Processor Watch (2004 H1 Update)

New processors in 2004 H1

The 1st half of 2004 still sees a tight completion between AMD x86-64 and Intel Pentium 4, while RISC chip market remains silent.

SPECint2000 benchmark

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SPECfp2000 benchmark

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Analysis

The 1st half shows that AMD x86-64 starts gaining the momentum against Intel's chips. It's FX-53 and Opteron 150 running at 2.4GHz outperforms all 3.4G and 3.6G version of P4 at integer performance, except the "Extremely Expensive" version of P4, which embedded a lot of cache memory to beat x86-64. In floating point performance that is always a weaker point in AMD, Intel continued to take the lead with the 3.4G and 3.6G P4, while FX-53 is on par with Xeon 3.6G.

In this six-months, there are actually 3 newly released RISC chips, SPARC64 V, UltraSPARC IV and PA-8800. Only SPARC64 V is included in this report as SUN and HP only submitted the result to cint2000rate and cfp2000rate only. However, the cint2000rate and cfp2000rate result of both dual-core UltraSPARC IV and PA-8800 are disappointing when comparing with other RISC CPUs of the same class. On the other hand, SPACR64 running at 1.89GHz already surpass 1.7G POWER4+ and is now leading among other RISC processors.

Looking Forward

In the 2nd half, as POWER5 will soon be release, we will be able to see how it out-performs others. Moreover, the competition between AMD and Intel is generating more heat. Itanium 2 has been leading both integer and floating point performance for a while and is aging, while other processors has been chasing hard at the back. As more and more dual-core processors are released, it become harder to justify single-processor performance in the coming year.