4’s Netburst architecture.

AMD’s K9 seems to be a slightly different beast. Andreas Stiller of C’t reported that this Quad core CPU monster would have a TDP of 140 Watt, and run at about 3 GHz.

So, it seems that clock speed will no longer drive performance, but higher IPC and more cores will.

Dual core Opteron versus Pentium-D and Dempsey


View All Comments

  • Houdani - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    'Splain to me what you believe are the alleged "false assumptions."

    The only outright assumption I observed was located in the comments section. Specifically number two.
  • Ahkorishaan - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    Intel is by no means panicking, they're riding out a storm, and things will be dicey starting about 2/3 through 2006. AMD has the advantage now, but I honestly don't know if they can hold up against the R&D budget Intel has at it's fingertips.

    When P-m features get integrated into Intel's lineups AMD will be faced with the hotter, hungrier chip, and though they have more experience with the on-die Memory controller, and a nice head of steam, that might not be enough.

    I'm a fan of AMD and I applaud their foresight, but they need to keep on the ball if they expect to stay ahead for another year.
  • allanw - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    All this talk of databases and no mention of PostgreSQL? Cmon.. Reply
  • flatblastard - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    Oh great....more fuel for the "Intel panics" thread fire. Reply
  • Rand - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    I haven't finished the article yet, but would you care to clarify your objections Questar?

    At least through the third page I haven't come across any assumptions or even real solid opinions he's put forth as yet.
    Thus far it's merely a technically oriented analysis of their respective offerings, nothing that I've read is particularly new or debateable/controversial.

  • Rapsven - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    Holy ****, Questar. That's all I'm going to say for you.

    Very informative. Though a lot of the more technical parts of the article flew right by me.
  • Questar - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    Wow, another AMD fanboy opinion piece based upon false assumtions. Go Anandtech! Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - link

    not this time...

    nice pic on the last page, but I have no idea of the scale

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