Dual-CPU Computer-Buying Advice Sought

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am planning on buying two computers in the near future, one
with the taxpayer's money and one on my own dime, for my research use.
The workstation that currently stands in my office looks like this:

2xAthlon MP 2000+ (1.67GHz); 2x1GB+2x512MB registered ECC DDR2100 DIMMs;
Tyan S2466 (760 MPX, integrated NIC, no working USB ports); Seagate 80GB
7200rpm HDD; Advansys UltraSCSI; 40x CD-ROM; Plextor 12x10x32x SCSI CD-RW;
VIA's USB 2.0 PCI card; NIC (Realtek 8139); NVidia GeoForce 2MX 64MB.

I run Linux and have been spoiled by dual-CPU machines -- I've
built a total of 9 dualies since 1996 when the linux 2.2 kernels came
out. Running linux or sometimes WinNT, they have served me (as well as
the friends who were gifted or bought the used machines) very well. I
run mainly Maple, some gcc-compiled binaries, and LaTeX. The programs
I run often end up having gigabytes-sized arrays, hence the RAM size.

When planning the upgrade, the most comprehensive advice I got
googling for "hardware-buying advice" was the following list:

Dan J. Bernstein's recommended "standard workstation"

$240 2xAthlon MP 2400+ (Thoroughbred 2.0GHz)
$92 Western Digital Caviar 120GB "Special Edition" 8MB buffer 7200rpm
$189 Gigabyte GA-7DPXDW-P (760 MPX for Athlon MP, integrated NIC)
$120 Kingston 512MB ECC DDR2100 DIMM
[a bunch of other stuff including Antec case and a 450W power]

That's $641 (NewEgg prices); a nice case + power plus assorted odds and
ends raises the entire pricelist up to around $870; I can reuse my other
peripherals: I swear by IBM's trackpoint Mechanical M13 keyboard and its
other trackpoint items, and two screens at each work location. If I am
going to fill the machine to 3 GB, that will set me back a further $800
for $1600 for the entire machine.

If I buy instead a pair of Opteron 240's for $200 each and Tyan's S2885
(Thunder K8W) for $450 each, that will set me back a further $400+, for
about $2000 for the whole machine. Opteron 246's are a hefty $650 each
so that will cost me about $3100 for this entire workstation.

Is this a good buy for my office machine?

Are Opteron 240's better or worse for my purposes than Athlon MP 2800's?
2600's? Would Xeon's be any good at all? How about my home machine? I
want it to have significant computing power although I may not need that
much memory at home ... Thanks in advance for any advice ...
5 answers Last reply
More about dual computer buying advice sought
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    archmage@sfchat.org (Nate Edel) wrote :

    > (are there any Barton-based Athlon MPs?),

    hmm any AMD XP processor can be turned into MP

    Pozdrawiam.
    --
    RusH //
    http://pulse.pdi.net/~rush/qv30/
    Like ninjas, true hackers are shrouded in secrecy and mystery.
    You may never know -- UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE.
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    RusH <rush@pulse.pdi.net> wrote:
    > archmage@sfchat.org (Nate Edel) wrote :
    > > (are there any Barton-based Athlon MPs?),
    >
    > hmm any AMD XP processor can be turned into MP

    *lol* They never closed that loophole?

    Aside from that, though, what I was asking was whether any of the current
    sold-as-Athlon-MP models were 512k cache versions based on the core that's
    called Barton when sold as an Athlon XP.

    --
    Nate Edel http://www.nkedel.com/

    "Elder Party 2004: Cthulhu for President -- this time WE'RE the lesser
    evil."
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    In <mv96m1xcju.ln2@mail.sfchat.org>, Nate Edel <archmage@sfchat.org> wrote:
    >RusH <rush@pulse.pdi.net> wrote:
    >> archmage@sfchat.org (Nate Edel) wrote :
    >> > (are there any Barton-based Athlon MPs?),
    >> hmm any AMD XP processor can be turned into MP
    >*lol* They never closed that loophole?
    >Aside from that, though, what I was asking was whether any of the current
    >sold-as-Athlon-MP models were 512k cache versions based on the core that's
    >called Barton when sold as an Athlon XP.
    >
    Yes, the athlon mp 2800+ is a 2.08 GHz barton on a 266 buss

