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Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar.

On November 14 Intel introduced its first quad-core server chips in the form of the Xeon 5300 series, also known under the code name Clovertown. Although the chip is technically pretty much identical to the desktop version which we looked at earlier, it runs on a different platform and is meant for other tasks. In this article we look at the influence of the step from dual-core to quad-core on Intel's position and how Clovertown holds up in our database test.

* Old and new

Since the Xeon 5300 'Clovertown' is, with the exception of a faster bus, identical to the Core 2 Extreme QX6700 'Kentsfield' - whose architecture we looked at extensively in this review - this article has a somewhat more light-hearted introduction. In the table below, the new quad-core is compared to Intel's very first microprocessor, the 4004. This processor was in the spotlight again recently, because it was 35 years ago on November 13 that the chip hit the market.

 4004ClovertownDifference
Introduction1971200635 years later
Price~$935*$117225% more expensive
Cores144x as much
Instructions per clock tick1164x as much per core
Clock speed108kHz2.66GHz24.691x higher
Bus frequency108kHz1333MHz12.346x higher
Bandwidth54KB/s10.6GB/s197.530x more
Production technique10000nm65nm154x smaller
Wafer size50mm300mm36x larger surface
Transistors2300582 million63.261x more per core
Physical size 12mm˛286mm˛6x larger per core
Contact points1677148x more
Registers4 bit64 bit16x wider
Address space640KB16EBUnimaginable
Instructions46~70015x as many
Consumption1W120W30x higher per core
Voltage15V1.34V>90% lower
Power0,07A90A1286x stronger
* Corrected for inflation - original price: $200. Collectors are paying $1000 for it.

Intel 4004The difference is humongous: with its clock of a tenth of a megahertz, the 4004 could perform a little over 100,000 instructions per second, while Clovertown can manage almost 43 billion in the same time span. To equal the theoretical computing power of a quad-core Xeon, 395.061 4004's would be needed, and then we are not even recognising the fact that one does its math with 4 bits while the other uses 64 bits. We'll save Intel's first-born from a crushing comparison in terms of performance per Watt and per dollar, but it should be clear that the small steps that we have seen over the years, exhibit extreme differences taken across a few decades.




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