Out of any type of server that an organization will purchase today, web servers are amongst the most popular. "Web server" is such a generalized term in today's IT environment. Their primary function can be one of many different business requirements: an E-commerce site to sell a company's product, an enterprise web services application performing order fulfillment, corporate intranet, collaboration applications, and the list goes on. Today, web servers are more like distributed application servers than a machine serving static HTML pages from years past. In this installment of the Xeon vs. Opteron series, we're going to take a look at both of the most current offerings from Intel and AMD on three different web platforms.

The one common link between the different types of web applications is the language in which they are written. In the past, we've performed our load testing on one application server (Macromedia ColdFusion); however, in this series of tests, we've included three different platforms. We ran load tests on Macromedia ColdFusion MX 6.1, PHP 4.3.9, and Microsoft .NET 1.1. We used a collaboration application called FuseTalk for our .NET and ColdFusion tests, and we used the popular open-source portal software, PHPNuke for our PHP test. We're hoping to get a real world store front in future tests, to further diversify our testing.

Testing procedure

To load up our servers and applications, we used Microsoft ACT, which is included with Microsoft Visual Studio.NET. A test scenario was created that kept the CPU sustained at 90%+ usage, while not completely flooding the box to the point where everything was queued. The test was run over a Gigabit network to ensure that there were no network bottlenecks, and a separate database server was used for all tests. We used Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Web Edition for the operating system, and therefore, had 2GB of memory for all web servers. 2GB or less is a common configuration for a web server today. We used an IDE drive for the web servers, since none of our tests are I/O intensive.

The test results include 3 measurements: Average time to last byte, Total requests served, and Requests per second. The average time to last byte is the average time that it took to receive the last byte of information from each request. The total requests served is the number of successful requests (HTTP status 200) completed within the test time. The requests per second measurement is the average of requests per second that the test was performing throughout the duration of the test.

Opteron System
Dual 250 Opteron processors
2GB PC3200 DDR (Kingston KRX3200AK2) memory
Tyan K8W motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

Xeon System
Dual 3.6GHz Xeon processors
2GB DDR2 memory
Intel SE7520AF2 motherboard
Windows 2003 Server Web Edition (32 Bit)
1 x 40 GB 7200RPM 8MB Cache IDE Drive

ColdFusion Test Results
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  • bozilla - Sunday, October 24, 2004 - link


    I totally understand what you are talking about. I'm a graphic designer and do web development and I put heavy loads with multiple applications opened and Athlons just can't keep up. The fact is that when it comes to work environment like I have (Photoshop, Outlook, Dreamweaver, Flash) opened constantly and switching between them even P4 2.8C blows A64s @ 3000+ out of the water. It's an issue that AMD always had problems with.

    That article on infotech is right on the money.
    For basic computing with 1-2 apps opened A64s might perform better, but in the long run, what good is that when I start working seriously the machine slows down so much that I get frustrated.

  • AtaStrumf - Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - link

    I appreciate your willingness to help (BTW, I have VIA K8T800Pro chipset), but I still have a few things to try before I start bothering other people :-)
  • justly - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I doubt I can help you since I dont have a A64 or use bittorrent or nero, but someone else might be able to if you give them a chance. Also I have no way to contact you even if I did find out anything. Without knowing the details of your system I am also at a disadvantage, but just to take a wild guess at it, do you by chance have a Nforce 3 chipset, if you do is it possible to disable the firewall in the chipset to see if that has anything to do with some of your problems.
  • nottlv - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Regarding the Java tests, you should disclose which JVM and version was used as there are some significant differences between them. Throwing some other JVMs into the mix would be an intersting comparison as well, though you would really need to run Linux to get the broadest spectrum. There are JVMs that do include optimization for the Opteron, including 64-bit support. The latest Sun JVM 1.5/5.0 does for both W2k3, Solaris and Linux (which is hardly surprising since Sun is an ardent supporting of Opteron on the low end), as does the Blackdown Project's JVM 1.4.2 for the 64-bit versions of SuSE and RHEL Linux. IBM also plans to release a 64-bit optimized JVM for AMD64/EM64T for both Windows and Linux shortly.

    There has been some discussion of some of these JVMs elsewhere:

  • RZaakir - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    #42, That's funny, you named 2 things that I constantly do on my A64. I use BitTorrent religiously on files large and small and I use Nero 6 Ultra to Burn all DVD+/-R discs as well. No problems here. I can't speak for Folding @ Home though.
  • AtaStrumf - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I have found AT forums to be mostly useless. I use other forums for my problems, that's why you haven't found any of my posts, but if you would like to help explain why I'm getting bittorrent DL corruption, while Folding@home is running and why suddenly NERO's identity checks are failing after burning a DVD-/+R after more that 50 successful burns on the same equipment with the obvious exception of the CPU and MOBO, you are very welcome to do so.
  • sprockkets - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    nvm, it's mentioned in the graphs...

  • justly - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    The search function shows that in the last 3 months you have only posted in 1 thread, maybe...just maybe , someone could help you figure out those problems if you bothered to ask. BTW is your A64 3200+ still running at 2800+ speeds (that might have someting to do with how it compares to your old XP).

    While it might be true that SOME "AMD fanboys" have an extremly distorted opinion that HT has no benifit, I still believe the majority of people, AMD fanboys included, understand that HT does help with multitasking (the real question is how much and in what circumstances).
  • Jason Clark - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    #37, 2-2.5% isn't a lead it's nearly deviation... They are pretty much neck and neck, except for .NET where some optimized code gave intel a boost (as the article indicates).
  • AtaStrumf - Monday, October 18, 2004 - link

    OMG AMD fanboys just can't take the fact that Opteron isn't the fastest thing out there no matter what the circumstances.

    The fact is that A64 sucks in high stress multitasking and P4 at high MHz (>3 GHz) excels at it. Get over it will you!!!

    You hyped up this A64 so much I bought a A64 3200+ Newcastle and I feel a big empty space where my money used to be. It's hardly any better than my old Athlon XP at 3200+ speeds. Certainly not worth the price difference, not to mention all sorts of troubles I'm having that I just can't figure out what's causing them. CPU, MOBO, RAM???


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