by Johan De Gelas
“If Istanbul is introduced in the early part of H2 2009, AMD will have a small window of opportunity of competing with a hex-core versus a quad-core (Intel’s Nehalem EP). Time will tell of course how small, large or non-existing this window will be.
In well threaded applications, the best a “hex-core Shanghai” can do is give about a 30-40% boost to performance compared to the current Shanghai, which is most likely not enough to close the gap with the upcoming Nehalem CPU (let alone the 32 nm hex-core version). However, Istanbul is more than a hex-core Shanghai. The improved memory controller and HT-assist can lower the latency of inter-CPU syncing and increase the effective memory bandwidth. For that reason, Istanbul will do better than just “a shanghai with 2 added cores” in many applications such as SAP, OLTP databases, Virtualization scenario’s and HPC. Depending on the application, Istanbul might prove to be competitive with the quad-core Nehalem. It is clear that the hex-core “Westmere” which will have a slightly improved architecture will be a different matter.”