Benchmark Selection

Our testing was conducted on Ubuntu Server 15.10 (kernel 4.2.0) with gcc compiler version 5.2.1.

The choice of comparing the IBM POWER8 2.92 10-core with the Xeon E5-2699 v4 22-core might seem weird, as the latter is three-times as expensive as the former. However, for this review, where we evaluate single thread/core performance, pricing does not matter. As this is one of the lowest clocked POWER8 CPUs, an Intel Xeon with a high base clock - something that's common for Intel's chips with fewer cores - would make it harder to compare the two microarchitectures. We also wanted an Intel chip that could reach high turbo clockspeeds thanks to a high TDP.

And last but not least we did not have very many Xeon E5 v4 SKUs in the lab...

Configuration


IBM S812LC (2U)

The IBM S812LC is based up on Tyan's "Habanero" platform. The board inside the IBM server is thus designed by Tyan.

CPU One IBM POWER8 2.92 GHz (up to 3.5 GHz Turbo)
RAM 256 GB (16x16GB) DDR3-1333
Internal Disks 2x Samsung 850Pro 960 GB
Motherboard Tyan SP012
PSU Delta Electronics DSP-1200AB 1200W


Intel's Xeon E5 Server – S2600WT (2U Chassis)

This is the same server that we used in our latest Xeon v4 review.

CPU

Xeon E5-2699 v4
Xeon E5-2640 v4 (2.4 GHz, 10 cores, 90 W TDP)

RAM 256 GB (8x32GB) Samsung DDR4-2400
Internal Disks 2x Samsung 850Pro 960 GB
Motherboard Intel Server Board Wildcat Pass
PSU Delta Electronics 750W DPS-750XB A (80+ Platinum)

Hyperthreading, Turbo, C1 and C6 were enabled in the BIOS.

Other Notes

All servers are fed by a standard European 230V (16 Amps max.) power line. The room temperature is monitored and kept at 23°C by our Airwell CRACs in our Sizing Servers Lab.

System Specs Memory Subsystem: Bandwidth
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  • tipoo - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    They made PowerPC Windows? Source? I remember the Powermac G5s were the early dev kits for the xbox 360 due to the architecture similarity, but I assumed those stories meant they were just working in OSX or Linux on them. Reply
  • thunderbird32 - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    AFAIK, the last build of Windows for PPC was NT 4. So, it's been a while. Reply
  • Sunner - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    There were early builds of Windows 2000 for the RISC's as well, during the times when it was still called NT5. I had one of those from WinHEC, but alas I lost it when moving at some point. :( Reply
  • yuhong - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    AFAIK, the little endian PowerPC mode that NT4 used was killed when they went to 64-bit and is different from today's POWER8 little endian mode that was only recently introduced. Reply
  • Kevin G - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    I used to have such a disc for Windows NT4. That disk also had binaries for DEC Alpha and MIPS. Reply
  • BillyONeal - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    The Xbox 360 is a PPC machine, and runs a (heavily modified) version of Windows. My understanding is that most x86 assumptions had to be ferreted out to run on Itanium (early) and then on ARM (later). Reply
  • Einy0 - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    MS has builds that will run on anything. The real question is why would you want to? These chips are designed from the ground up to run massive work loads. It's a completely different style of computing than a Windows machine. Even MS server OSes aren't designed for this type of work. We are talking Banking, ERP and other big data applications. MS is still dreaming about scaling on that level. Right now their answer is clustering but that comes with it's own obstacles too. Reply
  • abufrejoval - Thursday, August 4, 2016 - link

    Well there is always QEMU.

    And IBM has a much better binary translator from when they bought QuickTransit. That one originally translated Power to x86 for the Mac, then Sparc to x86 for Quicktransit and eventually x86 to Power for IBM so they could run Linux workloads on AIX.

    Then what exactly do you mean with Windows (assuming this is actually a reasonable question)?

    Server applications or desktop?

    .NET has been ported to Linux and I guess could be made to run on Power. A Power runtime could certainly be done by Microsoft, if they wanted to.

    I don't see why anyone would want to run Windows desktop workloads on this hardware, other than to show that it can be done: QEMU to that!
    Reply
  • BedfordTim - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    I was intrigued to see how little effect hyper-threading with your Xeon. My own experience is that it gives a 50% boost although I appreciate there are many variables. Reply
  • Taracta - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    Something seems to be wrong with the Mem Hierarchy charts in the Intel L3 and 16MB section. Reply

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