If you were planning on buying new servers in the coming weeks and months, Intel just gave you a whole lot of homework. And if you work at Advanced Micro Devices, you're getting some homework, too. Intel already has a slew of E5-2600 processors aimed at workhorse two-socket machines and a bunch of E7s in different flavors aimed …
Intel thoroughly missing the point here
These are not credible competitors to four-socket Opteron boxes, because they're so enormously more expensive; even if you regard a Sandy Bridge hyperthread as equivalent to an Opteron core, $1611 for eight 2.2GHz SB cores versus $639 for sixteen 2.2GHz cores is a big premium.
The four-socket Opteron boxes are great for HPC-like jobs, my 4x6168 machine delivers 360GFLOP peak for about 700 watts and I've not had to fiddle around with Infiniband cards and switches to connect smaller boxes together.
Re: Intel thoroughly missing the point here
I don't think Intel are missing the point, they just see gaps in their line-up that need filling. (i.e. between single socket and a full-on dual socket, and between dual socket and their big E7 quad setup).
Intel cores are currently faster, clock for clock. For example, lets take anandtech's review of the E5-2600 ( http://www.anandtech.com/show/5553/the-xeon-e52600-dual-sandybridge-for-servers/ ). In that they take a simulated E5-2630 (6 cores, 2.3GHz) and they reckon it beats an Opteron 6276. Thats a $616 CPU beating a $788 CPU (list prices for both).
But still, the Opteron reaches futher down than the 2600 series does, so Intel knocked off a few of the extras to produce the 2400 series to compete with those. Likewise, the E7 is overkill for many where you just want 4 sockets-worth of ram and cpu, so bump up the E5 to fit there.
The smart money is with AMD
Intel must be feeling the loss of sales as this is mostly a knee-jerk response.
"more SKUs with different prices for different features is generally a good thing for server shoppers"
Within reason... sure, but this is insane.
Do I want the 2.41 GHz or the 2.42 GHz version? Ooh look, there's a 2.43 GHz version... You never know, we might need that extra 0.02. How much extra is it again?
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