    but the 2800 is significantly more costly than the 2600

    is anyone else offering any opinions on the merits/demerits of the opteron
    boards vs. the athlon boards?
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    by@moscito.org wrote:
    > In <mv96m1xcju.ln2@mail.sfchat.org>, Nate Edel <archmage@sfchat.org> wrote:
    >
    >>RusH <rush@pulse.pdi.net> wrote:
    >>
    >>>archmage@sfchat.org (Nate Edel) wrote :
    >>>
    >>>>(are there any Barton-based Athlon MPs?),
    >>>
    >>>hmm any AMD XP processor can be turned into MP
    >>
    >>*lol* They never closed that loophole?
    >>Aside from that, though, what I was asking was whether any of the current
    >>sold-as-Athlon-MP models were 512k cache versions based on the core that's
    >>called Barton when sold as an Athlon XP.
    >>
    >
    > Yes, the athlon mp 2800+ is a 2.08 GHz barton on a 266 buss

    Note that this is also an excellent, but expensive, processor
    for those of you with single processor 266 MHz FSB motherboards.
    Only moderately overclockable.


    >
    > but the 2800 is significantly more costly than the 2600
    >
    > is anyone else offering any opinions on the merits/demerits of the opteron
    > boards vs. the athlon boards?

    Yes. Moi !

    I have built three Opty dualies using the Tyan S2885
    and one using the S2875. In the past I also built a
    few Athlon dualies (both XP and MP) and even one Duron
    dualie.

    I would suggest that if you already have an Athlon dualie,
    then upgrading it may be a reasonable thing to do.

    However, if you are building a dualie from scratch, I would
    suggest you forget Athlons and go with Opterons. Depending
    on which components you would use in an Athlon dualie versus
    which you would use in an Opteron dualie, an Opty dualie
    can range from just a tad more expensive to a whole lot more
    expensive.

    However, the low end of the Opty dualie range, such as a
    pair of Opty 240's on an S2875 will compete nicely with the
    high end of the Athlon MPs, such as a pair of MP2800's on
    the motherboard of your choice. Additionally, the Athlon
    MP2800 solution puts you at an immediate dead end, whereas
    the Opty 240 (1.4 GHz) dualie can be upgraded to at least
    the Opty 248 (2.2 GHz) that is currently available and it
    should also be OK with the Opty 252 (2.6 GHz)we are apparently
    supposed to see by the end of the year.

    Note also that the economics of a new Athlon MP system vs a
    new Opty system are one thing, but used kit is quite another.
    There are some excellent bargains to be found in the way
    of used Athlon dualie motherboards and Athlon processors.
    Used Opterons are also starting to show up as people who began
    with Opty 240's or 242's are starting to find that upgrades to
    Opty 246 and 248 have become feasible now that prices have
    come down a bit.
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    by@moscito.org wrote:
    > In <mv96m1xcju.ln2@mail.sfchat.org>, Nate Edel <archmage@sfchat.org> wrote:
    > >RusH <rush@pulse.pdi.net> wrote:
    > >> archmage@sfchat.org (Nate Edel) wrote :
    > >> > (are there any Barton-based Athlon MPs?),
    > >> hmm any AMD XP processor can be turned into MP
    > >*lol* They never closed that loophole?
    > >Aside from that, though, what I was asking was whether any of the current
    > >sold-as-Athlon-MP models were 512k cache versions based on the core that's
    > >called Barton when sold as an Athlon XP.
    > >
    > Yes, the athlon mp 2800+ is a 2.08 GHz barton on a 266 buss
    > but the 2800 is significantly more costly than the 2600

    Gothca.

    > is anyone else offering any opinions on the merits/demerits of the opteron
    > boards vs. the athlon boards?

    As has been said before, one of, if not _the_ biggest difference is memory
    bandwidth.

    The Athlon MP boards have ~2.2 gigabytes per second bandwidth shared by both
    CPUs; one of the better (with per-cpu memory) newer-stepping Opteron boards
    has ~6.4 gigabytes per second per CPU.

    Memory latency is better on the Opteron boards, thanks to the on-board
    controller. Caches are twice the size of the Athlon MP 2800 or four times
    the size of the 2600+. The 8131/8151 chipset is a LOT more up to date than
    the 760MP/MPX.

    --
    Nate Edel http://www.nkedel.com/

    "Elder Party 2004: Cthulhu for President -- this time WE'RE the lesser
    evil."
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