Words of Thanks

A lot of people gave us assistance with this project, and we like to thank them of course.

Waseem Ahmad, Intel US
Matty Bakkeren, Intel Netherlands
Trevor E. Lawless, Intel US
(www.intel.com)

Chhandomay Mandal, Sun US
Luojia Chen, Sun US
Peter A. Wilson, Sun US
(www.sun.com)

Peter Zaitsev, Elite MySQL Guru
(www.mysql.com)

Damon Muzny, AMD US
(www.amd.com)

Steve Olson, Sybase US
(www.sybase.com)

Erwin Vanluchene, HP Belgium
(www.hp.be)

Ilona van Poppel, MSI Netherlands
Ruudt Swanen, MSI Netherlands
(www.msi-computer.nl)

Alexander Goodrich, Assembler Guru
Bert Devriese, Developer of MySQL & PHP benchmark
Dieter Saeys, Gentoo/Linux support
Brecht Kets, Development of Improved Bench program
Tijl Deneut, Solaris, PostGreSQL and MySQL support

I also like to thank Lode De Geyter, manager of the University College of West-Flanders. Further information about our server research is available on our website.

Benchmark Configuration

We used Solaris 10 for the Sun T2000, as the only supported OS for the T2000 right now is Solaris 10 3/05 HW2 (and upwards). The T1 is fully binary compatibility with the existing SPARC binaries but needs this version of Solaris.

Below is a picture of our Server lab at the University College of West-Flanders. You can see Bert and Dieter standing next to our brand new rack of the server research lab.



From top to bottom, we have the Supermicro SuperServer 6014P-32, the MSI K2-102A2M, the Sun T2000, our own PIII based Linux gateway and firewall, and at the bottom, the Promise JBOD300s and the HP DL585. Yes, we still have a lot of benchmarking to do. The other Intel based machines are in towers, so you won't find them in our rack.

All benchmarking is monitored: CPU load, network and disk I/O are watched using CPU graph, top, vmstat and prstat. This way we can determine whether or not the CPU or another component is the bottleneck.

Our web server tests are performed on Apache2 2.0.55, including the mod_deflate module for gzip compression, PHP4.4.1 and Mysql 5.0.21.

Hardware Configurations

Here is the list of the different server configurations:

Sun T2000:

Sun UltraSparc T1 1 GHz, 8 cores, 32 threads
Sun Solaris 10

32 GB (16x2048 MB) Crucial DDR-2 533
NIC: 1 Gb Intel RC82540EM - Intel E1000 driver.

You can find much more information about the T1 CPU in our previous article.

Intel Server 1:
Dual Intel Xeon "Woodcrest" 3 GHz Shared 4 MB L2 cache, 1333 MHz FSB (4 cores total)




Blackford Chipset
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7

Intel Server Board S5000
4 GB (4x1024 MB) Micron FB-DIMM Registered DDR2-533 CAS 4, ECC enabled
NIC: Dual Intel PRO/1000 Server NIC
2x Western Digital Raptor 36 GB SATA

Intel Server 2:
Dual Intel Xeon "Irwindale" 3.6 GHz 2 MB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB - Lindenhurst
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7

Intel Server Board SE7520AF2
8 GB (8x1024 MB) Micron Registered DDR2-400 CAS 3, ECC enabled
NIC: Dual Intel PRO/1000 Server NIC (Intel 82546GB controller)
2x Western Digital Raptor 36 GB SATA

Opteron Server 1: Dual Opteron 275 2.2 GHz 2x1MB L2 cache (4 cores total)
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7
Solaris x86 10

MSI K8N Master2-FAR
4 GB: 4x1GB MB Crucial DDR-400 (3-3-3-6)
NIC: Broadcom BCM5721 (PCI-E)
2x Western Digital Raptor 36 GB SATA

Opteron Server 2: MSI K2-102A2M


ServerWorksHT2000 Chipset
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7
4 GB: 4x1GB MB Crucial DDR-400 (3-3-3-6)
NIC: Broadcom BCM5721 (PCI-E)
2x Western Digital Raptor 36 GB SATA

Opteron Server 3: HP DL385



Solaris x86 10
AMD 81xx chipset
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7
4 GB: 4x1GB MB Crucial DDR-400 (3-3-3-6)
NIC: Broadcom BCM5721 (PCI-E)
2x Seagate Cheetah 36 GB - 15000 rpm - SCSI 320 MB/s

Client Configuration: Dual Opteron 850
MSI K8T Master1-FAR
4x512 MB Infineon Registered DDR-333, ECC
NIC: Broadcom 5705

Common Software
64 bit Gentoo Kernel 2.6.15-gentoo-r7
Apache2 2.0.55 + mod_deflate module for gzip compression.
PHP4.4.1
Mysql5.0.21

The New Intel Platform Theoretical Performance
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91 Comments

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  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    I'm not saying the board is particularly stellar.. I'm saying that it's referred to by MSI as a "server" product. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    Irespective of what MSI says,

    fact is there were better mainstream boards for Anandtech to choose from if a honest, independent review was their intention

    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    I.E., your comment belongs under someone else's.. not mine. Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    And that's completely irrelevant to what I was saying. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    all I was saying is, its nice to see Intel finally making a comeback

    but Anandtech seems have conducted a skewed benchmark that favours Intel, that unfairly increases the performance gap between Opteron and Woodcrest

    In the final summary of the review he says

    "In one word: Woodcrest rocks!"

    There are quite a few holes in the review, the motherboard is just on of them,

    I quoted MySQL number errors in my posts above,

    just search for "ashyanbhog" in the page and read my earlier comments if you are interested.

    Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    quote:

    And that's completely irrelevant to what I was saying.


    What you're saying in general is irrelevant. Intel calls their integrated graphics "high performance" but that doesn't make it so.

    MSI calling that a server board is just marketing, it does not represent what a true, high performance server class mobo is all about. Not that it's a bad piece of hardware, it is good for the price to be sure. But it is NOT a server class product.
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    At a certain price point, it could certainly be a nice entry-level server board.

    Performance alone isn't what makes a server-class motherboard a server-class motherboard.
    Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Performance alone isn't what makes a server-class motherboard a server-class motherboard.


    One of the motherboards used in this review is a cheap piece that trades performance to keep price low.

    Why was that motherboard selected over mainstream server/workstation boards that are proven to offer slightly better performance? Why pick a 250$ MSI board for opteron over $500 boards from Tyan, Iwill, Supermicro or others. The Intel Xeon "Inderwale" gets a $500 board, so price could not have been the issue.

    So what's the point in using a Single Channel board for this benchmark, when price was not a limitation?

    Single memory channel boards like the one from MSI, are known to offer lower performance than dual / dedicated memory channel boards when used in 2P Opteron configurations. Dual Channel boards are the mainstream boards for 2P Opteron systems. There are plently Server boards available in Dual / dedicated memory lane configuration. There are enough reviews on the net to show the performance diff b/w single memory channel boards and dual memory channel boards

    The issue is not about the MSI or its class, the issue is why did Anandtech pick a Single memeory channel board instead of a more mainstream dual memory channel board.

    Hope that clears up "zsdersw"'s query
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    I'm not making excuses for the choices that were made regarding this comparison test. I'm talking about what constitutes a "server-class" motherboard. Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Thursday, June 8, 2006 - link

    Game PC review link for the above comment

    http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=tig...">http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=tig...
    Reply

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