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Here's a Dell story you don't see too often

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Anonymous
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August 16, 2004 9:59:31 AM

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

Dell driven out of a market by low-cost competition.

http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040816/tech_china_dell_1.html?p...

Yousuf Khan

More about : dell story

Anonymous
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August 16, 2004 11:24:03 PM

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

Hi Yousuf Khan,

> Dell driven out of a market by low-cost competition.
>
> http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040816/tech_china_dell_1.html?p...

How can Dell compete upon price-performance in these markets when they
don't sell CPUs that provide better price-performance and features?

Dell only sells PCs equipped with Intel CPUs, an arrangement not
expected to change in the near term, Amelio said. Lenovo, Hewlett
Packard and China's No. 2 PC seller, Founder Group, have all recently
introduced models in China powered by AMD chips.

Thankfully Intel's got an astonishing marketing machine in Western
countries. Check out these objective truths:
<http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/08/13/33TCworkstati...;

Intel's Xeon-based workstations are much faster than workstations based
on AMD's Opteron when it comes to heavy multitasking

<http://www.infoworld.com/infoworld/article/04/08/13/33T...;

Despite a great deal of hype, AMD's 2.2GHz Opteron 248 CPU -- as
embodied in the IBM IntelliStation A Pro workstation -- doesn't fare
well under heavy workloads.

...

In fact, across the range of tests, the Opteron system took an average
of 15 percent longer to complete the tasks than the Xeon.

The Opterons are "in fact CPU-bound and running out of processor
bandwidth." They can't even keep up with last generation Xeons. "The story
gets worse for AMD when you factor in the newest Xeon processors from
Intel."

Infoworld's bottom line:
"... with heavy processing, the 2.4GHz Opterons show their limitations and
the A Pro starts to crawl." They're no match for 3.2GHz Xeons which are
"the performance king."

The benchmark methodology and paucity of information appears to preclude
anyone reproducing the results.

Regards,
Adam
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 16, 2004 11:24:04 PM

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

Adam Warner <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
> Hi Yousuf Khan,
>
>> Dell driven out of a market by low-cost competition.
>>
>> http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040816/tech_china_dell_1.html?p...
>
> How can Dell compete upon price-performance in these markets when they
> don't sell CPUs that provide better price-performance and features?

It seems Intel doesn't have enough money to market to the entire Chinese
market properly like it does in the Western world. Thus it's processors are
at a disadvantage, simply based on price.

Yousuf Khan
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Anonymous
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August 17, 2004 1:40:33 AM

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

On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 19:24:03 +1200, Adam Warner
<usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
>Hi Yousuf Khan,
>
>> Dell driven out of a market by low-cost competition.
>>
>> http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040816/tech_china_dell_1.html?p...
>
>How can Dell compete upon price-performance in these markets when they
>don't sell CPUs that provide better price-performance and features?

The CPU has almost nothing to do with the price. The key phrase from
the article is right here:

"Sellers have cut prices to as little as 3,000 yuan ($362) per unit by
offering models without Microsoft's Windows operating system"

That is where the price difference is coming from. Windows is the
ONLY expensive component in a modern low-end computer. The cost of a
WinXP Home Edition license roughly $100. The cost of service and
support is another $100+. The cost of ALL the hardware comes up to
under $200 for a low-end system, and most of that is tied up in the
hard drive and motherboard.

When Dell buys Intel Celeron chips they are paying damn near nothing
for them. Maybe $35 or $40. AMD might be able to sell their chips
for $30 or $35, shaving a few percent off the top, but even in China
and other developing markets that isn't going to make a huge
difference. But cutting $100 off the top by dropping WinXP from the
price definitely will make a huge difference.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
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August 17, 2004 10:26:41 AM

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

Robert Myers wrote:
> In any case, the point of the InfoWorld article was that the Xeon
> workstations excelled on mixed workloads...the kind an actual
> workstation user _might_ experience...different for different kinds of
> users to be sure, but a better measure of workstation performance
> than a database benchmark.
>
> Intel hypes hyperthreading every chance it gets because it's something
> Intel's got that AMD doesn't. There's been much online discussion
> among people who could be expected to be knowledgeable, and the best
> conclusion I can draw about SMT is that, as a design strategy, it's a
> wash...if you consider performance per watt or performance per
> transistor. That leaves open the question of responsiveness. Anybody
> who uses a workstation and does CPU-intensive work has had the
> experience of having the system become annoyingly slow. Does
> hyperthreading help with _that_? The InfoWorld article suggests that
> it does, and a database benchmark doesn't seem particularly relevant.

Actually the problem with the Infoworld article is that it's not even really
a true test of multitasking performance. If you read the article, and then
do some checking up on the tools used, it's very shady. First of all, the
benchmarking application is described on the company's website here:

http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/

It's actually called *HTP* Analyzer (i.e. Hyperthreading Analyzer). So it's
a benchmark specifically designed for and geared towards Hyperthreading.
Therefore it's aware of how to detect it, and how to make full use of it. If
you read through the description of this benchmarker a little bit, you'll
find there are two major components of this benchmark suite. First
component, it states that it can test real-world applications through a
test-script functionality; and second, it tests the system's multitasking
efficiency by running simultaneous background workloads. So you think that
since it runs real-world apps in a test-script, therefore it must be one of
those good applications benchmarks and not one of those bad synthetic
benchmarks. However, then you read about what it uses to load down the
background tasks with. According to its webpage, it creates "simulations" of
real-world workloads such as Database, Workflow, and Multimedia. Now these
aren't real database, workflow or multimedia applications, just simulations
of them -- so they are synthetic workloads. He's not running multiple
simultaneous real-world applications; he's running only one real-world app
thread, but several synthetic app threads to load it down. It's a synthetic
benchmark cleverly masquerading as an applications benchmark.

Now, how could this benefit a Hyperthreading processor over a non-HT one?
Well, in an HT CPU, the benchmark can configure it such that it runs the
applications test-script in the primary HT logical processor, while all of
the synthetic load-generating simulations are executed in the secondary
logical processor. Windows would multitask the applications test script in
the run queue of one logical processor where nothing else would be running,
while the synthetics would contend amongst themselves for attention in the
secondary logical processor. In a non-HT CPU, all of the tasks (whether real
or synthetic) would contend for timeslices within the same Windows' run
queue.

