The New Benchmark Suite

We've made some changes to our benchmarks to accommodate the required multiple load scenarios we used in this article. The first benchmark we overhauled was the Dell DVD Store test ( In the last article (the first time we used Dell DVD Store), we used the stock Dell SQL driver along with a medium sized database (which is approximate 3GB). This time around we wanted to use a larger database to show a more enterprise based e-commerce scenario. To get a larger database we took the medium database and upped the customers to 20 million from 2 million and upped the products from a hundred thousand to 1 million. This resulted in a 14GB database.

We modified the driver code as well. We started off by taking the included C# driver source code and changing the way it created the threads (users). Basically, in stock form the driver creates all the threads and users in one shot and then starts executing orders. Since we wanted to be able to dynamically add threads to achieve certain load levels, we added a method to the class to add users. At the same time we also added a few properties so that we could use a Windows Form application to house the class and report back various performance counters. This allows us to graph CPU usage and orders per minute over the duration of the test, and we can save the graphs for historical reporting. The Forum benchmark also got an overhaul using the same GUI driver, and a few changes to the way the queries were executed against the database.

Both of the benchmark applications record their results back to a database server, where we average the results over the N number of runs for our graphs. We also allow the GUI to take command line parameters, which allows us to set up batch files to run an entire platform. On average it takes almost 20 hours to run a platform (due to the fact we run 5 iterations of each load point). It is important to look at the deviations between benchmark runs to ensure scores are consistent and representative of typical performance. The deviations are all relatively low which is very good, with the average deviation being 1.6%.

Dell & Forum SQL Trace Analysis

The Dell and Forum benchmarks are quite different workloads, which you will see in the benchmark results. Dell executes approximately 10 times more queries during the test, and the durations are approximately 4 times less than that of the Forum benchmark durations. To summarize, Dell is a workload with a high transaction volume, and each query executes in a very short amount of time. The Forum workload has a medium transaction volume, and the queries execute in a reasonable amount of time but are much more read intensive (larger datasets are returned).

Test Configuration

Below are the configurations of the test machines. We should note that the Opteron system memory was set to 1T and NUMA was enabled.

Dual AMD Opteron 256
4GB Memory
Gigabit Ethernet
Windows 2003 x64 Server

Woodcrest/Dempsey System
Intel OEM System (Pre-Production)
Windows 2003 x64 Enterprise Server SP1
SQL 2005 Enterprise SP1 x64
14 x Ultra 320 SCSI Drives in RAID 0
LSI Logic 320-2 Controller

Opteron 280/285 System
Tyan S2891 Motherboard
8GB PC3200 DDR 400MHz
Windows 2003 x64 Enterprise Server SP1
SQL 2005 Enterprise SP1 x64
14 x Ultra 320 SCSI Drives in RAID 0
LSI Logic 320-2 Controller

Architecture Summary Multiple Load Points


View All Comments

  • bwmccann - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    It is about time to see some benchmarks on Woodcrest. This is a victory for Intel in the dual cpu server market. It will be interesting to see how much market share they will be able to take back since losing some to AMD last year. I'm also happy to see that Intel has a roadmap for the future and with their history i'm sure they will be able to produce results.

    However on the other hand AMD is not going to stand still. The Opteron is an amazing chip and still leads in servers with more then 4 CPUs. You can bet they are working hard to one up this release. Unfortunately they have to deal with Conroe coming out on the client side later this month and it could start to stretch AMD resources thin. I can't wait for the upcoming battle!!!
  • Calin - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    From now on, AMD will compete (in new servers) mostly on price (at least after the point Intel will be able to produce the new microprocessors in enough quantity). For existing installations, they could be able to sell new servers "like the existing ones".
    This is very bad news for AMD
  • bamacre - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    Go, Intel go! Reply
  • JackPack - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    Murder, AMD wrote. Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    :cheers: Yay Go Intel!!! Woot!! Amazing!!! Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    lol, that's a nice comment you give. you probably didn't look so well at the real charts.

    Nice setup again, but comparing a 2,6 to 3,0 it is normal that a 3,0 will have the performance crown looking at the new architecture. however if you look at the performance gain from 2,4 to 2,6 on the opteron and recalculate it to 3,0 you will see almost equal performance. so your thread start "birth of the new king" is not so clear to mee. Yes you can state that intel will have a 3.0 and AMD not at the moment.... but ehhh where are the woodcrests at the moment in the field.... yes none, i only have Eng Samples and backorders till end-august. So this is a big paper launch.

    one missing point in your article... you clearly define the setup here with decent systems but what i am missing is the amount of dimms used... calculating this in performance can give a difference up to 25watt = 10%.

    i really want to see your follow up on the windows platform....
  • ruprecht - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    Of course many people are sad to see "plucky underdog" AMD be beaten by the Giant Intel, but this is really to be expected and, in fact, it's no bad thing.

    I say that for 2 reasons. First, new architectures are (generally) better than old ones and it's time for CPU technology to move a step ahead.

    AMD has been king of the hill for about 2 years. That's quite a long time, and in that time K8 has really come to the end of it's life span (at least as a top of the range chip). So it's no surprise that the first really new architecture since K8 hit the scene is going to be a lot better than what we have at the moment.

    There's really going to be nothing much that AMD can do in the single and dual-core arena to counter Core 2 until early next year at best. It sucks for AMD but that's life. They'll survive OK for a few months in second place.

    Secondly, AMD needs the competition from Intel as much as Intel needs the competition from AMD. I have an FX51 box which I bought almost 3 years ago. The CPU runs at 2.2Ghz, it has 2GB of DDR 400 RAM and a pair of Raptors in a RAID 0 array. Despite being 3 years old it's still pretty fast.

    My point here is that up until recently, if you were building a new AMD rig you would probably not have been buying a CPU or RAM that was a whole lot faster that what I have in my PC. So in almost 3 years AMD has only increased the speed of its processors incrementally. Although admittedly it did go dual core with much more success than Intel. AMD needs Intel to push it to do better. If they had K8L ready today, would they have lost the crown?

    So AMD are now in second place, but it's going to be very interesting to see what happens in the next 6 months or so, and also let's enjoy the benefits that the new architecture(s) are going to bring to us all!
  • JackPack - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    1. Performance scaling is not linear. I'm not sure how you can determine Opteron 3.0 performance by looking at only 2.4 and 2.6.

    2. I guess you don't live in America? The ship dates are very reasonable. Not "end-august" as you suggest.">
  • duploxxx - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    wel you forgot to read the whole page.....

    HP is not responsible for delays outside of our immediate control, including delays related to order processing or unexpected increase in demand. Typically only orders paid for by credit card receive credit approval on the same day the order is placed. Orders delayed due to order processing will default to an Estimated Ship Date 30 days from the date credit is processed and the order is released. Estimated Ship Dates are based on any known extended lead times.
  • Accord99 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    It says the same thing for their Opteron servers.

    Newegg has the 5150 Woodcrest for sale:">

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