Will AMD's Leo platform be hopelessly outgunned by the awesome power of Intel's latest, top-end, 6-core, i7 Extreme Edition… or are they aimed at totally different markets? KitGuru gets in the ring to investigate who LEO wants to tame.
In 2007, Pat Gelsinger gave an open interview about Intel's future strategy in which he said, plainly, that “More cores are always better”. Clocks to one side, KitGuru agrees with this. But what if both CPUs have the same number of cores ? Also, what if the platforms are so different that a ‘100% level playing field' is actually hard to create?
In testing the Black Edition AMD 6-core processor as part of a complete ‘Leo' platform, we've tried to even things out by ‘over spec-ing' where possible. That means booting from an SSD – and running 8GB for Leo and 6GB for i7.
Results? Interesting. In most cases, AMD's Leo platform delivers around 50% of the performance that Intel's top chip can muster. So should we conclude that it's a case of ‘Lambs for Lions' ? Not at all. Leo bares it's fangs and reveals its natural-born-killer character when we reveal the price. At ~30% of the price of Intel's offer – it's an interesting proposition.
For AMD, the big issue is issues. They are still not doing as much work per cycle as Intel – and that's always going to create an uphill battle. That said, Leo bodes well for the ‘Issues on Steroids' Bulldozer due early 2011.
KitGuru says: You can't guarantee Leo will let you clock it past 3.6GHz, but the ‘half the speed for a third of the price of 980' proposition is interesting. In multi-threaded applications, it will pass i5-750 and hold its own with the i7-930, which is all AMD could have hopes for. For now, we like it and we'd buy it with our money!