So given three simulated workloads and one real application load, when you
put the real application in its own logical processor, what you've
effectively done is given the application test-script a 3:1 priority
advantage over the synthetic workload simulations. In a non-HT CPU, all of
the threads go into the same Windows run queue, and they all get equal
priority according to the default task scheduling behaviour. Only the
real-world app test-script's elapsed time is ever recorded; the results of
the
simulated workloads are never measured and discarded, since they are only
there to add a simulated workload and therefore they are disposable.

Now, is this a good measure of a multitasking workload? Only if you consider
a proper use of multitasking to be running one real-world app in the
foreground while disposable workload simulators bog it down in the
background.

Okay those were just the technical faults about this benchmark. There's also
some conspiracy theory stuff here. One of the co-authors of this article,
Randall C. Kennedy, happens to be the designer of this benchmark:

http://www.csaresearch.com/about.asp

Mr. Kennedy was once an employee of Intel, according to the above biography:

"Later, as a contract testing and development engineer for Intel
Corporation, he led the effort to create tools and resources to articulate
the company's performance initiatives surround high-end desktops (Constant
Computing) and Gigabit Ethernet networking."

Which sounds like he worked in the benchmarketing department.

Furthermore, this guy is some sort of long-time crusader for Hyperthreading.
He's written articles favouring Hyperthreading for a long time now, this one
from about two years ago:

http://www.networkcomputing.com/1324/1324buzz2.html

Nothing wrong with being a crusader for the technology and showing to world
an example of an application that really benefits from Hyperthreading, just
so long as you don't try to pass that off as a benchmark.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 10:33:06 AM

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

Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> The CPU has almost nothing to do with the price. The key phrase from
> the article is right here:
>
> "Sellers have cut prices to as little as 3,000 yuan ($362) per unit by
> offering models without Microsoft's Windows operating system"
>
> That is where the price difference is coming from. Windows is the
> ONLY expensive component in a modern low-end computer. The cost of a
> WinXP Home Edition license roughly $100. The cost of service and
> support is another $100+. The cost of ALL the hardware comes up to
> under $200 for a low-end system, and most of that is tied up in the
> hard drive and motherboard.

Dell sells some systems in the US for around $399, so why is $362 such an
unreachable price point in China? Those systems in the US most likely have
Windows installed on them too. Microsoft gives OEMs such as Dell a break on
prices for prepackaged systems.

> When Dell buys Intel Celeron chips they are paying damn near nothing
> for them. Maybe $35 or $40. AMD might be able to sell their chips
> for $30 or $35, shaving a few percent off the top, but even in China
> and other developing markets that isn't going to make a huge
> difference. But cutting $100 off the top by dropping WinXP from the
> price definitely will make a huge difference.

It's likely that AMD is able to offer those low prices for the highest
performance Sempron 2800+ or higher, whereas Intel can only offer those
prices on Celeron 2.2Ghz or lower. Mhz marketing then misfires for Intel.
The Celerons that would match up against those Semprons would cost much more
to make for Intel, since Intel would actually have to increase the real-life
clock frequency, whereas AMD only has to dick around with the clock
frequency slightly and assign a huge new Quantispeed number.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 11:09:21 AM

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

"Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com> wrote in message
news:CEhUc.682$E7T1.226@news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...
> Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> > The CPU has almost nothing to do with the price. The key phrase from
> > the article is right here:
> >
> > "Sellers have cut prices to as little as 3,000 yuan ($362) per unit by
> > offering models without Microsoft's Windows operating system"

Here's another article that basically puts the blame for Intel's (and
therefore Dell's) uncompetiveness squarely on the shoulders of Intel, from
the following article:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-08/17/con...

<quote>
Lenovo, earlier this month, launched a much-cheaper consumer PC series,
using CPUs (central processing units) made by AMD.
Analysts widely believe the low-price strategy, aimed at tapping the
township and rural markets, will help Lenovo increase its market share.

Insiders said Lenovo had asked Intel, without success, to provide low-price
CPUs for its new PC series.

Tapping China's township and rural markets is a natural choice, as the
penetration of PCs in big cities has reached 60-70 per cent, Yang said.

"If our partner cannot give us support, we will surely choose another," Yang
said.
</quote>

Both Lenovo (largest) and Founder (2nd largest) are doing business with AMD,
after years of being Intel loyalists. It looks like the price war in China
is serious stuff and it cannot be influenced by advertising anymore, just
price.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 3:17:28 PM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 07:39:25 GMT, Robert Myers
<rmyers1400@comcast.net> wrote:

>Who are the readers of Infoworld? Whether the data reflect reality or
>not, I'm sure they've got data to show that their readers are serious
>prospective enterprise buyers.

Back in the old days, Infoworld was partly a pretty hard-tech
publication, with video card and MB comparisons and such. Some time
back, maybe a decade ago, they started focusing more on the
"enterprise computing" arena, eschewing the nuts'n'bolts for
high-level coverage. Eventually, this became their entire focus.

I believe their current target readership is more along the line of
middle-to-upper IT managers, with lots less emphasis on technical
integrity and more emphasis on systems, support, and marketing trends,
but I haven't read them much for the last 5 years.


--
Neil Maxwell - I don't speak for my employer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 3:39:48 PM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 07:09:21 GMT, "Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com>
wrote:

>Here's another article that basically puts the blame for Intel's (and
>therefore Dell's) uncompetiveness squarely on the shoulders of Intel, from
>the following article:
>
>http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-08/17/con...

I haven't seen any articles with any data regarding what the
configurations of these competing systems are. That is, which AMD
chips are Lenovo putting in their bottom-end boxes vs. which Intel
chips are Dell putting in their China-targetted bottom-tier PCs? This
would tell you how much of a price impact the actual CPU has on the
final system. Of course, even $20 is a fair bit of margin on a $360
PC.

The article did note that Lenovo has been losing money, and is
attempting to narrow losses by focusing on core businesses. It sounds
to me like they're emphasizing market share over profits, which is a
strategy Dell has never been too fond of. Dell's China growth
estimate is still pretty hefty, and they may have decided to focus on
the middle range where there are still some profits to be had. Time
will tell which is the right approach for the China market.


--
Neil Maxwell - I don't speak for my employer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 7:12:19 PM

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

Robert Myers <rmyers1400@comcast.net> wrote:
> Adam Warner wrote:
> I wonder who the readers of Anandtech really are.

