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thrugoodmarshall
May 14th 04, 12:52 PM
I've been running slackware for a few years now on a dual PIII 600.
It was a screamer when I bought it, but it's getting kinda slow on
builds.

Built firefox last night--started the build watched "Forbidden Planet"
with my wife, and the damned thing was still building when we went to
bed!

Sometime in the next year, we're looking at dropping some bucks on a
mobo, processors, ram, and power supply. The rest, we'll keep. Intel
dual P4 (those $900.00 processors!) on a Tyan motherboard and 2G of
ECC RAM suggests a total budget of about $5,000. Some other stuff,
contributes to that number also, but that's the gist of the plan.

I suspect I can do better on price if I go with AMD. But I know
nothing of AMD.

Does anybody have any experience they'd like to share re:
Compatability--linux drivers or hw that work well / don't seem to work
w/ AMD?
(This is the one I'm really nervous about)
Speed--Which AMD processors for builds / video / photo editing?
Motherboards--Which (dual cpu) AMD motherboard for stability,
expandability, speed?
Any gotchas or bonuses to be aware of re: dual AMD system vs dual P4
system?


Thanks for your kind assistance!

James
May 14th 04, 05:02 PM
the 64 bit AMD CPU's are way cheaper then the current Intel ones, and they
are backwards compatible with 32bit programs. Obviously thats the way to
go, as even intel is now working on a "clone AMD x86-64" CPU

"thrugoodmarshall" > wrote in message
om...
> I've been running slackware for a few years now on a dual PIII 600.
> It was a screamer when I bought it, but it's getting kinda slow on
> builds.
>
> Built firefox last night--started the build watched "Forbidden Planet"
> with my wife, and the damned thing was still building when we went to
> bed!
>
> Sometime in the next year, we're looking at dropping some bucks on a
> mobo, processors, ram, and power supply. The rest, we'll keep. Intel
> dual P4 (those $900.00 processors!) on a Tyan motherboard and 2G of
> ECC RAM suggests a total budget of about $5,000. Some other stuff,
> contributes to that number also, but that's the gist of the plan.
>
> I suspect I can do better on price if I go with AMD. But I know
> nothing of AMD.
>
> Does anybody have any experience they'd like to share re:
> Compatability--linux drivers or hw that work well / don't seem to work
> w/ AMD?
> (This is the one I'm really nervous about)
> Speed--Which AMD processors for builds / video / photo editing?
> Motherboards--Which (dual cpu) AMD motherboard for stability,
> expandability, speed?
> Any gotchas or bonuses to be aware of re: dual AMD system vs dual P4
> system?
>
>
> Thanks for your kind assistance!

the gnome
May 14th 04, 05:15 PM
There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the K8T
MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD bring out the 2
opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you could have 4 opterons per
mobo, but you better check that out on the AMD site.

the_gnome







"James" > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> the 64 bit AMD CPU's are way cheaper then the current Intel ones, and they
> are backwards compatible with 32bit programs. Obviously thats the way to
> go, as even intel is now working on a "clone AMD x86-64" CPU
>
> "thrugoodmarshall" > wrote in message
> om...
> > I've been running slackware for a few years now on a dual PIII 600.
> > It was a screamer when I bought it, but it's getting kinda slow on
> > builds.
> >
> > Built firefox last night--started the build watched "Forbidden Planet"
> > with my wife, and the damned thing was still building when we went to
> > bed!
> >
> > Sometime in the next year, we're looking at dropping some bucks on a
> > mobo, processors, ram, and power supply. The rest, we'll keep. Intel
> > dual P4 (those $900.00 processors!) on a Tyan motherboard and 2G of
> > ECC RAM suggests a total budget of about $5,000. Some other stuff,
> > contributes to that number also, but that's the gist of the plan.
> >
> > I suspect I can do better on price if I go with AMD. But I know
> > nothing of AMD.
> >
> > Does anybody have any experience they'd like to share re:
> > Compatability--linux drivers or hw that work well / don't seem to work
> > w/ AMD?
> > (This is the one I'm really nervous about)
> > Speed--Which AMD processors for builds / video / photo editing?
> > Motherboards--Which (dual cpu) AMD motherboard for stability,
> > expandability, speed?
> > Any gotchas or bonuses to be aware of re: dual AMD system vs dual P4
> > system?
> >
> >
> > Thanks for your kind assistance!
>
>

General Schvantzkoph
May 14th 04, 07:19 PM
On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:

> There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the K8T
> MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD bring out the 2
> opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you could have 4 opterons per
> mobo, but you better check that out on the AMD site.
>
> the_gnome

The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two processor's has DIMMs
attached the other has to access the RAM through the Hypertransport.

A much better choice would be a Tyan K8W (S2885). It has 8 DIMM sockets, 4
per processor.

