AMD's new Opteron 'Shanghai' workstation processors are already being picked up by manufacturers, and there are plenty of boasts littering the spec sheets. The Tech Report has had several Shanghai systems on their test bench, together with a few Intel Xeon rivals, to put the claims to the test; turns out, the 45nm chips are a significant improvement on the older, 65nm Opterons, but still lag behind Intel's processors in real-world performance.
With the right memory and general setup, the Shanghai chips are impressive, particularly in power-efficiency when running FB-DIMMS. Power consumption is lower both under load and at standby.
"The Opteron does best when it's able to take advantage of its superior system architecture and native quad-core design, and it suffers most by comparison in applications that are more purely compute-bound, where the Xeons generally have both the IPC and clock frequency edge" The Tech Report
However in tests intended to model real-world workstation and HPC tasks, the 2.7GHz Shanghai Opteron fell behind a 2.66GHz Xeon L5430. AMD's best hope, it seems, is to concentrate on getting the HyperTransport 3-enabled versions of Shanghai out as soon as possible next year, before Intel's 2P Xeon processors emerge to corral the market.