Apparently, many of them are writers for Infoworld. :-)

The aforementioned Randall C. Kennedy, the co-author of the Hyperthreading
benchmark in Infoworld can be found wondering around the forums at
Anandtech.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 7:17:51 PM

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

Yousuf Khan wrote:

> Robert Myers wrote:
>

<snip>

>
> So given three simulated workloads and one real application load, when you
> put the real application in its own logical processor, what you've
> effectively done is given the application test-script a 3:1 priority
> advantage over the synthetic workload simulations. In a non-HT CPU, all of
> the threads go into the same Windows run queue, and they all get equal
> priority according to the default task scheduling behaviour. Only the
> real-world app test-script's elapsed time is ever recorded; the results of
> the
> simulated workloads are never measured and discarded, since they are only
> there to add a simulated workload and therefore they are disposable.
>
> Now, is this a good measure of a multitasking workload? Only if you consider
> a proper use of multitasking to be running one real-world app in the
> foreground while disposable workload simulators bog it down in the
> background.

Your key claim (I believe) is that the benchmark software is a
subterfuge by way of giving scheduling attention to the jobs on the
hyperthreaded system but not on the Opteron system. That's an
interesting theory, and it may well be correct, but your analysis rests
on assumptions about the actual benchmark and about scheduling behavior
that I don't know how to check.

One can always, at least in theory, arrange job priorities so that
background jobs interfere minimally with foreground jobs. Without any
constraint on how the background jobs are hog-tied, you could probably
get any result you wanted...if indeed you are fiddling with scheduling
priorities.

> Okay those were just the technical faults about this benchmark. There's also
> some conspiracy theory stuff here. One of the co-authors of this article,
> Randall C. Kennedy, happens to be the designer of this benchmark:
>
> http://www.csaresearch.com/about.asp
>
> Mr. Kennedy was once an employee of Intel, according to the above biography:
>
> "Later, as a contract testing and development engineer for Intel
> Corporation, he led the effort to create tools and resources to articulate
> the company's performance initiatives surround high-end desktops (Constant
> Computing) and Gigabit Ethernet networking."
>
> Which sounds like he worked in the benchmarketing department.
>
> Furthermore, this guy is some sort of long-time crusader for Hyperthreading.
> He's written articles favouring Hyperthreading for a long time now, this one
> from about two years ago:
>
> http://www.networkcomputing.com/1324/1324buzz2.html
>
> Nothing wrong with being a crusader for the technology and showing to world
> an example of an application that really benefits from Hyperthreading, just
> so long as you don't try to pass that off as a benchmark.

"Benchmark" is a pretty broad term. The manufacturer benchmarks that
are published in places like specbench.org, tpc.org, and
http://www.cs.virginia.edu/stream site aren't perfect, but at least they
put hardware on a common footing and the rules are spelled out in detail
for all to see and to complain about. Manufacturers are free to do
whatever they want, so long as they don't break the rules. That leaves
alot of room for creativity, and people get pretty creative.

As to everything else, a benchmark tests the hardware, the software, the
compiler, and the care, insight, skill, and impartiality of whoever is
performing the benchmark. That's alot of unknowns, no matter what you
call the result.

csaresearch.com has a skewed view of things resulting from a desire to
sell advertising? The "Seeing double?" stuff right on the web page you
linked to is probably a better clue than Randall Kennedy's c.v.

Someone is influenced by his "strong recommendations" despite an
apparent conflict of interest? Caveat emptor.

RM
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 7:58:04 PM

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

Hi Tony Hill,

>>> Dell driven out of a market by low-cost competition.
>>>
>>> http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/040816/tech_china_dell_1.html?p...
>>
>>How can Dell compete upon price-performance in these markets when they
>>don't sell CPUs that provide better price-performance and features?
>
> The CPU has almost nothing to do with the price. The key phrase from
> the article is right here:
>
> "Sellers have cut prices to as little as 3,000 yuan ($362) per unit by
> offering models without Microsoft's Windows operating system"
>
> That is where the price difference is coming from. Windows is the ONLY
> expensive component in a modern low-end computer. The cost of a WinXP
> Home Edition license roughly $100. The cost of service and support is
> another $100+. The cost of ALL the hardware comes up to under $200 for
> a low-end system, and most of that is tied up in the hard drive and
> motherboard.
>
> When Dell buys Intel Celeron chips they are paying damn near nothing for
> them. Maybe $35 or $40. AMD might be able to sell their chips for $30
> or $35, shaving a few percent off the top, but even in China and other
> developing markets that isn't going to make a huge difference. But
> cutting $100 off the top by dropping WinXP from the price definitely
> will make a huge difference.

You make a great point, thanks Tony. But why would a savvy consumer choose
an Intel _Celeron_ over most AMD CPU choices? Doesn't Dell need to hope
that Intel's marketing is so strong in China that consumers will choose
the Intel brand even if computers are priced the same? If Dell cannot rely
upon this perception it cannot compete. Period. Even if it starts selling
"naked PCs". What happens if 64-bit computing becomes a checklist point?
Or gamers find out that an AMD Athlon64 3000+ beat a P4 3.2GHz _Extreme
Edition_ running Doom 3?

Intel has to provide Dell with suitable price:p erformance options so it
can compete effectively. Whether this is already hurting Dell is debatable.

Regards,
Adam
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 17, 2004 9:43:56 PM

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

Robert Myers <rmyers1400@comcast.net> wrote:
>> Now, is this a good measure of a multitasking workload? Only if you
>> consider a proper use of multitasking to be running one real-world
>> app in the foreground while disposable workload simulators bog it
>> down in the background.
>
> Your key claim (I believe) is that the benchmark software is a
> subterfuge by way of giving scheduling attention to the jobs on the
> hyperthreaded system but not on the Opteron system. That's an
> interesting theory, and it may well be correct, but your analysis
> rests on assumptions about the actual benchmark and about scheduling
> behavior that I don't know how to check.

To play my own devil's advocate, I'll list what we do know about the
benchmark, and what we are conjecturing. We _know_ that the benchmark is
Hyperthreading aware, we know that it runs one real-world application
thread, and multiple synthetic load-generating threads, and that the
synthetic threads are disposable (i.e. their results are not saved or
measured). What we are _conjecturing_ is that the benchmark is using its
Hyperthreading awareness to create an unfair multitasking priority advantage
for the benchmarked application -- we don't know this for sure; for all we
know, this benchmark doesn't make use of any of its Hyperthreading knowledge
(i.e. complete innocence), to create an unfair testing situation.

