Intel Woodcrest Performance Preview
Posted on: 05/17/2006 05:00 AM

SunGard Adaptiv Credit Risk Analysis
SunGard Adaptiv Credit Risk application is a component of SunGardís comprehensive suite of risk management products ( This workload is a scaled down version of the full application. At its core, the application utilizes a proprietary Monte Carlo method financial engine to determine the future value of a fictitious portfolio.

This package consists of a Microsoft Windows based .NET application and two data files - a sample market data and a sample portfolio, which provide input to the financial engine.
I really wanted to include this workload in my Bensley Preview from last fall. Unfortunately, at that time the application wouldn't run on a 64bit Windows machine. That incompatibility has been resolved so here are the results in all of their glory.

People will argue that the .NET framework is optimized more for, and runs faster on, Intel systems, effectively handicapping the Opterons out of the gate. The fact is that this is a real world application, running on the widely accepted, and often used .NET framework. This is the same framework installed on nearly all of the Windows machines in use... And Woodcrest wins again.

Power Consumption

Since all of the big names are really focusing on "performance-per-watt" these days, I figured that I should probably jump on the bandwagon too. Unfortunately my last attempt didn't turn out so well. After much rethinking and the acquisition of a more capable power measuring device, I think I can paint you all a little better picture this time around.

I have to qualify this by saying that I did enable power saving features of the systems if they were available. Since the Dempsey and Woodcrest machines were pre-production, Demand Based Switching was not completely functional.

Idle readings were taken while sitting on the Windows desktop, and I used CINEBENCH's multi-CPU render as the load. For the single CPU readings, I physically removed one processor. In the Opteron system I moved all of the DIMMs to the remaining CPU so as not to skew the power numbers by changing the number of active DIMMs.

AMD really can claim that, at least today, they have the best performance-per-watt in the workstation and server space. Apparently that really bothered Intel, and you can see that when Woodcrest hits the streets in a few months, things will all change.


Today marks the official launch of the Bensley server platform and the Dempsey-based Xeon processor. While the 3.73ghz Dempseys shipping today will perform better than the pre-production 3.46ghz parts tested here, the real draw of the Bensley platform is the drop-in compatibility of Woodcrest.

I think it is pretty obvious that Intel learned from their mistakes and seriously reorganized in order to regain the performance (and power consumption) crown. They also won't be waiting around too long to get this new technology out in the open market. To be honest, it's almost like they're skipping right over Dempsey.

We previewed Bensley/Dempsey in the fall of last year and it has taken until today, almost eight months later, to officially launch (and ship) the systems and processors. This will NOT be the case with Woodcrest as we have been assured that parts will begin shipping within a matter of a few months.

In the short term, this looks to mean bad things for AMD, but as we've seen from recent press releases and keynote speeches, they aren't sitting around idle either. It really does look like the end of this year and the beginning of 2007 are shaping-up to be pretty exciting.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to swing by our forums and make yourself heard.

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