Riding the 64-bit Chariot: Choosing Socket 939 and Linuxby Kristopher Kubicki on July 19, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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Hopefully, our debut Linux article scratched the surface on where Linux is going, and where it has to catch up in order to become a viable alternative to Windows in the near future. With that being said, it is important that we keep our Linux benchmarks as up to date as possible for new hardware, as well as focus on which new hardware provides stability and performance advantages.
Since the Athlon 64 architecture places the memory controller directly on the CPU core, the role of the northbridge becomes severely limited. The core logic still controls critical IO operations and features, but the general consensus is that chipset manufacturer and quality matters less and less. Today, we will attempt to prove if that is true or not with Linux. Not only must we look at raw performance, but also at driver support and quality. Keep in mind that since these hardware platforms were launched over a month ago, we should see stable and fine-tuned Linux drives by now.
Although modifying and recompiling everything provides us with better performance, we hinder ourselves with that approach, since benchmarks become very difficult to replicate. So, once again, we will be using "out of the box" configurations using SuSE 9.1 Pro (both x86_64 and x86 binaries). We want to give the opportunity for as many people as possible to replicate our benchmarks.
|Performance Test Configuration|
|Processor(s):||Athlon 64 3500+ Socket 939 (2.2GHz, 512KB Cache)|
|RAM:||2 x 512MB Mushkin PC3500 Level II|
|Hard Drive(s):||Seagate 120GB 7200RPM IDE (8Mb buffer)|
|Video AGP & IDE Bus Master Drivers:||Linux NVIDIA Core Logic: 1.0-275
Linux NVIDIA Graphics: 1.0-6106
|Video Card(s):||NVIDIA GeForceFX 5600SE 128MB|
|Operating System(s):||SuSE 9.1 Professional (32/64 bit)
|Motherboards:||NVIDIA NForce3 250 Reference Board
VIA K8T800 Pro Reference Board
We attempted to keep our test configuration as close to CPU/Motherboard/Memory Windows test configuration as possible. The only major change that we adopted for this analysis include the change in processor, IDE rather than SATA hard drive, and the NVIDIA GeForceFX video card. We opted for an NVIDIA card over an ATI card for these benchmarks primarily for 64-bit Linux driver support. We have a Linux video card roundup lined up for the future; so in that article, we can take a better look at where the particular differences lay in video processing.
Feel free to take a look at Wesley's breakdown of each motherboard that we featured in this review here.