The conjecture is based upon the fact that it's easy to detect
Hyperthreading and to optimize for it. Detecting Hyperthreading can be done
completely in user-space, it doesn't require any privileged instructions,
simply a couple of CPUID instructions and you're done. During bootup, Intel
has specified that all physical processors will be enumerated first, and all
virtual processors will be enumerated last. So it's easy to figure out which
processors are real and which ones are virtual. Most OS'es have some kind of
functionality to allow applications to specify which processors they want
their threads to start up on.

Since this was a dual-processor vs. dual-processor shootout, the non-HT CPU
will appear simply as two CPUs, whereas the HT CPU will appear as 4 CPUs.
CPUID will tell you automatically how many are real and how many are virtual
and which ones they are.

> One can always, at least in theory, arrange job priorities so that
> background jobs interfere minimally with foreground jobs. Without any
> constraint on how the background jobs are hog-tied, you could probably
> get any result you wanted...if indeed you are fiddling with scheduling
> priorities.

Yeah, obviously they didn't want to appear to be fiddling with Windows' own
scheduling priorities that would be too obviously unfair, so they worked
around Windows' scheduling priorities with the HT loophole. Since each
logical processor appears to have its own separate run queue in Windows,
they didn't actually modify any of the run queue priorities, they just
distributed the workloads strategically, putting their most important
threads on less busy logical processors. That way they can claim that all of
the individual run queues were unchanged, which is true, but they have twice
as many run queues to choose from.

In an actual multitasking environment, with real work being done both in the
foreground and background, the applications will get distributed out to the
run queues in a roundrobin-fashion. Therefore even with twice the run
queues, an HT processor will have more or less evenly loaded run queues, no
different than the case on a non-HT processor.

> csaresearch.com has a skewed view of things resulting from a desire to
> sell advertising? The "Seeing double?" stuff right on the web page
> you linked to is probably a better clue than Randall Kennedy's c.v.

Perhaps, it is a better clue. But I thought the fact he himself says he
worked for an Intel marketing department was also a pretty good clue. :-)

> Someone is influenced by his "strong recommendations" despite an
> apparent conflict of interest? Caveat emptor.

It's hard to say how much people are going to be influenced by this, since
this article barely published any of the benchmarks that they said they ran.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:08:53 AM

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

Neil Maxwell <neil.maxwell@intel.com> wrote:
> I haven't seen any articles with any data regarding what the
> configurations of these competing systems are. That is, which AMD
> chips are Lenovo putting in their bottom-end boxes vs. which Intel
> chips are Dell putting in their China-targetted bottom-tier PCs? This
> would tell you how much of a price impact the actual CPU has on the
> final system. Of course, even $20 is a fair bit of margin on a $360
> PC.

I thought they mentioned that they were using Semprons here. I could be
wrong, a lot of other news stories floating around, can't keep them all
straight in my head.

> The article did note that Lenovo has been losing money, and is
> attempting to narrow losses by focusing on core businesses. It sounds
> to me like they're emphasizing market share over profits, which is a
> strategy Dell has never been too fond of. Dell's China growth
> estimate is still pretty hefty, and they may have decided to focus on
> the middle range where there are still some profits to be had. Time
> will tell which is the right approach for the China market.

I don't think Dell has had any problems with using loss-leader economics in
the past. Bring people in with products that are so cheap that they lose
money on them, and hopefully they'll buy some other things that will make up
for the loss.

I doubt that the Lenovo model is any different than that. Of course, it
might have gotten to the point in China that all products are now
loss-leaders (meaning companies are now producing losses overall). But Dell
is remaining in the higher-end Chinese markets, like business PCs, etc. So
if Dell is hanging around for those markets, then perhaps profits are still
to be had there. That means that probably the locals, Lenovo and Founder,
are probably still making profits in those markets too.

The locals want to sell loss-leaders so that they can establish a product
identity with their customers for the future. If they buy a cheap PC today,
they'll buy an expensive PC tomorrow.

Yousuf Khan
August 18, 2004 2:08:54 AM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 22:08:53 GMT, "Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com> wrote:


>The locals want to sell loss-leaders so that they can establish a product
>identity with their customers for the future. If they buy a cheap PC today,
>they'll buy an expensive PC tomorrow.

and that expensive PC will probably have a different brand name inside
and out (Dell/Intel). ;p

Ed

>
> Yousuf Khan
>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:28:04 AM

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

Yousuf, many thanks for the analysis. Since the Xeon workstations were
admitted slower to begin with it was extraordinary that they ended up
having faster throughput while remaining highly responsive (this is
usually a tradeoff). If the total work done is never recorded the paradox
is easily resolved ("Only the real-world app test-script's elapsed time is
ever recorded; the results of the simulated workloads are never measured
and discarded, since they are only there to add a simulated workload and
therefore they are disposable.")

Since you raised the link between the reviewer and the benchmarks suite
I've come across this Anandtech forum thread:
`First "real" Nocona vs. Opteron review?'
<http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=28&th...;

Randall C. Kennedy starts by simply claiming: "Opteron is really good at
doing a few things at once. Saturate the CPU, however, and it tanks." In a
subsequent message he writes: "I meant vs. Xeon. Under complex workloads,
Xeon - especially the new Nocona-based model - stomps all over Opteron."

He makes a strong recommendation:

07/31/2004 11:10 AM

Typical. Your reaction to a poor showing by your CPU of preference is
to dismiss the test as being irrelevant. A bit pathological, don't you
think?

Unfortunately, in my position I don't have the luxury of becoming
emotionally attached to products. My customers - who are primarily in
the financial services sector - have zero tolerance for delays. Time
is literally money for these people, and my workloads model their
runtime environment (which is a huge target market for workstation
vendors).

Bottom Line: I'm strongly recommending that my customers avoid
Opteron-based workstations for demanding, multi-process, multi-tasking
workloads, and I'm echoing these sentiments in my InfoWorld Test Center
contributions on the subject.

RCK

-------------------------
Director, CSA Research
http://www.csaresearch.com

Regards,
Adam
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:28:05 AM

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

Adam Warner <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
> Since you raised the link between the reviewer and the benchmarks
> suite I've come across this Anandtech forum thread:
> `First "real" Nocona vs. Opteron review?'
> http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=28&th...

Yeah, I know about those remarks of his in Anandtech too. He posted them
almost a month or two before this Infoworld article came out.

It was enough for me to join Anandtech's forums and post a message asking
him to explain his benchmark methodologies. So far I haven't received any
response from him. But likely he might not be following the thread right
now.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:49:20 AM

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

> http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/

Error: Incompatible Browser Detected

We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft Internet
Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You can obtain the
latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet Explorer web site.

Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
Performance Portal product information page.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:49:21 AM

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

Adam Warner wrote:
>>http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>
>
> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>
> We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft Internet
> Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You can obtain the
> latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet Explorer web site.
>
> Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
> Performance Portal product information page.

If they can't even do a decent job with their web site,
how the heck is anybody supposed to believe they have
successfully tackled the more difficult job of creating
a valid benchmarking app ?
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:49:22 AM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 10:15:28 -0600, Rob Stow <rob.stow@sasktel.net>
wrote:

>Adam Warner wrote:
>>>http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected

>If they can't even do a decent job with their web site,
>how the heck is anybody supposed to believe they have
>successfully tackled the more difficult job of creating
>a valid benchmarking app ?

Might not be their fault... they used FrontPage... a software company
used to deliberately make their apps break when ran on a rival
operating system back in the DOS days you know :p pPP

--
L.Angel: I'm looking for web design work.
If you need basic to med complexity webpages at affordable rates, email me :) 
Standard HTML, SHTML, MySQL + PHP or ASP, Javascript.
If you really want, FrontPage & DreamWeaver too.
But keep in mind you pay extra bandwidth for their bloated code
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 2:49:23 AM

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

The little lost angel wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 10:15:28 -0600, Rob Stow <rob.stow@sasktel.net>
> wrote:
>
>
>>Adam Warner wrote:
>>
>>>>http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>>>
>>> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>
>
>>If they can't even do a decent job with their web site,
>>how the heck is anybody supposed to believe they have
>>successfully tackled the more difficult job of creating
>>a valid benchmarking app ?
>
>
> Might not be their fault... they used FrontPage... a software company
> used to deliberately make their apps break when ran on a rival
> operating system back in the DOS days you know :p pPP
>

They're dumb enough to use FrontPage but we are
supposed to trust them to be smart enough to make
a valid benchmarking app ? "Does not compute."
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 4:52:35 AM

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

Hi Yousuf Khan,

> Now, is this a good measure of a multitasking workload? Only if you
> consider a proper use of multitasking to be running one real-world app
> in the foreground while disposable workload simulators bog it down in
> the background.

If the amount of work done in the background is never taken into account
then the technique is grossly misleading. Here's how the testing technique
could be improved:

1. Measure the amount of work completed by the Xeon workstation in the
simulated workloads.

2. On the Opteron workstation reduce the priority on the simulated
workloads until the Opteron only completes as much work in the simulated
workloads as the Xeon.

3. Compare the responsiveness and throughput of the foreground real-world
application while each workstation is approximately completing _the same
amount of background work_.

Everyone who multitasks cares about how much work is being done in the
background.

Regards,
Adam
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 4:52:36 AM

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

Adam Warner <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
> If the amount of work done in the background is never taken into
> account then the technique is grossly misleading. Here's how the
> testing technique could be improved:
>
> 1. Measure the amount of work completed by the Xeon workstation in the
> simulated workloads.
>
> 2. On the Opteron workstation reduce the priority on the simulated
> workloads until the Opteron only completes as much work in the
> simulated workloads as the Xeon.

This is quite possible to do in the Opteron using just Windows task
switching mechanisms. Raise the priority of the foreground process, while
reducing the priorities of the disposable workloads.

> 3. Compare the responsiveness and throughput of the foreground
> real-world application while each workstation is approximately
> completing _the same amount of background work_.
>
> Everyone who multitasks cares about how much work is being done in the
> background.

Yes, exactly, if you're multitasking in the background, then chances are
that the programs running in the background are just as important to you as
those in the foreground. In both cases, you're trying to get some useful
work done, otherwise you wouldn't be running the secondary processes.

If this guy had only made the benchmark have the ability to run a second
test-script with a real-world application running in there too, then measure
its completion time, it would be a real worthwhile application. It would be
useful to know how fast it could run all tasks it is running, not just one
task.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 5:38:04 AM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 11:11:07 -0600, Rob Stow <rob.stow@sasktel.net>
wrote:
>They're dumb enough to use FrontPage but we are
>supposed to trust them to be smart enough to make
>a valid benchmarking app ? "Does not compute."

Well, even though I personally am biased against people who uses
FrontPage, a lot of people does simply because they don't know any
better or can't be bothered to learn anything else. Don't forget,
often the web developer isn't a permanent staff of the company, it's
usually a contract job. So there may be no relation between the
capabilities of the web designer and the company itself. :) 



--
L.Angel: I'm looking for web design work.
If you need basic to med complexity webpages at affordable rates, email me :) 
Standard HTML, SHTML, MySQL + PHP or ASP, Javascript.
If you really want, FrontPage & DreamWeaver too.
But keep in mind you pay extra bandwidth for their bloated code
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 7:38:02 AM

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

Ed wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 22:08:53 GMT, "Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com>
> wrote:
>> The locals want to sell loss-leaders so that they can establish a
>> product identity with their customers for the future. If they buy a
>> cheap PC today, they'll buy an expensive PC tomorrow.
>
> and that expensive PC will probably have a different brand name inside
> and out (Dell/Intel). ;p

Maybe, that future PC might have an Intel inside it, but I don't think it'll
be a Dell. The locals are trying to build brand loyalty to themselves with
these loss-leaders.

Anyways, the really high-end PCs are now Athlon 64-based. Pentium 4 PCs are
now mid-range.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 7:38:03 AM

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

Adam Warner wrote:
>> http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>
> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>
> We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft
> Internet Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You
> can obtain the latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet
> Explorer web site.
>
> Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
> Performance Portal product information page.

So which browser did it die on, Mozilla or Opera?

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 3:59:37 PM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 15:58:04 +1200, Adam Warner
<usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
>Hi Tony Hill,
>> When Dell buys Intel Celeron chips they are paying damn near nothing for
>> them. Maybe $35 or $40. AMD might be able to sell their chips for $30
>> or $35, shaving a few percent off the top, but even in China and other
>> developing markets that isn't going to make a huge difference. But
>> cutting $100 off the top by dropping WinXP from the price definitely
>> will make a huge difference.
>
>You make a great point, thanks Tony. But why would a savvy consumer choose
>an Intel _Celeron_ over most AMD CPU choices?

I'd buy a Celeron + i865 combo over some piece an AMD CPU stuck in a
POS VIA KM266 setup any day. There's much more too it than just the
processor, and Dell is able to sell fairly high-end platforms for VERY
cheap prices.

