AMD has opened its heart to us to extol the benefits of its new Barcelona processor line. Barcelona is only manifesting itself in an Opteron server part to begin with. But the Phenom high-end desktop chips due by the year's end will owe much to what we're hearing about the Opterons.
Opteron product manager Steve Demski said of the new chips: "We've made some significant improvements that are unmatched by what Intel can offer."
Small wins though they are, Demski is referring specifically to what AMD calls Independent Dynamic Core Technology and CoolCore Technology. Basically, AMD has designed Barcelona to turn off any areas of the chip that aren't being used - whether its one of the cores or even the memory controller - to save power.
Demski also made a big thing out of another technology - Dual Dynamic Power Management. This means the processing cores and memory controller use two power planes as opposed to one - again meaning better power consumption.
128bit Wide Floating Point Accelerator
Referring to a 128bit Wide Floating Point Accelerator he claimed a four fold increase in performance since the previous generation. "It's a little bit more efficient than what Intel does...a little bit of a bottleneck when you look at what Core does today." Demski said this would also have a positive affect on gaming performance later in the
Demski also talked up AMD's benefits of keeping the same socket architecture. "We do try to innovate within the same socket...not unnecessarily churning through [platforms]," he said.
AMD wants to maintain continuity for its customers, though whether this is so much of interest for Opteron customers is debatable.