Post Replies Here Please
May 15th 04, 12:01 AM
>>>>> "General" == General Schvantzkoph > writes:

General> On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:
>> There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the
>> K8T MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD
>> bring out the 2 opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you
>> could have 4 opterons per mobo, but you better check that out on
>> the AMD site.
>>
>> the_gnome

General> The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two
General> processor's has DIMMs attached the other has to access the
General> RAM through the Hypertransport.

Actually this design still performs very well with most applications,
and probably won't have a major impact unless this is a dedicated
server that is really stressed.

General> A much better choice would be a Tyan K8W (S2885). It has 8
General> DIMM sockets, 4 per processor.

A more expensive choice, but the optimal choice. Anyway depending on
the actual application most folks really don't get much benefit with
SMP unless your application is tuned for SMP usage. Of course your
mileage will vary a lot. I know that hp allows users to log on to a
variety of their servers to do some testing with your applications.

Good luck.

General Schvantzkoph
May 15th 04, 04:14 AM
On Fri, 14 May 2004 18:01:28 -0500, Post Replies Here Please wrote:

>>>>>> "General" == General Schvantzkoph > writes:
>
> General> On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:
> >> There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the
> >> K8T MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD
> >> bring out the 2 opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you
> >> could have 4 opterons per mobo, but you better check that out on
> >> the AMD site.
> >>
> >> the_gnome
>
> General> The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two
> General> processor's has DIMMs attached the other has to access the
> General> RAM through the Hypertransport.
>
> Actually this design still performs very well with most applications,
> and probably won't have a major impact unless this is a dedicated
> server that is really stressed.
>
> General> A much better choice would be a Tyan K8W (S2885). It has 8
> General> DIMM sockets, 4 per processor.
>
> A more expensive choice, but the optimal choice. Anyway depending on
> the actual application most folks really don't get much benefit with
> SMP unless your application is tuned for SMP usage. Of course your
> mileage will vary a lot. I know that hp allows users to log on to a
> variety of their servers to do some testing with your applications.
>
> Good luck.

There are a number of good single Opteron boards available. The Opteron
1xx processors are cheaper than the 2xx processors so if you are looking
for a cheaper solution then choose a board like the ASUS SK8V with a one
faster 1xx vs the MSI board with two slower 2xx processors where one
processor is crippled. If you are going to pay for the 2xx processors then
spend the extra couple of hundred dollars on a board that can fully
utilize them.

Steve
May 15th 04, 03:08 PM
On Fri, 14 May 2004 14:19:10 -0400, General Schvantzkoph
> wrote:

>On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:
>
>> There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the K8T
>> MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD bring out the 2
>> opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you could have 4 opterons per
>> mobo, but you better check that out on the AMD site.
>>
>> the_gnome
>
>The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two processor's has DIMMs
>attached the other has to access the RAM through the Hypertransport.

Gee, The General says I should be disappointed that my "lousy choice
MSI board" performs so well. The General says that the 6.4gb/s
hypertransport bus isn't fast enough for the 2.7gb/s memory I have on
CPU #0. The General says that separate memory on each CPU is the best
even if Windows 2000 has no NUMA support and that each CPU would have
to go through the hypertransport bus to get to half of the memory on
the motherboards he recommends. The General says to buy double the
number of memory sticks as you will need a minimum of four instead of
the two needed on the "lousy choice MSI board". The General hasn't
posted review links to justify his misguided belief that the MSI board
"lousy choice "

http://www.tech-report.com/reviews/2004q2/dually-opterons/index.x?pg=9

I guess that I should be ashamed that I own the "lousy choice MSI
board", because the General say's so.

No, actually the General should be down graded to Private.

Steve

Post Replies Here Please
May 15th 04, 09:18 PM
>>>>> "Steve" == Steve <[email protected]> writes:

Steve> http://www.tech-report.com/reviews/2004q2/dually-opterons/index.x?pg=9

Steve> I guess that I should be ashamed that I own the "lousy choice
Steve> MSI board", because the General say's so.

Steve> No, actually the General should be down graded to Private.

Actually there are other review sites say the exact same thing. In
some applications the "lousy" MSI board is better than the tyan board.
The MSI board is an excellent choice because the cpu's are talking
through hypertransport which is really fast. Therefore memory access
times for the second cpu are almost as fast as the tyan. Anyway I
would concur the general needs a demotion but maybe not as low as
private ;-)).

I would recommend doing a google on the msi board + the word "review".
You should find some very nice reviews.

Whatever - hopefully the FUD can be controlled on usenet better than
the TV. ;-)).

