Nelson said he doesn't know exactly why Opteron is delivering better throughput, but he said the chip's architectural differences, including its Direct Connect Architecture – which moves chip processing closer to memory – probably account for the difference.
Gordon Haff, an analyst at IT researcher Illuminata said that "no single benchmark result is truly significant". Pointing to Nelson's plans to test Intel's more recent chips, its Woodcrest and Conrow family, Haff said those chips are Intel's current generation, and they have closed the dual-core performance gap with AMD – at least for now, he said.
Haff also said that Nelson's testing of the 2.4-GHz chip is "essentially a backward-looking benchmark test. It's not news that Netburst Xeons were significantly slower than AMD," he said. "It's far more interesting and relevant how Woodcrest Xeons stack up against AMD and how the various quad-core processors line up as they roll out into the market."
Intel officials declined to comment on the test. AMD officials could not immediately be reached for comment.