Intel's Xeons have taken quite a bit of market share from AMD's Opterons in the past year or so, and rightly so, thanks to a nice combination of performance and power efficiency under load. Those Xeons have had a notable Achilles' heel, though, in the form of high power consumption at idle.
The Xeons' high idle power primarily comes from two culprits: the Xeon platform's use of FB-DIMMs and the CPU chips themselves. This fact has left something of an opening for the Opteron, whose place in the data center has been cemented by its overall power efficiency. However, Intel has just announced some changes to its Xeon lineup today that could change the picture dramatically.