> Doesn't Dell need to hope
>that Intel's marketing is so strong in China that consumers will choose
>the Intel brand even if computers are priced the same? If Dell cannot rely
>upon this perception it cannot compete. Period.

Not so much that they can't compete, just that they'll have to compete
on features instead of just brand-name. However Dell is capable of
doing that.

> Even if it starts selling
>"naked PCs". What happens if 64-bit computing becomes a checklist point?

Presumably at that stage Intel will have a 64-bit desktop processor.

>Or gamers find out that an AMD Athlon64 3000+ beat a P4 3.2GHz _Extreme
>Edition_ running Doom 3?

That isn't going to mean much of anything to the consumers in
question, many of whom can't even think about affording either one.
It's all well and good that the Athlon64 3000+ is fast, but when
you're choice is an AMD Sempron 2400+ or a Celeron 2.4GHz, that point
is kind of moot.

>Intel has to provide Dell with suitable price:p erformance options so it
>can compete effectively. Whether this is already hurting Dell is debatable.

Given Dell's recent history (ie the last 5 years) of making FAR more
profit than any of their competitors, I'd say that no, it's not
hurting Dell much at all.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 3:59:38 PM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 22:49:20 +1200, Adam Warner
<usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:

>> http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>
> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>
> We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft Internet
> Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You can obtain the
> latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet Explorer web site.
>
> Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
> Performance Portal product information page.

If you're using Mozilla Firefox the useragentswitch extension does a
nice job of bypassing this stupidity. Not surprisingly everything
displays perfectly using non-IE browsers (with the exception of his
rather pointless "demo", which is in ASP).'

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 3:59:38 PM

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

On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 06:26:41 GMT, "Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com>
wrote:
>Robert Myers wrote:
>Actually the problem with the Infoworld article is that it's not even really
>a true test of multitasking performance. If you read the article, and then
>do some checking up on the tools used, it's very shady. First of all, the
>benchmarking application is described on the company's website here:

Yup, some VERY shady deals going on here, especially considering that
the author of the article is also the guy selling the benchmark and is
also a paid consultant for companies trying to demonstrate the
performance of their systems

Having read through the article it *STRONGLY* reminds me of all those
Microsoft-funded "studies" that clearly demonstrate Windows has a
lower cost of ownership than <insert any other OS here>.

Somebody is definitely getting paid here to show a particular result,
regardless of whether that result corresponds to reality or not.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 3:59:39 PM

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

Tony Hill wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 22:49:20 +1200, Adam Warner
> <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote:
>
>
>>>http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>>
>> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>>
>> We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft Internet
>> Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You can obtain the
>> latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet Explorer web site.
>>
>> Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
>> Performance Portal product information page.
>
>
> If you're using Mozilla Firefox the useragentswitch extension does a
> nice job of bypassing this stupidity. Not surprisingly everything
> displays perfectly using non-IE browsers (with the exception of his
> rather pointless "demo", which is in ASP).'
>

The problem with browser spoofing like that is that it
lets the web developer get away with his stupidity.
In the long run I think you are far better served by
requiring the developers to do a good job instead of
looking for work-arounds on your end when they screw up.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 9:57:04 PM

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

Rob Stow wrote:
> The problem with browser spoofing like that is that it
> lets the web developer get away with his stupidity.
> In the long run I think you are far better served by
> requiring the developers to do a good job instead of
> looking for work-arounds on your end when they screw up.

I even pointed out to my ISP's tech support about the fact that it comes
back with this kind of error message on Opera browsers, even with browser
spoofing in place. Their standard answer was that they don't support Opera.
But if you look at their policies, they say they don't support IE or
Netscape/Mozilla either, yet they had no problems in making this stuff
compatible with their products. If they don't support anything, then they
should have equal opportunity "no support". Even "no support" means quite
different things depending on products. :-)

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 10:08:37 PM

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

Hi Yousuf Khan,

> Adam Warner wrote:
>>> http://analyzer.csaresearch.com/
>>
>> Error: Incompatible Browser Detected
>>
>> We're Sorry! This Performance Portal site requires Microsoft
>> Internet Explorer 5.0 or later (IE 5.5 or later recommended). You
>> can obtain the latest version of IE from the Microsoft Internet
>> Explorer web site.
>>
>> Note: For a complete list of system requirements, please see our
>> Performance Portal product information page.
>
> So which browser did it die on, Mozilla or Opera?

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040810 Debian/1.7.2-2

Konqueror has a friendly feature to set a custom user agent string that
matches, say, MSIE in order to gain access to poorly designed websites.

$ whois csaresearch.com
....Administrative Contact:
Kennedy, Randall ...

Regards,
Adam
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 18, 2004 10:08:38 PM

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

Adam Warner wrote:
>> So which browser did it die on, Mozilla or Opera?
>
> Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040810
> Debian/1.7.2-2
>
> Konqueror has a friendly feature to set a custom user agent string
> that matches, say, MSIE in order to gain access to poorly designed
> websites.

So did Konquerer work with this page? Opera has a similar feature.

However, recently some pages on my ISP homepage became even a little
unfriendly to Opera, though it works with Mozilla.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 2:06:45 AM

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

Hi Yousuf Khan,

>> Konqueror has a friendly feature to set a custom user agent string
>> that matches, say, MSIE in order to gain access to poorly designed
>> websites.
>
> So did Konquerer work with this page? Opera has a similar feature.

Yes, after reconfiguring it to send a MSIE 6.0/Windows XP user agent
string to the domain's web server. It rendered 100% correctly.

> However, recently some pages on my ISP homepage became even a little
> unfriendly to Opera, though it works with Mozilla.

It has probably been years since I've struck a MSIE mandatory website.
They're rather uncommon. Flash content is common but I just ignore any
sites that enforce it for navigation. I'd say the web is more platform
neutral than ever.

It's great news that AOL have just released Netscape 7.2. I've found a
known corporate brand can help break down the resistance of some users to
upgrade.

I've never used Opera. It's good to see the company coming out against
software patents in Europe, especially by undermining Nokia's pro-software
patent stance as the supplier of browser software in their mobile phones.
That takes guts.

Regards,
Adam
August 19, 2004 8:30:04 AM

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

"Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com> wrote in message
news:ByhUc.635$E7T1.234@news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...

