AMD Opteron Delivers up to 115% More Throughput than Intel Xeon (Netburst)

Chicago, IL, January 5, 2007 -- Neal Nelson & Associates, a
Chicago area computer performance consulting firm, has released
test results that compare the throughput of a 2.4 Ghz AMD Opteron
computer to a 2.4 Ghz Intel Xeon (Netburst) machine.

"Our Transaction Benchmark test results show that the Opteron
delivered up to 115% more throughput, even though both machines'
processors were running at essentially the same clock speed."
observed Neal Nelson, president of the independent consulting
group, "I have been a computer consultant for 34 years, and a
benchmark specialist for over 20 years. This is the largest throughput
difference I have ever seen for two virtually identical computers."

The Neal Nelson Transaction Benchmark creates a complex workload
that stresses all major sub-systems in the computer architecture
including memory access, inter-process communication, context
switching, disk I/O and network I/O.

The two computers were configured to have the same clock speed,
memory size and type of RAM. The were also tested with the same
disk drives and operating systems which had been loaded from the
same media. The machines were set up with the same system tunables
and ran the same application code which had been compiled by the
same compiler with the same compiler options.

"There has been a consensus in the industry that since the Opteron's
Instruction Per Clock ratio was higher than the NetBurst Xeon's, it
would probably perform more work than the Xeon at any given clock
speed." continued Nelson, "However, the Opteron has a number of other
architectural differences when compared to the Xeon. For example,
the Opteron has on-chip memory controllers, it has the Direct Connect
Architecture for inter-processor communications and a shorter
instruction pipeline. The dramatic differences in throughput that
we measured were probably a result of some combination of these types
of architectural differences."

Nelson's firm has a long history of performance consulting to some of
the the world's largest computer customers including the U.S. Army,
U.S. Navy, Internal Revenue Service, McDonalds, WalMart and Federal
Express. His performance measurement expertise has assisted with
purchasing decisions for many billions of dollars worth of computer

A white paper has been prepared that describes this test and provides
more documentation of these results. A copy of the white paper is
available at
... but the Xeon they used wasn't Woodcrest or Clovertown.