AMD addresses Facebook's CPU performance concerns

By Justin Mann on
Not long ago, Facebook executive Jonathan Heiliger spoke out about modern server processors and what he thought of them. Primarily, his opinion was that the latest generation of both Intel and AMD processors simply don't add up to value gained, claiming the chips are inefficient and power-hungry. It didn't take long for cries of outrage to make their way onto the Internet, and this week AMD’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer Nigel Dessau gave his two cents.

In a recently posted blog entry, Dessau concedes that Facebook’s Heiliger makes some good points in regards to what is advertised and the performance customers actually get. He claims that synthetic benchmarks simply can't cover every usage scenario, and since Facebook relies heavily on an interpreted language like PHP (as a good number of web services do), performance is bound to be slower than in a compiled C++ application for example.

While he agrees there should be different benchmarks to accurately take into account different usage models, and that perhaps they’ve been slow to deliver them, Dessau believes that as it stands now these industry-standard tests are a “useful evil” for gauging the performance of a certain technology.

He did seem to take issue with Facebook on the power consumption front. Although Heiliger’s comments regarding this topic were more directed at system providers, Dessau assured that AMD is doing their part to deliver efficient performance, and not just raw performance. He specifically cited AMD’s Quad-Core Opteron EE processor, which has a 40W ACP, and their Six-Core Opteron HE.

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