The clash of the titans has come full circle again, with Intel's dual core server CPU in the spotlight. Clearly, many people were expecting more. The Paxvilles have received a lot of attention the past weeks and months, and many of us have been looking forward to see the respectable Xeon get a facelift. For the price of the processor, the results are surprising. Normally a next-gen Xeon usually can lead the pack, or at least be a decent contender for high-end workstation or entry to mid level server. What we see here, though, is the opposite. Dual core Xeon performance is quite decent, and smokes previous gen CPUs and is definitely worth consider as it is cheaper than AMD's dual core Opteron. As a standalone CPU, sitting at 2.8GHz with up to 4MB of L2 cache per physical chip, it's a beast that can get the job done. Those may be the only edges it has, though. It consumes an enormous amount of power, even more than the highest clocked Prescott Pentium 4s. It cannot compete with the Opteron in raw numbers, getting defeated in various synthetic and real world benchmarks.
Performance isn't everything, though, but unfortunately what the Paxville does have going for it may not be enough. Platform stability will come in to play for a server, but both chip giants seem to have gotten that down pat. This is Intel's first release of the dual core Xeon, so things may (and mostly likely will) change, and hopefully soon. The Sossaman core is just around the corner, and perhaps then we'll see a bit more reasonable chip.