Later,

Alan

General Schvantzkoph
May 16th 04, 04:01 PM
On Sat, 15 May 2004 09:08:06 -0500, Steve wrote:

> On Fri, 14 May 2004 14:19:10 -0400, General Schvantzkoph
> > wrote:
>
>>On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:
>>
>>> There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the K8T
>>> MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD bring out the 2
>>> opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you could have 4 opterons per
>>> mobo, but you better check that out on the AMD site.
>>>
>>> the_gnome
>>
>>The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two processor's has DIMMs
>>attached the other has to access the RAM through the Hypertransport.
>
> Gee, The General says I should be disappointed that my "lousy choice
> MSI board" performs so well. The General says that the 6.4gb/s
> hypertransport bus isn't fast enough for the 2.7gb/s memory I have on
> CPU #0. The General says that separate memory on each CPU is the best
> even if Windows 2000 has no NUMA support and that each CPU would have
> to go through the hypertransport bus to get to half of the memory on
> the motherboards he recommends. The General says to buy double the
> number of memory sticks as you will need a minimum of four instead of
> the two needed on the "lousy choice MSI board". The General hasn't
> posted review links to justify his misguided belief that the MSI board
> "lousy choice "

The bandwidth of the memory controller on the Opteron is
6.4GBytes/sec (400MHz * 2 * 8). Even if you used 266MHz Ram you would have
4.25GB/sec, I don't know where you got the 2.7G number unless you are
using a single DIMM (I you are you should buy a second DIMM, you'll see a
big performance gain especially since you are sharing the bandwidth
between two processors). The hypertranport bus does 3.2GB/second in each
direction. Although the full duplex bandwidth might be 6.4GB/sec that's
irrelevant for memory accesses, you are unlikely to be making simultaneous
read and write accesses so 3.2GB/sec is the figure you should use for
comparison. Also the hypertransport bus is going to add significant
latency to the accesses from the second processor. There is no way that a
system with a shared memory system is going to perform as well as one that
has dedicated memory on each processor.

Post Replies Here Please
May 16th 04, 06:38 PM
>>>>> "General" == General Schvantzkoph > writes:

General> The bandwidth of the memory controller on the Opteron is
General> 6.4GBytes/sec (400MHz * 2 * 8). Even if you used 266MHz Ram
General> you would have 4.25GB/sec, I don't know where you got the
General> 2.7G number unless you are using a single DIMM (I you are
General> you should buy a second DIMM, you'll see a big performance
General> gain especially since you are sharing the bandwidth between
General> two processors). The hypertranport bus does 3.2GB/second in
General> each direction. Although the full duplex bandwidth might be
General> 6.4GB/sec that's irrelevant for memory accesses, you are
General> unlikely to be making simultaneous read and write accesses
General> so 3.2GB/sec is the figure you should use for comparison.
General> Also the hypertransport bus is going to add significant
General> latency to the accesses from the second processor. There is
General> no way that a system with a shared memory system is going to
General> perform as well as one that has dedicated memory on each
General> processor.


http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=dualduel&page=12
http://www.techreport.com/reviews/2004q2/dually-opterons/index.x?pg=14

Can you give one review that clearly shows a significant performance
difference between the MSI board and the Tyan board? Anyway many folks
make a big deal about the memory layout design, but all the numbers
you quote are only theoretical. Please give an link to a review that
proves your point. Losing rank quickly general. Whatever.

Really the original poster can just search the net and read the many
reviews on this issue himself.

Thanks,

Alan

General Schvantzkoph
May 16th 04, 07:47 PM
On Sun, 16 May 2004 12:38:15 -0500, Post Replies Here Please wrote:

>>>>>> "General" == General Schvantzkoph > writes:
>
> General> The bandwidth of the memory controller on the Opteron is
> General> 6.4GBytes/sec (400MHz * 2 * 8). Even if you used 266MHz Ram
> General> you would have 4.25GB/sec, I don't know where you got the
> General> 2.7G number unless you are using a single DIMM (I you are
> General> you should buy a second DIMM, you'll see a big performance
> General> gain especially since you are sharing the bandwidth between
> General> two processors). The hypertranport bus does 3.2GB/second in
> General> each direction. Although the full duplex bandwidth might be
> General> 6.4GB/sec that's irrelevant for memory accesses, you are
> General> unlikely to be making simultaneous read and write accesses
> General> so 3.2GB/sec is the figure you should use for comparison.
> General> Also the hypertransport bus is going to add significant
> General> latency to the accesses from the second processor. There is
> General> no way that a system with a shared memory system is going to
> General> perform as well as one that has dedicated memory on each
> General> processor.
>
>
> http://www.gamepc.com/labs/view_content.asp?id=dualduel&page=12
> http://www.techreport.com/reviews/2004q2/dually-opterons/index.x?pg=14
>
> Can you give one review that clearly shows a significant performance
> difference between the MSI board and the Tyan board? Anyway many folks
> make a big deal about the memory layout design, but all the numbers
> you quote are only theoretical. Please give an link to a review that
> proves your point. Losing rank quickly general. Whatever.
>
> Really the original poster can just search the net and read the many
> reviews on this issue himself.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Alan

Read the techreport review you posted, from their conclusion

If you're looking for a high-end board for demanding workstation
applications, Tyan's Thunder K8W is the only way to go. The board's NUMA
support yields a scary amount of memory bandwidth with the right operating
system, and its four PCI-X slots are ripe for speedy SCSI cards or RAID
arrays. Support for a whopping 16GB of memory isn't too shabby either, and
it's unlikely that high-end workstations will be running Radeon XT
graphics cards

Most of their tests were run without NUMA support probably because Windows
isn't ready for the Opteron yet.

