Power Consumption

Our power consumption data is preliminary. We really have to doublecheck all the power data. Very roughly, we find that the Opteron 2435 machine consumes about 35-45W less than the Xeon X5570. On a total of slightly more than 300W, that is about 10 to 15%. Idle power seems to be slightly in favor of the Xeon “Nehalem”. We’ll update this data in our next article.

Market Analysis

As always we do an analysis based on what the servers are bought for. There are quite a few fields that we have not covered in this article, but with the exception of the ERP benchmarks, those markets are hardly relevant. HT assist might improve bandwidth in a quad-socket configuration, but must be disabled in a 2P configuration. As a result the six-core has less bandwidth per core, which means that most of the HPC application will not perform better. The infrastructure market is looking for as much memory as possible, not for more processing power with the same amount of memory.

So there is only piece really missing in the puzzle: the ERP results. The SAP benchmarks are not that hard to predict: The six-core Opteron will probably improve the SAP score by 25 to 35% over a 2.7 Ghz quad-core Opteron 2389. This will not threaten the dominant position of the Nehalem Xeons which are up to 81% faster than the latter.

Server Software Market Importance Benchmarks Used Effect of 2 extra cores (Istanbul vs Shanghai) Intel Xeon X5570 2.93 vs Opteron 2435 2.6
ERP, OLTP 10-14%

SAP SD 2-tier (Industry Standard benchmark)

Oracle Charbench (Free available benchmark)

Not known yet

+27%

Not known yet

50%

Reporting, OLAP 10-17% MS SQL Server (Realworld vApus benchmark) +46% 16%
Collaborative email, DC, file/print 14-18%
32-37%
MS Exchange Loadgen (MS own load generator for MS Exchange)

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Software Dev. 7% None Unknown Unknown
Web 10-14% MCS eFMS (Realworld vApus benchmark) -3% 14%
HPC
Other
4-6%
2%?
LS-DYNA (Industry Standard)
3DSMax (Our own bench)
Unkown
+5%

Unknown
50%

Virtualization 50% VMmark on ESX 4.0 (Industry Standard)
vApus Mark I on ESX 3.5
vApus Mark I on ESX 4
+41%
+37%
+35%
+/- 51%
0.7%
11-30%

 

The OLTP-market is also firmly in Intel's grasp. Things look better in our website benchmark, until you remember that a single Xeon X5570 performs just as well as dual six-core Opteron. That leaves two markets: Decision Support Databases and servers bought for virtualization. But that last one is incredibly important…

vApus Mark I: Performance-Critical Applications Virtualized Conclusion
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  • iocedmyself - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

    Well something that was failed to be mentioned was that the 2P opteron machine costs about $6700, where as the nehalem 2p machine is very near to $16,000.

    as for power consumption a straight up comparison would be HP380 Xeon and HP 385 Opteron. At idle, both are 140W. With 100% CPU / Ram, 385 is around 300W, 380 (Xeon) is about 450W.

    another thing not discussed here - 4P Istanbul is 70-80% faster than 2P Nehalem, and there is no 4P Nehalem. 8P Istanbul is over 3 times as fast as 2P Nehalem. so until next gen Nehalem, there is no competition in the high end which probably has something to do with istanbul orders being through the roof.

    I also have to wonder if these benchmarks were conducted using one of Intel's little helpful optimized compilers.
    Reply
  • yasbane - Wednesday, June 10, 2009 - link

    would be nice to see some unix or linux benchmarks... Reply
  • riskyburden - Thursday, June 4, 2009 - link

    I might be naive here but surely the majority of these applications are favouring clock speed and no more than two cores, should there not be a bench for those companies that run multiple apps such as SQL and AD or IPFX etc all from one server and make a comparison there. I don't suggest it to be good network practice but that would interest me more. Reply
  • mino - Friday, June 5, 2009 - link

    For this part of SMB market pretty much any dual core CPU will do.

    Their bottleneck is almost allways on the storage side, sometimes with insufficient memory.
    And most also run default install where basic SW tweaks would make 100's percents in performance.
    Reply
  • befair - Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - link

    Johan never proves me wrong. Even an article meant to talk about AMD Opteron starts with a good deal of "Intel is the king!" stuff, as usual. Reply
  • alpha754293 - Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - link

    What happened to them?

    I would have to loved to have seen what the new 6-core AMDs would be able to do in this arena since it is (presumably) a much more competitive offering than the fastest Xeons all around.
    Reply
  • lopri - Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - link

    A Question: Is the 'snoop-filter' a hardware-based? I read that it can be enabled/disabled via BIOS, and since the cores are same as Shanghai cores.. But my question is, whether it's hardware-based or software-based (BIOS), shouldn't this work for inter-core communication as well if AMD decides to implement it? Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - link

    I have to check, but I am pretty sure it is both. The "uncore" part has changed somewhat on Istanbul.

    "shouldn't this work for inter-core communication as well if AMD decides to implement it"

    Since the L3-cache keeps copies of shared L2-cachelines, I don't think that will help. There is already a very fast way of communicating with little overhead.
    Reply
  • tygrus - Monday, June 1, 2009 - link

    I would like to know the performance difference when using a cell size of 3 not 6 on the 6-core units or of 8 not 4 on Xeon 4Core8Thread ?

    Will have to wait for latter for more raw performance numbers (eg. memory local/system, SPEC CPU, task switching, OS/IO task servicing).

    How long before they update the boards for DDR3 based memory and better IO onboard ?

    It's a pity the ESX 4.0 update hasn't helped AMD .. are the improvements only available for Intel or was it to correct a previous Intel only problem ? What can AMD/partners do to improve performance ?
    Reply
  • JohanAnandtech - Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - link

    "I would like to know the performance difference when using a cell size of 3 not 6 on the 6-core units?"

    A cell size of 3 will not do any good if your VMs are MP. Eventhough ESX features "relaxed co-scheduling", there might quite a few cases where the Scheduler is not able to use all "slots" as some of vCPUs of the VMs might be behind. From the momemt you use more than 2 vCPUs, you will get situations where only one VM with 2 CPUs is scheduled on a cell of 3 CPUs. 8-cell: I have to try it.

    "How long before they update the boards for DDR3 based memory and better IO onboard ? "

    The AMD's Fiorano platform that will be available in a few weeks should have better I/O (PCIe gen 2) but will still be DDR-2 based.

    DDR-3 CPUs are scheduled for 2010.

    "It's a pity the ESX 4.0 update hasn't helped AMD .. are the improvements only available for Intel or was it to correct a previous Intel only problem ? "

    VMware's docs tell us they that CPU locking goes more quickly and that the scheduler is "cache aware", but most of the biggest improvements are EPT and better support for Hyperthreading.

    Reply

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