Penryn benched
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Monday, 29 October 2007 21:36

OCWorkbench have benched the QX9650 Yorkfied.  The results?  Well, the upshot is that Penryn offers pretty much the same performance we've come to expect from Conroe.  Though they try to fanboy the results, basically the benches all differ by the margin of error for the tools used, with one interesting exception: Penryn shows about a 15% performance boost in SSE3 on the Whetstone benchmark.  Even with SSE4, the boost looks to be only around 10% or so.

So, if the performance isn't really significantly better than Conroe, does that mean that Penryn doesn't bring anything to the party?

Absolutely not!  For starters, these chips will be LAUNCHING at 3 GHz.  There are also reports from several places of overclocking into the 4 GHz+ range.  Even allowing for the fact that these are engineering samples, they give us an idea of where Intel should be able to get with their actual production within 6 months or so.  In addition, the folks at Intel are openly saying that they can tweak the process and go even faster if they need to.  If they are openly talking about it, it's probably safe to bet they have it working in the lab.

Where does this leave AMD?  Well, Barcelona still looks to be roughly 5% slower than Conroe, clock-for-clock.  That means that AMD will have to scale higher in frequency to make up the deficit.  Unfortunately, AMD isn't going to be hitting 3 GHz any time soon according to their roadmaps, much less 4 GHz.  This means that the only way AMD will be able to compete will be on price.  With AMD already hemorrhaging money to the tune of about $500 million a quarter, they can't afford to cut price any more.

Despite all this, it's possible that if AMD can hold on until they get 45 nM up and running, it may all be good.  Remember, AMD didn't really have a decent 130 nM process either, but when they hit 90 nM, they finally got their stride (after some tweaking).  PERHAPS we'll see the same thing at 45 nM?

I know, I know, I'm reaching for straws.  Still, the thought of a world where Intel is the only game in town is disconcerting, if for no other reason than because the days of cheap CPUs with monstrous performance will be over.

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