The only review that I could find of the MSI board (on Tom's Hardware)
only compares it to single processor motherboards which isn't a fair
comparison. The only review I could find of the Tyan and Iwill boards
doesn't compare them to the MSI so it's not helpful to this discussion but
here it is,

http://www.linuxhardware.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/24/1933214&mode=thread

I've spent years designing supercomputers, for any really compute
intensive application the single most important thing is memory bandwidth.

Post Replies Here Please
May 17th 04, 12:34 AM
>>>>> "General" == General Schvantzkoph > writes:

General> Read the techreport review you posted, from their conclusion

General> If you're looking for a high-end board for demanding
General> workstation applications, Tyan's Thunder K8W is the only way
General> to go. The board's NUMA support yields a scary amount of
General> memory bandwidth with the right operating system, and its
General> four PCI-X slots are ripe for speedy SCSI cards or RAID
General> arrays. Support for a whopping 16GB of memory isn't too
General> shabby either, and it's unlikely that high-end workstations
General> will be running Radeon XT graphics cards

True I read that the key point is made about the value of the MSI
board. Considering the original poster wanted to replace his home
computer. The MSI is a much better value for price/performance ratio.
As I have said in my first post if you want the top performance period
go with the tyan, but if you want the best value price/performance
ration the MSI is hard to beat, and it is darn close to the tyan's
board performance. Not many users will need pci-x slots. Even the
techreport review indicated that.

Depends on what you want and how much money you want to spend. The MSI
would do fine for most applications.

Good luck - I hope that we can agree to disagree. ;-)

General> Most of their tests were run without NUMA support probably
General> because Windows isn't ready for the Opteron yet.

Dito! That is what most users will be using. Don't know about the NUMA
support in Linux, but I suspect that Linux probably has this.

General> The only review that I could find of the MSI board (on Tom's
General> Hardware) only compares it to single processor motherboards
General> which isn't a fair comparison. The only review I could find
General> of the Tyan and Iwill boards doesn't compare them to the MSI
General> so it's not helpful to this discussion but here it is,

General> http://www.linuxhardware.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/24/1933214&mode=thread

Dito - so you cannot find a review that clearly show that the tyan is
miles ahead of the MSI board in performance on all applications.

General> I've spent years designing supercomputers, for any really
General> compute intensive application the single most important
General> thing is memory bandwidth.

True - anyone that is really serious about memory bandwidth would not
even look at PC based hardware. Even my old alpha has better memory
bandwidth and larger caches than the amd64. Whatever. However, this
does not mean that PC based hardware cannot be used for serious
computing. You get what you pay for. So if you want the best bandwidth
go with tyan and if you want the best value go with MSI. Note tyan
makes opteron motherboards with the same design as MSI so be carefull.

Later,

Alan

Discussion is pretty dead.

Frank Robinson
May 17th 04, 04:27 PM
"It has 8 DIMM sockets, 4 per processor."????

SMP architecture requires that all processors can
access all memory.

How does each processor access the "other" 4 DIMMs?

"General Schvantzkoph" > wrote in message
...
> On Fri, 14 May 2004 17:15:12 +0100, the gnome wrote:
>
> > There is a Dual Opteron Mobo by Microstar International (MSI) the K8T
> > MASTER2-FAR, that plus 2 opterons should go some, and if AMD bring out
the 2
> > opterons on 1 chip with the same pinouts then you could have 4 opterons
per
> > mobo, but you better check that out on the AMD site.
> >
> > the_gnome
>
> The MSI board is a lousy choice, only one of the two processor's has DIMMs
> attached the other has to access the RAM through the Hypertransport.
>
> A much better choice would be a Tyan K8W (S2885). It has 8 DIMM sockets, 4
> per processor.
>

General Schvantzkoph
May 20th 04, 02:09 AM
On Mon, 17 May 2004 08:27:36 -0700, Frank Robinson wrote:

> "It has 8 DIMM sockets, 4 per processor."????
>
> SMP architecture requires that all processors can
> access all memory.
>
> How does each processor access the "other" 4 DIMMs?

Through the Hypertransport. Access to the other processor's memory is a
little slower than access to it's own memory but there is lot of
bandwidth available (3.2 GBytes/second in each direction) for the
processors to access the other processors memory.