Dual Core Server Performance: AMD's Opteron x75 Series

Our first comparison of AMD's new dual core parts is in the server world - where AMD's new CPUs will be shipping to first.  Of course, no review is complete without a handful of interesting experiences from the lab, and this dual core launch was no exception. 

Server Test Platforms

AMD
Our Dual Core samples arrived a few weeks ago from AMD, well in advance of the launch date of April 21st. At the time of the samples' arrival, we didn't have a stable server board to use for our tests. The Tyan S2891 board that we had on hand was still going through BIOS changes and was not recommended for use with the Dual Core parts. As per AMD's recommendation, we secured a Tyan S2895 Workstation board, which AMD had verified was stable. We were uneasy running server based benchmarks on a workstation board and felt that a server based board recommended by AMD would have been more appropriate. That being said, both the S2891 and S2895 are very similar and are both nForce 4 based chipsets, so performance is virtually identical.


Intel
Intel is expected to release their Dual Core Xeon parts in the first quarter of 2006. So, we requested from Intel their latest Xeon MP system, since we were essentially putting a "4P" system against a Dual Xeon with the current hardware that we have in the lab. Intel, as always, came through with their SR4850HW4 4P system along with 4 Cranford 3.6 GHz 1MB L2 cache processors and 4 Potomac 3.3 GHz 8MB L3 Cache processors.

The SR4850HW4 system uses Intel's new E8500 server chipset "Twin Castle", which most importantly includes a new dual bus architecture that runs at 667MHz, up from 400MHz on older Xeon platforms. As you may have read in our last Quad Xeon article, the Xeon was in dire need of some front side bus bandwidth. Aside from the new bus architecture, the E8500 uses DDR2 based memory, in line with the current DP based Xeon systems.

Intel Front Intel memory Intel Cpu

When we began our testing on the new Intel platform, we quickly learned another "feature" of the SR4850HW4. After unpacking the system and setting it up, we proceeded to power it up with the default configuration with which the system had been shipped. The system wouldn't power up. With barely 2-3 days until the launch of this article, we were (needless to say) "on edge" about getting the benchmarks running. We placed an E-mail into our Intel contact, and within about 5 minutes, an engineer gave us a call. After a few minutes on the phone, the engineer asked, "What do you have the system plugged in to?" We responded, "Well, a wall plug in our lab." He then broke the news: "That system requires 208V to run." Now what? Off to Home Depot we went and grabbed some 12 gauge wire and breaker, and within an hour, we were installing Windows. Another Lab adventure for the books?

Breaker Panel Plug

Server Test Hardware Configuration

AMD
Motherboard: Tyan S2895
Memory: 4GB Kingston PC3200 ECC (2GB for Web benchmarks)
OS: Windows 2003 Enterprise/Windows 2003 Web edition (Web benchmarks)
RAID: LSI Logic 320-2 with 8 Seagate 15K Cheetahs in Raid 0

Intel
Memory: 4GB Infineon DDR2
OS: Windows 2003 Enterprise/Windows 2003 Web edition (Web benchmarks)
RAID: LSI Logic 320-2 with 8 Seagate 15K Cheetahs in Raid 0

The Lineup - Athlon 64 X2 Web Tests - FuseTalk .NET
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  • MDme - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    #133

    i think what #130 was saying was that: from top to bottom, AMD's offerings are really good...if you want the best "bang for the buck" the 3400+ or whatever, or a 3000+ winnie OC'd will provide you with the best performance per dollar you spend...EVEN against the X2's.

    On the other hand if cost is not an issue, an X2 4400+ provides extremely good performance for people willing to pay the $500 premium.

    Zebo's point is in direct response to your point, which is AMD "STILL" has the best bang for the buck, not intel.

    or maybe YOU missed the logic? LOL
    Reply
  • MPE - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    "Intel is just lucky a 3400+ new castle wasn't in that test suite. It's would win the majority of tests over an 830!! and it's still cheaper. Or did you miss this chart? LOL"

    Why not just admit it. AMD's DC is about 10-20% faster while costing 80-100% more.

    Even if the 3400+ is added, that comparison is moot since if you compare the score of that to the price of AMD's own DC - the price performance ratio is stagerrring? Or did you miss that logic?

    Anyways did you miss the part that even AMD DC was being beaten by their own single core.

    Next.
    Reply
  • nserra - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    "The Athlon 64 4000+ was the last single core member of the Athlon 64 line.
    The Athlon 64 FX will continue as a single core CPU line, with the FX-57 (2.8GHz) due out later this year."

    Where did you get this info anand, i am not sure if an Athlon64 X2 4400+ could not coexist with a Athlon64 4400+. If this is the last 4000+ than i must say gee thats too bad....
    Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    #125

    Techreports review is better for you. 64-bit OS, 64-bit apps when possible, no mystery unreproducable benchmarks like Anand's database stuff.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - link

    MPE BS, Intel is just lucky a 3400+ new castle wasn't in that test suite. It's would win the majority of tests over an 830!! and it's still cheaper. Or did you miss this chart? LOL
    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/cpu/amd/athlon...

    Intels DC chips can hardy compete with AMDs single core offerings. Side by side both DC it's a joke.

    So ya, AMD still has the "best bang for the buck" top end to bottom end. And they a far on top of the mountain.
    Reply
  • MPE - Monday, April 25, 2005 - link

    Isn't the shoe on the other foot?

    For several years now, so many touted AMD's cheaper price and competative pricing.

    Now with Pentium4 D, especially with the 3GHz model, you get half the price of the cheapest X2 while probably at best 20% lower performance?

    What happened here?

    Now P4D 3GHz model is the best bang for the buck and not the AMD offering. This is a complete reversal of what a lot of AMD supporters have been touting?
    Reply
  • ceefka - Monday, April 25, 2005 - link

    #125 Yeah, good point.

    Compare:
    A. singletreaded 32-bit app on a singlecore
    B. multi-threaded 64-bit app on a dualcore
    Considering that multithreaded apps already see such large gains on dualcores, going 64-bit too could well mean a more than 100% improvement from A to B.

    But of course, NO ONE needs dual core, 64-bit and +4GB memory in the next 5-10 years :P

    The ball now lies with MS and (Linux) app developpers to write more stuff in multithreaded 64-bit code. From what I hear and read it is not so much the 64-bit part as it is the threading that is a real challenge, even for veterans.
    Reply
  • Ross Whitehead - Sunday, April 24, 2005 - link

    Visual, On P.12 I was referring to the closest Xeon competitor to the 252s which is the Quad Xeon 3.6 GHz 667 MHz FSB.

    Does that make any more sense?
    Reply
  • Ross Whitehead - Sunday, April 24, 2005 - link

    jvarszegi, the actual stored procs are not prefixed with "sp_", we just used that as part of the "analogy" to the real system.

    One could also argue that we did not prefix the analogy example with the object owner either which also incurs a cache miss.

    Honestly, I have never quantified the expense of the sp_ prefix or the object owner.
    Reply
  • Binji7 - Sunday, April 24, 2005 - link

    Where are the dual-core Windows x64 and Linux x64 benchmarks?? That's what I really want to see.

    Reply

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