Intel Woodcrest performance claim a fraud
Update: Please check this page on closer examinations of Intel's claims on FP, Web, Java, HPC and Application performance.
Intel setup a web page showing TPC-C result of Woodcrest comparing to that of an Opteron. The 3GHZ Woodcrest server with 64GB FB-DIMM memory was running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise x64 Edition. It achieved a score of 169,360 tpmC, $2.93/tpmC. The Woodcrest machine will be available by November 22, 2006.
In comparison, Intel gave the following details of an AMD system:
"Dual-Core AMD Opteron* Processor Model 285 based platform details: HP Proliant DL385 G1* server platform with two Dual-Core AMD Opteron* processor 2.60GHz, 32GB memory, Microsoft Windows Server* 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft SQL Server* 2005 Enterprise x64 Edition. Referenced as published at 113,628 tpmC; $2.99/tpmC; Availability Date as listed in the submitted report is May 5, 2006. Results at http://www.tpc.org/tpcc/results/tpcc_result_detail.asp?id=106032001"
Intel's message to potential customers is clear: Woodcrest is 50% faster than Opteron in database performance. Remember, database is about reading from/writing to disks.
If you go to the executive summary of the HP DL385 at the TPC-C site, you can see that the Opteron machine was running Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x86 Edition SP1 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise (x86) Edition SP1. These are 32 bit versions of Windows Server 2003 and SQL server 2005. If you have any doubt on the OS and SQL server used, read the full disclosure of the DL385 TPC-C results. If it was a 64 bit OS, you would see information on Windows\SysWoW64\, but on the HP DL385 page, you only find Windows\System32\. So, the HP DL385 was running in very inefficient 32 bit PAE mode.
Why did Intel change x86 to x64 for the HP DL385 benchmark description? Let's first rule out the possibility that Intel did this accidentally. 86 and 64 are too distinctive from each other to be confused with one another.
If Intel told you that the Opteron result was actually from 32 bit, you would ask immediately: wait a minute, how about running Opteron in 64 bit and also with 64GB ram (instead of 32 GB PC2700 RAM)?
We know that Opteron performs 20-40% better in 64 bit mode -- which will immediately wipe out Intel's claimed performance lead. So, cunny Intel changed 86 to 64.
By changing x86 to x64 for the Opteron tests, Intel was trying to create an impression that it has a big lead over AMD under similar conditions. This is similar to Intel's previous acts of putting a faster harddrive in its own server and claiming its CPU is faster.
In fact, not only the Woodcrest was running 64 bit OS, it costs $158,000 or 47% more than the Opteron system. The Woodcrest system has 64GB RAM and 48 MSA 60 StorageWorks with 576 SAS drives at 15K RPM. The Opteron system has 32GB ram and 18 MSA 30 StorageWorks wtih 380 SCISI drives. There is a huge difference in storage performance between the two. TPC-C is a database benchmark. A database reads data from disk to memory and write data from memory to disk.
Independent results show Intel's Woodcrest 10% slower than Opteron at the same clock under 64 bit mode.
Fraud: Any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage. (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law, 1996).
Intel satisifies the above legal definition 100%. More on this (SpecFP_rate, SpecWeb2005 ...).