<snip>

> Now, how could this benefit a Hyperthreading processor over a non-HT one?
> Well, in an HT CPU, the benchmark can configure it such that it runs the
> applications test-script in the primary HT logical processor, while all of
> the synthetic load-generating simulations are executed in the secondary
> logical processor. Windows would multitask the applications test script in
> the run queue of one logical processor where nothing else would be
running,
> while the synthetics would contend amongst themselves for attention in the
> secondary logical processor. In a non-HT CPU, all of the tasks (whether
real
> or synthetic) would contend for timeslices within the same Windows' run
> queue.

Are you speaking from experience about ability of a Windows application to
allocate one logical processor solely for itself, or this is your
conjecture? Last time I heard (and it was today, from a big
manager from a very relevant company), MSoft has no hardware concept
of asymmetrical multitasking, but I might misinterpreted the issue...
Could you clarify please?

- aap
August 19, 2004 8:51:03 AM

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

"Adam Warner" <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote in message
news:p an.2004.08.17.12.52.33.543548@consulting.net.nz...

> Everyone who multitasks cares about how much work is being done in the
> background.
>

Not true for everyone. For example, playing music is a background task, but
as long as
the stream is delivered isochronously, the amount of work doesn't matter
much
and hard to quantify, only to the extent it affects timing of the foreground
task.
Same for video playback, or CD burning without buffer underrun.
Also, some non-time-critical tasks like backups, virus checks, or
multi-megabyte
movie downloads are of little concern about time as compared to some
foreground
time-critical task.

- aap
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 9:34:46 AM

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

alexi wrote:
> "Adam Warner" <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote in message
> news:p an.2004.08.17.12.52.33.543548@consulting.net.nz...
>
>> Everyone who multitasks cares about how much work is being done in
>> the background.
>>
>
> Not true for everyone. For example, playing music is a background
> task, but as long as
> the stream is delivered isochronously, the amount of work doesn't
> matter much
> and hard to quantify, only to the extent it affects timing of the
> foreground task.

You just gave an example of why background multitasking performance *DOES*
matter, while trying to show the opposite. People care about the playback
quality, they don't want the music to jump or skip while working in the
background. Fortunately, this is not a huge performance hurdle to achieve,
so most people are happy if the machine is simply able to keep up with the
music stream in the background, and if it can do even better than that, they
don't care or even notice.

> Same for video playback, or CD burning without buffer underrun.
> Also, some non-time-critical tasks like backups, virus checks, or
> multi-megabyte
> movie downloads are of little concern about time as compared to some
> foreground
> time-critical task.

All of those do have some very loose performance criteria too. A movie
download or a tape backup that takes too long will be noticed by people,
eventually. Every one of these have an upper limit criteria beyond which
people start to worry about what's going on.

Anyways, these are not the sorts of background tasks we were talking about.
The background tasks in this benchmark were entirely fake simulated
workloads whose entire purpose was to slow down the processor from executing
the the foreground tasks fast enough. They served no other purpose, and once
the foreground task finished, these tasks also finished.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 9:34:46 AM

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

alexi wrote:
> Are you speaking from experience about ability of a Windows
> application to allocate one logical processor solely for itself, or
> this is your conjecture?

There is code available from Intel itself which can show you how to
determine how many physical and logical processors there are in a system.
Doable completely in user mode, without OS assistence.

> Last time I heard (and it was today, from a
> big
> manager from a very relevant company), MSoft has no hardware concept
> of asymmetrical multitasking, but I might misinterpreted the issue...
> Could you clarify please?

What do you mean by asymmetrical multitasking?

Yousuf Khan
August 19, 2004 10:20:54 AM

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

"Yousuf Khan" <bbbl67@ezrs.com> wrote in message
news:WZWUc.1807802$Ar.628457@twister01.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com...
> alexi wrote:
> > Are you speaking from experience about ability of a Windows
> > application to allocate one logical processor solely for itself, or
> > this is your conjecture?
>
> There is code available from Intel itself which can show you how to
> determine how many physical and logical processors there are in a system.
> Doable completely in user mode, without OS assistence.

I can detect how many processors are there, not a problem. However,
I believe there is a huge problem to allocate any specific processor
to a specific task in Windows. Correct me if I am wrong.


>
> > Last time I heard (and it was today, from a
> > big
> > manager from a very relevant company), MSoft has no hardware concept
> > of asymmetrical multitasking, but I might misinterpreted the issue...
> > Could you clarify please?
>
> What do you mean by asymmetrical multitasking?

Opposite to Symmetrical MT: Ability to assign a process/task to a specific
processor (possibly optimized in a specific way) in Windows environment.

>
> Yousuf Khan
>
>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 9:06:18 PM

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

alexi wrote:
>> There is code available from Intel itself which can show you how to
>> determine how many physical and logical processors there are in a
>> system. Doable completely in user mode, without OS assistence.
>
> I can detect how many processors are there, not a problem. However,
> I believe there is a huge problem to allocate any specific processor
> to a specific task in Windows. Correct me if I am wrong.

I am no Windows programmer, but I've glanced over code from Intel that
basically does allow you to change your CPU context to whichever CPU you
like. I didn't pay it too much detailed attention, so I can't give you the
details. I believe it's buried somewhere in here:

http://www.intel.com/technology/hyperthread/

>>> Last time I heard (and it was today, from a
>>> big
>>> manager from a very relevant company), MSoft has no hardware concept
>>> of asymmetrical multitasking, but I might misinterpreted the
>>> issue... Could you clarify please?
>>
>> What do you mean by asymmetrical multitasking?
>
> Opposite to Symmetrical MT: Ability to assign a process/task to a
> specific processor (possibly optimized in a specific way) in Windows
> environment.

Don't know. The Intel examples certainly seem to be able to jump from
processor to processor to processor.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 10:55:03 PM

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

Hi alexi,

> I can detect how many processors are there, not a problem. However,
> I believe there is a huge problem to allocate any specific processor
> to a specific task in Windows. Correct me if I am wrong.

You're wrong. The technical term is "processor affinity".

<http://www.google.com/search?q=%22processor+affinity%22...;

Regards,
Adam
August 19, 2004 10:55:04 PM

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

"Adam Warner" <usenet@consulting.net.nz> wrote in message
news:p an.2004.08.19.06.55.01.56157@consulting.net.nz...
> Hi alexi,
>
> > I can detect how many processors are there, not a problem. However,
> > I believe there is a huge problem to allocate any specific processor
> > to a specific task in Windows. Correct me if I am wrong.
>
> You're wrong. The technical term is "processor affinity".
>
> <http://www.google.com/search?q=%22processor+affinity%22...;
>
> Regards,
> Adam

Thanks Adam, yes, there is a concept of processor affinity, and apparently
some means to control the task. With this regard, Yousuf is right. However,
this mechanism is related to allocating logical processors, not physical
processors. As far as I remember, enumeration of physical processors (in x86
world) is
a random process. Different physical processors may have some asymmetry in
the way
they are hooked up in the system (different configuration of Hypertransport
links for example),
therefore they may have different advantages and disadvantages with regard
to
different I/O-loaded tasks, while Win OS treats processors symmetrically.

