Data Centers

Intel trots out misleading benchmark charts

Intel's energy efficiency slide is like a comparison of apples to eggplant.

In a manipulative attempt to demonstrate leadership over AMD for the press and analysts, Intel twists benchmark data to make it look as though it's latest Xeons are outperforming the best AMD has to offer. Yet, upon closer inspection, most of the data being shown is irrelevant.

Using line charts to present benchmark data is tricky to begin with. Usually, you have performance points going up the Y axis and along the X axis, you might have variable loads. But you'd never do what Intel has done here.

In this graph designed to show leadership in energy efficiency, not only do the benchmarks used change from one data point to the next, but so too do the chips being compared (as evidenced by the extensive footnoting). Whereas the Intel chip stays constant (a dual core Xeon 5160), the AMD chip to which it's compared changes from one benchmark to th next. In some cases, it's the newest chip. In others, an older generation Opeteron is used. Still others, Intel is comparing its dual core to an AMD single-core

To compound matters, for two of the benchmarks that show Intel taking a commanding lead, both of the benchmarks are six year old benchmarks for which newer versions exit. In fact, of the last ten benchmarks to the right side, all but one compare the Xeon 5160 to a chip it shouldn't be compared to, or use a retired benchmark.

Where the little yellow question mark appears, we don't even know what AMD chip was used there. It doesn't say. Maybe it was an old 32-bit Athlon?

For David Berlind's write up on Intel's incredibly misleading usage of benchmarks, see his post in ZDNet's TestBed blog.

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox