Conclusion

Two months of testing and tweaking allowed us to gather a lot of information. Our Sybase and DB2 tests still need a bit of tweaking before we can publish result on them, but with tests on SSL, JSP, LAMP, MySQL and PostGreSQL, what can we conclude so far?

Sun's T2000 server and it's 32 thread T1 CPU turned out very variable results. It is not the best choice for open source databases. PostGreSQL and MySQL scale better on Solaris than they do on Linux, but both RDBMS have trouble scaling over multiple cores. It is likely that the DB2 and Sybase results will be much better on the T2000. The SAMP web performance of the T2000 was good when we cached the PHP pages and we had few accesses to the MySQL database. When PHP pages had to regenerated with every access and the query cache of MySQL was used, performance was pretty bad compared to the x86 competition. The best purpose for the T2000 is a JSP server with SSL authentication.

The Intel Xeon 5160, a.k.a. Woodcrest, will simply be the most powerful server CPU this year (though it's not yet available for purchase of course). As our extrapolated calculations show, even a 2.6 GHz Woodcrest will outperform the current Opteron 285 with a 5 to 55% margin, nothing short of impressive. The new Xeon is however not invincible: the Opteron can still give some serious resistance when running some instruction mixes with lots of rotates, add-carry or load effective address instructions. RSA, AES and other benchmarks clearly show this. Intel will still have to convince some software vendors to port to SSE if it wants Woodcrest to be the completely superior CPU. The advantage in MySQL is also rather small, a result of the relatively high latency of the FB-DIMMs. But we are nitpicking: Intel's newest Xeon has taken back the performance/Watt crown. In one word: Woodcrest rocks!

And what about AMD? The Opteron remains a powerful architecture with a flexible platform. It is quickly becoming the most popular platform for 4 sockets and the upcoming Tulsa CPU is most likely not going to change that. However part of AMD's success has been Intel's Prescott/Nocona failure. In the K6 and Athlon (K7) years, AMD managed to improve the architecture every two years. In 1999 we had the original Athlon, in 2000 we got Thunderbird (integrated L2 cache) and in 2002 we got the Athlon XP. For the few past years, the Opteron architecture has made the move to dual-core and received a better memory controller, but the necessary IPC improvements and cache enlargements have not materialized. "Only the Paranoid survive", remember?

The Intel P-M architecture went from 1.7 GHz Single Core (Banias) in 2003 to 3 GHz (Conroe, Woodcrest) in 2006, while it quadrupled the L2 cache and significantly improved the IPC. At the same time, AMD's K8 series went from 1.8 GHz to 2.8 GHz dual-core, with the same amount of cache, and almost equal IPC. The result is that AMD will not be able to regain the performance crown in the dual and quad-core market until the K8L arrives. The future looks bright in the quad socket market however.

In summary:

Intel Xeon 5160 (Woodcrest)
Advantages:
  • Best server performance across all applications
  • Best Performance/Watt in the high end
  • Absolutely stunning web server performance
  • FB-DIMM enables high RAM capacity and bandwidth (quad channel)
Disadvantages:
  • Needs SSE optimized code for some special case code (RSA, AES)
  • FB-DIMM adds extra latency, cost (small) and power
UltraSparc T1 / Sun T2000
Advantages:
  • Superb SSL performance
  • Excellent Performance/Watt with SSL and Java code
  • Solaris, a robust and well scaling OS
  • Quad channel enables high RAM capacity
Disadvantages:
  • Heavy optimizing is necessary; out of box software performance is low
  • Low single threaded performance; also results in low performance in server software that scales badly
  • Price/Performance compared to Woodcrest
AMD Opteron
Advantages:
  • Well rounded CPU: performs well even with non optimized code; still excellent MySQL server results
  • Excellent Quad socket platform
  • Does not need FB-DIMM for high capacity thanks to NUMA
(DDR2 (socket-F) offers lower latency, less power and less cost )

Disadvantages:
  • Web server performance compared to Woodcrest
  • Power at higher clockspeeds (110 W vs. 80 W)
Performance Analyses
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  • duploxxx - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    2 weeks have past the way, still no word from anand about the microsoft benches? (i recieved a coment that it should only take 1 week to finish......

    reason????? don't make us guess why you don't post these benches
    Reply
  • severian64 - Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - link

    I've be reading Anandtech articles for a long time and i have to say that this article is so biased that i think it should be retracted. I can't wait for the next pro intel article.

    The MySQL and Sun combination attained a result of 712.87 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard running a 64-bit version of MySQL 5.0 and SJSAS 9.0 on Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire(TM) X4100 servers powered by Dual-Core AMD Opteron(TM) processors(1). The result demonstrates superb scalability of the whole solution, as compared to the previous result of 266 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard that was achieved with Single-Core AMD Opteron processors (2). This solution also demonstrated the best database performance, measured in SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard per database core (SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard /DB core), of any competitive submission using less than 20 total cores in database and application tiers. MySQL's SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard /DB core metric surpassed an Oracle-powered result by over 30 percent (3).

    MySQL Helps Set World Record in Java Application Server Benchmarks; High-Speed Open Source Software Blaze Past Proprietary Solutions
    CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 12, 2006--A popular application server benchmark, featuring a complete open source software stack with MySQL 5.0 database, the Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System, and Sun Java(TM) Systems Application Server 9.0 Platform Edition (Project GlassFish(SM)) has shattered the competition by offering up to 8.6 times lower cost of acquisition than the comparable solution (1,4), according to the benchmark test results published at http://www.spec.org/jAppServer2004/results/jAppSer...">http://www.spec.org/jAppServer2004/results/jAppSer....

    Maintained by the Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC(R)), the SPECjAppServer(R)2004 test is a recognized industry standard benchmark used to measure performance of Java EE application server platforms and each of the components that make up the application environment -- including hardware, database software, JDBC drivers, JVM software and the system network. It is designed to model a real-world automotive dealership application, including manufacturing, supply-chain management and an order/inventory system.

    "Open Source software can provide dramatic benefits for enterprise IT applications - especially in terms of real performance and TCO," said Ethan O'Rafferty, director of Strategic Alliances for MySQL AB. "We are proud that Solaris 10 is an ideal deployment platform for MySQL 5.0."

    The MySQL and Sun combination attained a result of 712.87 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard running a 64-bit version of MySQL 5.0 and SJSAS 9.0 on Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire(TM) X4100 servers powered by Dual-Core AMD Opteron(TM) processors(1). The result demonstrates superb scalability of the whole solution, as compared to the previous result of 266 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard that was achieved with Single-Core AMD Opteron processors (2). This solution also demonstrated the best database performance, measured in SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard per database core (SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard /DB core), of any competitive submission using less than 20 total cores in database and application tiers. MySQL's SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard /DB core metric surpassed an Oracle-powered result by over 30 percent (3).
    Reply
  • ChuaChua - Saturday, June 10, 2006 - link

    I'm confused about the charts.
    What are the numbers on the X and Y axes?
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Sunday, June 11, 2006 - link

    "To interpret the graphs below precisely, you must know that the X-axis gives you the number of demanded requests and the Y-axis gives you the actual reply rate of the server. The first points all show the same performance for each server, as each server is capable of responding fast enough. "

    http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=2772&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=2772&am...
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, June 09, 2006 - link

    1. "you use workstaion/budget motherboard against the intel server board. use a sun galaxy or hp proliant. "

    No, we do not. We used the MSI K2-102A2M for ALL opteron testing except the one where we tested MySQL with Solaris as the serverworks chipset was not supported by Solaris x86.
    Note that this server performed better than the HP DL385, which uses slower memory timings. Using the HP proliant would have resulted in slightly LOWER Opteron numbers not faster!
    I don't get that a few people make a big fuzz about the MSI K8N Master2-FAR, as we only use it once, out of necessity as it worked under Solaris. Know that Solaris x86 supports only a limited amount of x86 hardware.

    2. About our testing methods: yes, we use our own benchmarks. We'll add some industry standard benchmarks to the mix later. However, Industry benchmarks are what manufacturers optimize for, while our benches come straight out of the realworld, and are what real people are using. The same tests showed the Opteron beating the old Xeon by a pretty big margin, check our previous MySQL results. I don't see why now all of a sudden our tests should be changed

    If you feel there are other issues, feel free. I will definitely try to answer any concerns you have.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Friday, June 09, 2006 - link

    hmm thx for the reply. thats clear now. seeing all the reactions here on your review.
    it seems that the way its build up is far from structured and people do have problems reading it.

    you didn't answer my question why some benches are single sock some dual sock... but i quess you are rather busy.

    the way you talk as this core is the best thing (not released yet) against a new platform from competition that will be launched at same time... still does make me wonder but anyhow.

    your own benchmarks and rather strange OS for benches (with personal tweaking) is still not relevant. Giving results on a far more used platform would be much nicer to compare... but i already have a good idea of the few benches you will be showing in this review on a wintel OS (let's hope i am wrong). youre benches on linux might be straight out of real world, but impossible to verify.

    The only comparisson you make are 2 Spec benches and they were probably done also on that nice linux platform.... looking at the figures. but how comes that for one or another reason the opteron is clocked now at 2800 while you have 2400 and 2600 systems?
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Friday, June 09, 2006 - link

    Ok, addressing the other issues:

    1. Why no dual socket, quadcore in some benches:
    the reason is that with the LAMP tests we ended up with a limit in our httperf benchmark: it couldn't measure anything above more than 3000 req/s for some reason. So there is another bottleneck kicking in. So we avoided the bottleneck for now by not testing with quad core. This was happening on both the Opteron as the Woodcrest system.

    2. The Gentoo numbers of the previous review that gained 9-10% was a comparison between 1 Dualcore and two dual single Core CPUS. Note that the same review shows only 38% performance increase from one to two CPUs.

    3. A few people try to discredit this review in every way possible, I well aware of that. However, even though these benchmarks can't be repeated by other people for obvious reasons (the databases are not available to the public), the benches are in line with what other people have found.

    http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2006/06/08/int...">http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/200...el-woodc...

    P. Zaitsev is one of the most respected people when it comes to MySQL performance and is head of performance tuning of MySQL.
    Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    <Quote>The Gentoo numbers of the previous review that gained 9-10% was a comparison between 1 Dualcore and two dual single Core CPUS. Note that the same review shows only 38% performance increase from one to two CPUs.</Quote>

    Correct me if I am wrong. Follow the link below to Anandtech's own earlier benchmarks. Goto the last table on the page and check results of "Dual Dual Core 875" and "Dual Opteron 248" from 5 Concurrencies onwards. The increase is slight, but there is definetly no performance degradation. The earlier review too uses Opterons+Linux+MySQL+InnoDB, the same as this setup used. Why do you get totally different results sets this time around?

    http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=2447&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=2447&am...

    In the next page of the same review, DB2 shows fanastic gains from 5 Concurrencies onwards when going from Dual Cores to Four Cores. Check the first table under "Benchmarks IBM DB2: Single core versus Dual core". Note results of "Dual Opteron 2.2 hz" and "Dual Dual Core AMD 2.2 Ghz". This too is on linux. DB2 is definetly better suited than MySQL to reflect gains when moving from two core to four core setup.

    Was publishing the obviously wrong MySQL results that you got this time necessary?

    Despite choosing Gentoo, for the optmization capabaility, you have not chosen to publish the optimizations options used. Gentoo gurus would have verified that the optimizations for each of the processors where fairly chosen. This is not a allegation that you have taken sides, but why hold back some specific info when they are not secretive or proprietery in nature? And yes, I know you have used Gentoo in many previous benchmarks without specifiying the optimizations, but as this review seems to have become conterversial, it will help clear the air a bit. Specifying the options used when you have deviated from the default settings will surely increase credibility of review.articles.

    Using a standard, preconfigured and widely available package like Debian, RHEL or SLES in their default settings was another option to ensure a neutral platform.

    Cant comment about other parts of the review as I was only interested in the database performance

    <Quote>A few people try to discredit this review in every way possible, I well aware of that.</Quote>

    Why cant readers of Anandtech question the process used in a review? Afterall its their page views / site visit that brings the ad revenue. Readers tend to have limited time to go thru and comment if they want to. Exaggration may happen when we dont have time to express our doubts in detail. Your comment above was cheap shot.

    Still, nice to see that Intel finally has something that can be compared to a Opteron. Good to have a choice, but the 3 year wait was too long.

    And thanks for replying about the hardware used.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Monday, June 12, 2006 - link

    quote:

    the 3 year wait was too long.


    Apparently you have no idea how long it takes to bring a totally new chip to market. This generally takes approximately 5 years.
    Reply
  • BasMSI - Saturday, June 10, 2006 - link

    Hahahaha, what balony.....

    Aceshardware didn't have problem reaching above 8000 requests on the Dual 844 back in 2003.

    The article can be found here: http://www.aceshardware.com/read.jsp?id=60000279">>>Click here<<

    And you where unable?
    Get real.

    If you don't know how to setup a server, then stay away from trying to do such.
    Reply

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