Test Configuration

Software Configuration

Windows 2003 was configured with /3GB and /PAE switches in the boot.ini to support the 8GB of memory used for our tests. SQL Server Enterprise was set to use AWE extensions, and a maximum memory limit was set at 6144MB.

Intel Bensley 3.46 Pre-Production System
Dual 3.46GHz Dual-Core Dempsey Processors
Pre-production Blackford based Intel Motherboard
8GB FBDIMM DDR-2 533Mhz
Windows 2003 Enterprise Server (32 Bit) SP1
8 x 36GB 15,000RPM Ultra320 SCSI drives in RAID-0
LSI Logic 320-2 SCSI Raid Controller

Opteron 280 System
Tyan S2882 K8S Motherboard
Dual Opteron 280 (Dual-Core) Processors
8GB Corsair PC3200 DDR
Windows 2003 Enterprise Server (32 Bit) SP1
8 x 36GB 15,000RPM Ultra320 SCSI drives in RAID-0
LSI Logic 320-2 SCSI Raid Controller

Measuring Power

To measure power consumption of each system, we used an EXTECH Instruments Power Analyzer Model 380803. This power analyzer allows us to view current power consumption, and log the consumption at various intervals during a test to a text file. For this test, we used the same Power Supply for both systems, although we recorded the difference between a 750W power supply and a 550W power supply, and it was less than 3 Watts. We should note that the Raid Array was powered by a separate power supply that was not plugged into our analyzer, so we were measuring strictly bare system power consumption. If you’re curious, the Raid Array used about 98 Watts spun up, and averaged 110 Watts during the database tests.

Idle – To measure a system at idle, we booted each system into Windows and let it stabilize by watching the task manager in Windows and the Wattage readings. Once we were at a stable reading, we began recording for 100 iterations of our data logger (which logs every 2 seconds). We then took those numbers and averaged them to get the idle power reading.

50% – We used our database benchmark to measure a loaded system, by adjusting the thread count for the test to a level that produced a half loaded system. Then, we would run our database test for its duration while recording to the data logger. Finally, we averaged those results.

100% – To produce a fully loaded system, we used the same technique as above, except increasing the number of threads until we achieved a fully loaded system.

The future is performance per Watt. Database Benchmark Results
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  • coldpower27 - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    And I am interested how did you get a difference of $8140 to begin with. Reply
  • Furen - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    I took a lot of shortcuts just to get a rough approximation but here it goes:

    406W - 260W = 166W
    166W * 24H/day = 3984WH/day
    3984WH/day * 365 days = 1,454,160WH/year = 1,454kWH/year
    1,454kWH/year * $.14/kWH (which is overpriced, by the way, since consumers normally pay more than businesses) = $203.58/year

    $203.58/year * 40 systems = $8143.30/year for 40 systems.
    Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    Good point...forgot about the power conversion and power supply loss. Reply
  • Furen - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    I didn't mean PSU power loss, but rather that many data centers convert the AC input to DC at the distribution centers and the convert it to AC again just before sending it to the server, since servers are not built to operate on DC.

    PSU loss is already reflected in anadtech's measurements, since power consumption is measured at the plug.
    Reply
  • Furen - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    man, I would kill for an edit function on comments... Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    quote:

    The actual difference between running 40 Opteron Systems & 40 Bensley Systems for 1 Year @ 40-60% Load comes to a difference of $5890.4 ~ 1/10 the amount Anandtech reports

    You're forgetting the cost of cooling (which is much higher than just the CPU...)
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link


    They are measuring total power draw of the 2 systems which includes the energy used by the cooling system. I am not forgeting anything. I am only interested in cost of electricity used by the 2 systems.

    Anandtech isn't incorporating cost of cooling into it's numbers either.
    Reply
  • Jason Clark - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    If we had complete systems from both vendors, this would have been possible. Unfortunately, we had a pre-production validation platform and a motherboard and two cpus from amd :)... So, what we did was make the bensley system as close to the open air opteron system as we could. I agree, we need to get some complete systems with their cooling mechanisms in place, and we'll work on the vendors next year for that. Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    The cooling systems I refer to are the airconditioning, not the HSF or the case fans...
    By doubling the heat output, you are also doubling the air con requirements.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    Which would be offset by the heating provided in the Winter time. Reply

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