Can AMD Shanghi Intel Nehalem Users?

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

AMD delivered Shanghi, the first 45nm chip, ahead of schedule, aiming to disrupt the momentum of Intel's Nehalem processor. The question is whether AMD will build and carry momentum even after Intel release Core i7.

With the early arrival of AMD's new Shanghai processor, right on the heels of Intel's public unveiling of Nehalem, one has to wonder if we are on the verge of a renewed chip war. There is some interesting background behind each product launch here - Intel rushed to lift the NDA on Nehalem, so reports of the chips prowess could reach the masses before the new CPU was shipping, while AMD pushed the launch of Shanghai from Q1 of 2009 to Q4 of 2008.

While Intel was first to the punch with news of the Core i7 processor, AMD is making sure that Shanghai is available now, giving AMD an advantage. The question is, how will things change once Core i7 is readily available?

In some respects both processors are somewhat vague in their market definitions. For example, Shanghai is poised as the replacement for Barcelona, yet the company is clearly touting Shanghai as a solution for multi CPU servers. Further confusing the issue is that AMD bills Shanghai as delivering on the unfulfilled promises of Barcelona, yet has delivered most of the evaluation units in dual CPU server formats. One has to ask the question, what exactly is Shanghai destined for?

The situation with Nehalem is no better; Intel is clearly positioning as a high performance workstation CPU, yet begs to be compared to a Dual Xeon setup. So, perhaps the most interesting path to follow is to compare Nehalem directly to Shanghai and then decide what fits where best.

Both CPUs introduce new technology from their respective manufacturers. Shanghai brings a 45 nanometer design to AMD, which allows higher clock speeds, reduced energy use and increases the cache size. All of which add up to a dramatic increase in the all too important performance per watt race.

Nehalem on the other hand adds an on-chip power management microcontroller, hyper-threading and three memory channels that support 1,066MHz DDR3, all of which boosts performance and reduces power consumption. Nehalem also sports a new high-speed system bus, Quick Path Interconnect (QPI), which connects the processors to other system components.

While the performance war may teeter-totter back and forth, currently AMD has the advantage - simply by having their product ready to ship, especially in time for the holidays!


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com