After months of waiting, AMD has announced
that its quad-core Barcelona is finally here. Well, it is if you're interested in servers.
For those of us wanting the consumer orientated Phenom X4 processors, then the wait is still a little longer. Sorry.
Barcelona launches at 2.0GHz with the Opteron 2350, but by Q407/Q108 AMD expects to reach at least 2.5GHz, as samples at this clock speed are already doing the rounds. If you've had your head under a rock for the last six months, you can read our initial Barcelona coverage
, which details the core enhancements over the current Athlon X2 processors.
The new Opterons are socket compatible with current socket 1207 motherboards which just require a BIOS update.
Phenom will work best with AM2+ which uses split power planes to provide separate power to the CPUs and memory controller. The new CPUs are all built on a 65nm architecture and have 463 million transistors, in comparison the latest iteration of the Athlon X2 has "just" 230 million transistors.
Comparing the transistor count to its competition, Intel's Core 2 Quad and Xeon processors (which are made with two discrete dies) have 582 million transistors, but the majority of this can be put down to the larger caches.
has put together a Phenom preview, where it compares a single Barcelona to a pair of dual-core Opterons at the same clock speed. From the results, it seems the new Barcelona core is somewhere between 10-15 percent faster, clock to clock, than the current Athlon 64 X2s. However, bear in mind that this is with slower registered ECC DIMMs at DDR2-667 and a server motherboard, not 1,066MHz unbuffered memory and an enthusiast-orientated chipset.
Can't wait until Phenom? Is quad-core over rated? Or will an Intel 45nm sort you for some potential-super-overclock action? Let us know your thoughts in the forums