At the Microprocessor Forum here this week, AMD's chief technology officer, Fred Weber, said that during tests in the company's labs, a server running a 2GHz Opteron achieved an "estimated" SPECint 2000 score of 1,202 and an estimated SPECfp 2000 score of 1,170, higher than most competing chips on the market today.A quick check of the SPEC web site reveals that the "estimated" Opteron scores are impressive, but I have to question why these are being referred to as "estimated" scores by AMD in the first place. If these scores were indeed produced with Opteron processors in AMD's labs as claimed, then there should be no need to estimate anything.
The need to estimate Opteron performance suggests that the processor may not be as far along in development as many might expect, but AMD could also be trying to avoid fully tipping its hand. This story over at The Inquirer suggests that the former may be more likely. In today's conference call, AMD commented on a new roadmap for Hammer's launch:
AMD said it had "changed its roadmap schedule" for the Hammer processors. The Sledgehammer-core Opteron will be released in the first half of 2003 for the server markets. And, while the Barton-core Athlon XP is now expected in the first quarter of 2003, the Clawhammer-core desktop processor will not be released until the second half of 2003, the company confessed.With losses mounting and AMD's one potential savior delayed, I fear we may not see Intel forced into a round of price cuts any time soon.