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When we first looked at the Opteron 6276, our time was limited and we were only able to run our virtualization, compression, encryption, and rendering benchmarks. Most servers capable of running 20 or more cores/threads target the virtualization market, so that's a logical area to benchmark. The other benchmarks either test a small part of the server workload (compression and encryption) or represent a niche (e.g. rendering), but we included those benchmarks for a simple reason: they gave us additional insight into the performance profile of the Interlagos Opteron, they were easy to run, and last but not least those users/readers that use such applications still benefit.

Back in 2008, however, we discussed the elements of a thorough server review. Our list of important areas to test included ERP, OLTP, OLAP, Web, and Collaborative/E-mail applications. Looking at our initial Interlagos review, several of these are missing in action, but much has changed since 2008. The exploding core counts have made other bottlenecks (memory, I/O) much harder to overcome, the web application that we used back in 2009 stopped scaling beyond 12 cores due to lock contention problems, the Exchange benchmark turned out to be an absolute nightmare to scale beyond 8 threads, and the only manageable OLTP test—Swingbench Calling Circle—needed an increasing number of SSDs to scale.

The ballooning core counts have steadily made it harder and even next to impossible to benchmark applications on native Linux or Windows. Thus, we reacted the same way most companies have reacted: we virtualized our benchmark applications. It's only with a hypervisor that these multi-core monsters make sense in most enterprises, but there are always exceptions. Since quite a few of our readers still like seeing "native" Linux and Windows benchmarks, not to mention quite a few ERP, OLTP, and OLAP servers are still running without any form of virtualization, we took the time to complete our previous review and give the Opteron Interlagos another chance.

Benchmark Configuration
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  • Scali - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    No, because if you read the ENTIRE benchmark configuration page, you'd see that all the AMD systems had 2 CPUs as well. Reply
  • Scali - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Oh, and while we're at it... the Intel system had only 48 GB of 1333 memory, where the AMDs had 64 GB of 1600 memory.
    (Yes, Bulldozer is THAT bad)
    Reply
  • PixyMisa - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Or rather, MySQL scales that poorly.

    What we can tell from this article is that if you want to run a single instance of MySQL as fast as possible and don't want to get involved with subtle performance tuning options, the Opteron 6276 is not the way to go.

    For other workloads, the result can be very different.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Feel free to send me a suggestion on how to setup another workload. We know how to tune MySQL. So far none of these settings helped. The issue discussed (spinlocks) can not be easily solved. Reply
  • Scali - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure if you bothered to read the entire article, because MySQL was not the only database that was tested.
    There were also various tests with MS SQL, and again, Interlagos failed to impress compared to both Magny Cours-based Opterons and the Xeon system.
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    The clockspeed of the RAM has a small impact here. 64 vs 48 GB does not matter. Reply
  • Scali - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Not saying it does... Just pointing out that the AMD system had more impressive specs on paper, yet failed to deliver the performance. Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Again, it is not CMT that makes AMD's transistor count explode but the combination of 2x L3 caches and 4x 2M L2-caches. You can argue that AMD made poor choices concerning caches, but again it is not CMT that made the transistor count grow.

    I am not arguing that AMD's performance/billion transistors is great.
    Reply
  • Scali - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    I think you are looking at it from the wrong direction.
    You are trying to compare SMT and CMT, but contrary to what AMD wants to make everyone believe, they are not very similar technologies.
    You see, SMT enables two threads to run on one physical core, without adding any kind of execution units, cache or anything. It is little more than some extra logic so that the OoOE buffers can handle two thread contexts at the same time, rather than one.

    So the thing with SMT is that it REDUCES the transistorcount required for running two threads. By nearly 100%.
    CMT on the other hand does not reduce the transistorcount nearly as much. So if you are merely looking at an 'exposion of transistor count', you are missing the point of what SMT really does.

    Other than that, your argument is still flawed. Even an 8-thread Bulldozer has a higher transistor count than the 12-thread Xeon here. It's not just cache. CMT just doesn't pack as many threads per transistor as SMT does... and to make matters worse, CMT also has a negative impact on single-threaded performance (which again, if you are looking at it from the wrong direction, may look like better scaling in threadcount... but effectively, both with low and high threadcounts, the Xeon is the better option... and this is just a midrange Xeon compared to a high-end Interlagos. The Xeon can scale to higher clockspeeds, improving both single-threaded and multithreaded performance for the same transistorcount).

    So what your article says is basically this:
    CMT, which is nearly the same as having full cores, especially in integer-only tasks such as databases, since you have two actual integer cores, has nearly the same scaling in threadcount as conventional multicore CPUs.
    Which has a very high 'duh'-factor, since it pretty much *is* conventional multicore.
    It does not reduce transistorcount, nor does it improve performance, so what's the point?
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Semantics :-). I can call it a core with CMT, or a module with 2 cores. Both are valid. Reply

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