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

  • ashyanbhog - Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - link

    Quite shocking to see Anand perform such a biased benchmark and get away so easily.

    Is it a coincidence that Dell did not sell AMD chips in their machines to date, and benchmarks from Dell show Intel chips perform better

    Can we say tuned or skewed
  • photoguy99 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    It's just killing fan boys like Kiijibari that Intel is the best 2-way server out there now and they have to craft these elaborate scenarios to somehow justify how AMD is still great.

    Man give it up - Is it not enough almost every hardware site on the net has crowned Woodcrest the new 2-way champ over AMD? How much more evidence do you want?

    As I've posted before I own an FX-60 now so I don't feel great that Intel will soon be selling at Wal-mart a chip that will kick ass on my carefully overclocked FX system.

    But so what? It is what it is. Sure AMD are planning new things, and when and if they are benchmarked to be superior, then you can have your day again.

    For now Intel *owns* AMD except a couple niche segments - get used to it.

  • duploxxx - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    i think you mean conroe... not woodcrest (the server chip) you can count the reviews on 1 hand that were made... two of them were from anand here. which are still in a large discussion about comparisson etc... and this one is comming straigth from intel...

    nice to see the "king" is anounced by intel themselves
  • vaystrem - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    That prevented Intel's Woodcrest computers from being considered for government bids?">US government unit throws Intel out over RAID problems

    or">Conroe shows dodgy RAID performance anomalies

    I know its 'The Inq' but since this is a server test it would be nice to see some confirmation or exploration of this issue.

  • drwho9437 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    The charts are almost totally inscrutable for the red-green color blind population, which is something like 5% of males. Learn to use a decent color scheme or incorperate symbol shapes as well as colors. Map makers know this... Reply
  • forPPP - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    All of you ranting about comparing 3.0 GHz Woodcrest to 2.6 GHz Operton, look here:"> and see how much better Core 2 architecture is. Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz beats Athlon FX-62 2.8 GHz in most benchmarks. Of course architecture is not everything, especially in enterprise market. Operton has advantage thanks to HyperTransort and advantage of Woodcrest is diminished because of FSB. But the main battle will occur with Desktops and here Core 2 Duo shines. Lets hope AMD will show something intersting soon, not only prices drop. All in all we consumers will benefit from this battle.
  • duploxxx - Friday, July 14, 2006 - link

    you are looking at desktop... don't compare desktop with server... desktop is more the mass and low profit.... server and laptop are for the profit. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    AMD will manage to come out with a decent competetor in the next little while and we'll have real compitition in the CPU space again. I'm sure this sucks for AMD right now, and if AMD were able to rebound and deliver a competitor in the relitive near term futer for intel too. But for consumers, competition is beautiful, already we can look twards dirt cheap A64's for your low to mid-range computing needs. Reply
  • FesterOZ - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    I tried skimming back through the article but is Anand just measuring the CPU wattage or the overall wattage draw for the whole platform (i.e. cpu, northbridge,dimms? Reply
  • Jason Clark - Thursday, July 13, 2006 - link

    Wall folks, sorry that wasn't more clear. We'll ensure we include power measurement information in future articles. We use the same procedure as we've used in previous articles with power, an extech device and we log power througout the test duration.


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now