Data Centers

AMD beats Intel in power efficiency

Some of you TechRepublic members might remember a statement made by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in July, when he claimed that Intel was the leader in power efficiency.

Well, that contention apparently did not sit too well with certain folks. In fact, computer performance firm Neal Nelson & Associates decided to come out with a benchmark report, pitting an AMD Opteron-based server up against an Intel Xeon-based server.

Based on the results, the firm claims that AMD-based servers beat Intel in 36 of the 57 power efficiency tests it conducted. A home-cooked benchmark was used, measuring Web transactions processed under Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, Apache2, and MySQL. Tests were performed on servers configured with various amounts of memory and load levels.

Excerpt from The Register:

The results show that under certain configurations and load levels, the Intel server was 2.4 to 11.7 percent more power efficient. But in a majority of cases, the AMD server was 9.2 to 23.1 percent more efficient.

Perhaps more significantly, when the systems were idle and waiting for transactions to process, the AMD server was 30.4 to 53.1 more power efficient. If accurate, it's a noteworthy figure, considering many servers spend most of their time waiting for work.

Basically, the tests show that Intel's power efficiency decreases as memory size goes up. AMD's power efficiency also apparently increases as the memory is upped.

Intel disputes the results. According to Intel rep Nick Knupffer in an e-mail:

The report ignores performance, in that you'd use less Intel servers to get the same job done, meaning less electricity is needed.

You can download the white paper with the benchmark results.

Do you factor in power efficiency when purchasing a new server?


Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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