Out of any type of server that an organization will purchase today, web servers are amongst the most popular. "Web server" is such a generalized term in today's IT environment. Their primary function can be one of many different business requirements: an E-commerce site to sell a company's product, an enterprise web services application performing order fulfillment, corporate intranet, collaboration applications, and the list goes on. Today, web servers are more like distributed application servers than a machine serving static HTML pages from years past. In this installment of the Xeon vs. Opteron series, we're going to take a look at both of the most current offerings from Intel and AMD on three different web platforms.

The one common link between the different types of web applications is the language in which they are written. In the past, we've performed our load testing on one application server (Macromedia ColdFusion); however, in this series of tests, we've included three different platforms. We ran load tests on Macromedia ColdFusion MX 6.1, PHP 4.3.9, and Microsoft .NET 1.1. We used a collaboration application called FuseTalk for our .NET and ColdFusion tests, and we used the popular open-source portal software, PHPNuke for our PHP test. We're hoping to get a real world store front in future tests, to further diversify our testing.

Testing procedure

To load up our servers and applications, we used Microsoft ACT, which is included with Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. A test scenario was created that kept the CPU sustained at 90%+ usage, while not completely flooding the box to the point where everything was queued. The test was run over a Gigabit network to ensure that there were no network bottlenecks, and a separate database server was used for all tests. We used Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Web Edition for the operating system, and therefore, had 2GB of memory for all web servers. 2GB or less is a common configuration for a web server today. We used an IDE drive for the web servers, since none of our tests are I/O intensive.

The test results include 3 measurements: Average time to last byte, Total requests served, and Requests per second. The average time to last byte is the average time that it took to receive the last byte of information from each request. The total requests served is the number of successful requests (HTTP status 200) completed within the test time. The requests per second measurement is the average of requests per second that the test was performing throughout the duration of the test.

Opteron System
Dual 250 Opteron processors
2GB PC3200 DDR (Kingston KRX3200AK2) memory
Tyan K8W motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

Xeon System
Dual 3.6GHz Xeon processors
2GB DDR2 memory
Intel SE7520AF2 motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

ColdFusion Test Results
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  • Beenthere - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Why would you use a 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive for a performance server??? Wouldn't you use a faster/larger drive or dual drives???
  • tyski34 - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link


    "The difference between the Opteron and Xeon here was approximately 3%, which isn't far off our deviation of 2.5%."

    = a draw statistically
  • gherald - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    Why yes #4, it is clear that the Opterons bested the Xeons in the ColdFusion and PHP tests by a slim margin. But tech writers call such things draws, since such small percentage points in performance are fairly negligeable.
  • Boonesmi - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    "The results throughout much of these tests were a draw, right up until the Microsoft .NET tests"

    huh? the opteron was fastest in every benchmark except the .NET tests.... a draw would have been if each platform has won some and lost some.
  • bozilla - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    If someone would read this from anandtech and do a test between these 2 configuration for content creation and test these computers as workstations, with the design/video/3d applications. What I'm asking for I guess is comparison between the best AMD has to offer against the latest Intel offering. I think this is only fair, since as we all know these workstation can cost as low as $4k (if self-built) as oppose to single CPU machines from Falcon Northwest or Alienware that cost pretty much the same. I think that many people like me who are in creative profession would like to see who is the performance king in dual system for this field. Maybe you should definitely include gaming tests and compare these dual machines with single CPU machines (FX53, P4EE, P4 560)

  • Ardan - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    LOL thats a good summary :)
  • Denial - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    To save everyone the 2 minutes it takes to read this...

    For the 32 bit apps which were tested, the difference is negligible.

    Move along now.
  • Mathan kb02 - Wednesday, August 19, 2020 - link

    Great post about web app

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