Several months ago, Sun gave us the opportunity to look at a quad Opteron, 3U rackmount server that had everyone reevaluating Intel's dominance in the server arena. Four months later, AMD finally has some significant market share for entry level servers. Our original quad Opteron 850 server was an impressive piece of machinery, but since AMD's launch of dual core processors, a whole new class of high performance entry servers has evolved.

Sun was extremely pleased to announce to us that their dual core V40z had set the 64-bit SPEC JBB2000 World Record. We couldn't have been more excited to get a similar configuration for our testing to do some real world benchmarks for ourselves! Today we will look at one of these high performance Sun Fire V40z machines and see how they compare against the previous generation of V40z.

Since we are looking at an 8-core Opteron server today, a huge portion of our time will be dedicated to investigating scalability. While it is relatively hard to take an operating system or application and design it to run on two processors instead of one, it is also equally hard to take a system designed for two processes and scale it to eight. The cost prohibitive nature of 8-way systems traditionally make scaling defects difficult to really ascertain, and likewise its not too often that we even pay attention to them. With processors heading toward dual and eventually quad core, scalability of the OS and hardware begin to carry more and more weight.

For anyone in the computer business, there really isn't a better feeling than seeing 8 Opterons POST.

New Changes to the V40z
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  • Den - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Interesting article, I am confused why you are dissapointed in the GCC complile time though. The dual core machine took 369 seconds (with 9 jobs) and the single took 603.18 seconds (with 5 jobs). 603.18/369=1.635 or 63.5% faster which is well in the 50-80% range. Your article says 43% faster, so maybe the GCC compile conclusion is based on a typo?
  • Kilim - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    I saw the title to the PS3/XBOX article. It was a different one than the original article from last week. I clicked on it to read it and nothing showed up. It was an article critical of the CPU's on the two systems I believe. Matbe Anand find some insider stuff that was only limited to a few people inside MS. If so, I think the potential rewards of protecting the source is much better long term than getting them in trouble and burning a bridge. Along with the long term effects of insiders trusting Anand.
  • jwbaker - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    You can no longer get v20z via ebay. I managed to buy a half-dozen of them for $1200-$1500 each, although I admit I had to collude with another buyer to do so. Probably Sun has enough traction with the v\d+z series that they no longer need the eBay channel.

    The only beef I have with the v-series is Sun can ben recalcitrant about supplying the voltage regulator modules. In the v20z there are four removable VRMs and if you bought a single-CPU machine, you only get 2. Additional VRMs sell in pairs for $175 but the lead time is indeterminant and sometimes very long.
  • Houdani - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    32: The article was pulled in order to protect one of the anonymous sources (see comment #10).
  • hondaman - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Actually, no its not. RHEL is by far and away more widely distributed, and more likely to show results to the people who can most relate to this review.
  • finbarqs - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    i did read the comments, but i still don't know why it was taken down... it just said that it wasn't up to kris to take the article down.
  • Houdani - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    30: What's with the hate?

    And it was quite obvious to me there were multiple sources.
  • Questar - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    So that article was based upon one source?!?!

    translation: It was crap, our source was an idiot.
  • yacoub - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    Is there no performance increase seen with PC3200 RAM over PC2700?
  • PrinceXizor - Thursday, June 30, 2005 - link

    If whomever is really worried about protecting his "insider" source, you might want to contact Google to have them clear the article from their cache (I don't even know if that's possible).


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