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Differences between AMD and Intel CPUs [was: Re: Dragonfly and Hyperthreading....]

From: Freddie Cash <fcash-ml@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 10:19:29 -0800

On March 9, 2005 09:18 am, EM1897@xxxxxxx wrote:
> I'm sorry Matt, but you are just plain wrong. Assuming
> PCI-X is a requirement, a 3.2Ghz P4 + MB is $360. and
> to get equivalent performance you're looking at $700.
> to $900 for a MB with an AMD processor and I'd argue that
> you need more than that. If you need a 1U appliance,
> you're looking at $950. base vs $440. base. There is
> simply no justification for it currently.

You can't compare a P4 system with an Opteron system.  One's a desktop 
processor, the other is a server processor.  You would compare the P4 
system with an Athlon64 system, and find the Athlon64 system to be less 
expensive, quieter, cooler, and "just as fast".

You have to compare a P4 Xeon system with an Opteron system.  And once 
you do that, you find that the Xeon system will always be more 
expensive than the Opteron system.  (It is up here in Canada, anyway.)  
It's nigh impossible to find just the Xeon CPU for less than $500, let 
alone a CPU and mobo combo.

You also have to be sure you are comparing the correct speed bins of the 
two processors.  In all the benchmarks out there (on Ars Technica, 
Tom's Hardware, Anandtech, etc), the Opteron (at a much lower clock 
speed) is either faster than, the same as, or within 15% slower than a 
P4 / Xeon system running up to 2 GHz faster.  Once you start comparing 
SMP systems (especially 4-way systems) you find the Opterons will 
almost always come out on top.  Which one is the better value then?  A 
super-high clocked system, running smoking hot, or a lower clocked but 
just as fast performing system that doesn't sound like a jet engine?

We have two IBM 2U servers here, each with dual 3.0 GHz Xeon processors 
and 6 GB of RAM each.  These things sound like jets when idle.  Once 
the systems get loaded, they sound worse.  There are 10 fans in these 
2U boxes.  During testing, these were in our office, and nearly drove 
us insane.  I haven't checked the temps recently, but they were always 
pushing 80 C with the case top off during testing.

We also have two whitebox servers here, each with dual Opteron 242s (1.8 
GHz) and 8 GB of RAM each.  These things are whisper quiet, even under 
load.  There's only 4 fans in each of these.  The loudest devices are 
the SCSI drives.  The temps under load push 60 C.

The price difference between the two sets of servers above is almost 
$5,000 CDN each, with the Opterons being cheaper.  I haven't run any 
benchmarks on these systems as they run a mix of Fedora Core (64-bit), 
RedHat Enterprise Linux (32-bit), and FreeBSD (32-bit).  If we didn't 
have a support contract with IBM for the hardware and software on those 
servers, it'd be very hard to justify using them.

Freddie Cash, CCNT CCLP        Helpdesk / Network Support Tech.
School District 73             (250) 377-HELP [377-4357]

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