HP plugs two Itaniums into one card

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

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20040505131140.html

This looks like an interim step that HP has taken to compete against
dual-core IBM Power processors already on the market, since dual-core
Itaniums aren't expected until next year at the earliest.

But how much can you save by plugging two Itaniums into a single daughter
card? You still have to pay for _two_ Itaniums, regardless of whether you're
plugging them into the same daughter card or different daughter cards.

Yousuf Khan

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3 answers Last reply
More about plugs itaniums card
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,comp.sys.intel (More info?)

    Yousuf Khan wrote:
    > http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20040505131140.html
    >
    > This looks like an interim step that HP has taken to compete against
    > dual-core IBM Power processors already on the market, since dual-core
    > Itaniums aren't expected until next year at the earliest.
    >
    > But how much can you save by plugging two Itaniums into a single daughter
    > card? You still have to pay for _two_ Itaniums, regardless of whether you're
    > plugging them into the same daughter card or different daughter cards.
    >
    > Yousuf Khan
    >

    You save by buying a smaller system. Take a look at big tin systems and
    you'll see that a system that can support 16 sockets costs 20% of a
    system that supports 32 sockets which is 20% of a system that supports
    64 sockets (or some similar numbers). So you lay down $200K for a
    low-end 32P chassie instead of $1M for a 64P chassie. Then you install
    dual-die parts instead of traditional parts and your cheaper chassie now
    holds the same number of chips. Even though a chip may cost you $4K
    each, filling the system is usually less expensive than buying the
    "potential to fill the system"; ie, ever notice how a 4P/4-socket system
    costs a fraction of a 4P/16-socket system even though you bought the
    same number of processors?

    Alex
    --
    My words are my own. They represent no other; they belong to no other.
    Don't read anything into them or you may be required to compensate me
    for violation of copyright. (I do not speak for my employer.)
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips,comp.sys.intel (More info?)

    Alex Johnson wrote:
    > Yousuf Khan wrote:
    >
    >> http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/20040505131140.html
    >>
    >> This looks like an interim step that HP has taken to compete against
    >> dual-core IBM Power processors already on the market, since dual-core
    >> Itaniums aren't expected until next year at the earliest.
    >>
    >> But how much can you save by plugging two Itaniums into a single daughter
    >> card? You still have to pay for _two_ Itaniums, regardless of whether
    >> you're
    >> plugging them into the same daughter card or different daughter cards.
    >>
    >>
    >
    > You save by buying a smaller system. Take a look at big tin systems and
    > you'll see that a system that can support 16 sockets costs 20% of a
    > system that supports 32 sockets which is 20% of a system that supports
    > 64 sockets (or some similar numbers). So you lay down $200K for a
    > low-end 32P chassie instead of $1M for a 64P chassie. Then you install
    > dual-die parts instead of traditional parts and your cheaper chassie now
    > holds the same number of chips. Even though a chip may cost you $4K
    > each, filling the system is usually less expensive than buying the
    > "potential to fill the system"; ie, ever notice how a 4P/4-socket system
    > costs a fraction of a 4P/16-socket system even though you bought the
    > same number of processors?
    >

    Nothing wrong with your logic, but I think that a simpler explanation
    will do:

    <quote>

    "The milestone is achieved with a new dual-processor module, called mx2,
    which features two industry-standard Intel Itanium 2 processors on a
    single module that can plug into ->existing<- [emphasis added] systems –
    delivering up to 35% lower acquisition costs than similar IBM systems."

    The move of HP is aimed to deliver speeds closer or higher those
    delivered by dual-core IBM processors and servers today. Since dual-core
    IA64 “Montecito” chips from Intel are to come only next year or later,
    HP needs something that would be here to compete with IBM. From
    technology standpoint, the mx2 is simply a module that allows
    microprocessors to share the same processor system bus.

    </quote>

    The real savings for HP here are the infinite cost of developing an
    entirely new system in zero time as compared to being able to use an
    existing system to compete against IBM merely by plugging in a new
    daughter card. In such a scenario, the costs of a second processor are
    completely incidental and the costs of an imaginary entirely new system
    that utilizes a second processor in some other way completely
    irrelevant. The potential cost to HP of not doing something is losing
    market share and, the most expensive cost of all, losing existing
    customers to a competitor.

    The strategy requires the two processors to split the memory bandwidth
    of one, leading one to expect that the indended market is OLTP, where
    the strategy might work reasonably well, based on benchmarks I've seen,
    as opposed to HPC, where it would be a move of pure desperation. Looked
    at another way, the non-processor costs of "big tin" are the memory
    subsystem and I/O infrastructure. Your argument amounts to saying that
    you can get more performance by adding processors without beefing up the
    memory and I/O infrastructure.

    That the strategy works at all (more processors, no more memory and I/O)
    is probably an oddity of trying to have one system that will cover
    multiple markets. The memory subsystem required to do well for an HPC
    benchmark is probably overspec'd as compared to the memory subsystem
    required to do OLTP. As discussed in these forums and others,
    processors for OLTP wind up spending much of their time stalled, and the
    usual cleverness that allows a processor not to be stalled in most
    applications doesn't work for OLTP. You can try to be clever with SMT,
    or you can stop worrying about it and just add more processor cores,
    which, for "big tin," aren't all that big a deal, anyway.

    Completely off the subject of the thread, is there some new accepted
    spelling of the English word, "chassis?"

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

    Robert Myers wrote:
    > Completely off the subject of the thread, is there some new accepted
    > spelling of the English word, "chassis?"

    No, I'm just a lowly engineer with poor speling skilz. :)

    Alex
    --
    My words are my own. They represent no other; they belong to no other.
    Don't read anything into them or you may be required to compensate me
    for violation of copyright. (I do not speak for my employer.)
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