Regards,
-aap
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 10:55:04 PM

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

Adam Warner wrote:
> Hi alexi,
>
>> I can detect how many processors are there, not a problem. However,
>> I believe there is a huge problem to allocate any specific processor
>> to a specific task in Windows. Correct me if I am wrong.
>
> You're wrong. The technical term is "processor affinity".
>
> http://www.google.com/search?q=%22processor+affinity%22

That's the ticket! I remember seeing examples in the Intel website about how
to set the processor affinity under any operating system.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 19, 2004 11:56:38 PM

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

alexi wrote:
> Thanks Adam, yes, there is a concept of processor affinity, and
> apparently some means to control the task. With this regard, Yousuf
> is right. However, this mechanism is related to allocating logical
> processors, not physical processors.

The examples in the Intel website certainly made no distinction between
physical or logical processors. In fact, as far as Intel is concerned, all
of the processors are just logical processors. It's just that there would be
two logical processors per physical processor. Intel's Hyperthreading
mechanism makes allows for upto 256 logical processors in a physical
processor (there's an 8-bit counter for logical processors).

> As far as I remember,
> enumeration of physical processors (in x86 world) is
> a random process. Different physical processors may have some
> asymmetry in the way
> they are hooked up in the system

Nope, not random at all, it's all governed by the APIC specifications how
processors are enumerated. It may have been random prior to the advent of
APIC, but now there's a specific enumeration order. Part of the spec is that
the secondary logical processors are counted well after all of the primary
logical processors have been counted.

> (different configuration of
> Hypertransport links for example),
> therefore they may have different advantages and disadvantages with
> regard to
> different I/O-loaded tasks, while Win OS treats processors
> symmetrically.

Almost all operating systems have the ability to allocated certain tasks to
certain processors or processor groups. Windows and most other OSes will
simply allocate them round-robin by default, but there are administrative
commands available to set the processor affinity. Therefore if there are
administrative commands that can do it, then other programs should be able
to access the same facilities.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 20, 2004 9:49:00 PM

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

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In article <g1WUc.807$v86.244@fe2.texas.rr.com>,
alexi <apredtechenski@austin.rr.com> wrote:
>Are you speaking from experience about ability of a Windows application to
>allocate one logical processor solely for itself, or this is your
>conjecture? Last time I heard (and it was today, from a big
>manager from a very relevant company), MSoft has no hardware concept
>of asymmetrical multitasking, but I might misinterpreted the issue...
>Could you clarify please?

I don't think the OP was saying that the benchmark was forcing Windows
itself to run on one processor and apps to run on another. Instead, the
benchmark's main thread was set to run on one processor and its various
background threads were set to run on the other. The SetProcessAffinityMask
system call lets you restrict a process and its subthreads to run on the
processor(s) you specify:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/libr...

One app I can think of offhand that uses this feature is Prime95...on an MP
system, you can run multiple instances of Prime95, each set to run on a
different processor.

_/_
/ v \ Scott Alfter (remove the obvious to send mail)
(IIGS( http://alfter.us/ Top-posting!
\_^_/ rm -rf /bin/laden >What's the most annoying thing on Usenet?

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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 22, 2004 6:46:41 PM

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

Yousuf Khan wrote:

> Robert Myers <rmyers1400@comcast.net> wrote:
>

<snip>

>>The details of the benchmark can't be repeated, but the conclusion can
>>be confirmed or refuted. Design your own bogus benchmark, see what
>>happens to the Processor Queue Length and publish your results. You
>>know ahead of time you will have readers. As a freelancer, you could
>>probably sell it, although probably not for enough to pay for your
>>time.
>
>
> The 16% higher average processor wait queue length comes back to my
> conjecture that the benchmark has simply shuffled off the unmeasured
> synthetic load-generating scripts into a separate logical processor, while
> running the measured real-app script in its other logical processor. In a
> non-HT processor, all of those threads would have run inside a single
> processor queue, but in an HT processor they run inside two queues. So it's
> the difference between running one thread in one queue and three threads in
> the other queue, vs. running all four threads in one queue.
>

Easy enough to demonstrate if you have the appropriate hardware. I don't.

RM
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 23, 2004 1:58:37 AM

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

alexi wrote:
> Let me try to understand your assertion. You have two systems. One
> system is (dual Opteron). It appears as two logical processors at the
> OS logical level. The other system is dual Xeon, and it appears as 4
> logical processors to the OS. You are saying that the "measured
> real-app script" allocates a dedicated logical processor to itself,
> while the other background loads are running on what is left, right?
> More, the other assertion was that the rest of background tasks are
> ran unmeasured, right? I this case, the benchmark on the dual Opteron
> system would run the measured app in one queue, and all other
> (unmeasured) threads in another queue. I don't see how it is
> different from the system of 4 logical processors, given that the
> background performance goes unmeasured as well. It looks like you
> keep forgetting that the Opteron system was also a multiprocessor
> system. Am I missing something here?

It doesn't matter if the Opteron system was also a multiprocessor system, it
still has half as many run queues to work with than the HT system. If you
group all of the background processes onto the virtual processors through
processor affinity, that means you have those background processes will only
fight it out for timeslices amongst themselves, leaving the foreground
process free to occupy its own private run queue. It doesn't matter if there
were one processor, or two processors, or 4 or 8, in each case the SMT
system will have twice as many run queues.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 23, 2004 2:13:47 AM

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

Rupert Pigott wrote:
> I've used (early) Solaris boxes that had 50+ students banging away
> with C++ compilers that remained very responsive... I have even used
> a Pentium Pro 200 on WinNT 3.51 that had one CPU maxed out, and yet
> it remained responsive although it was a bit slow on the screen
> repaint I guess. ;) 
>
> This is why I suspect his methodology is broken...

Solaris is actually an interesting case. Solaris unlike most other
multiprocessor OSes, has only a single run queue for all of the processors.
Therefore Solaris takes a global view of the overall system performance and
responsiveness. You can have 1 processor or a 100 processors, but a single
Solaris image will still only have one overall run queue. It just allocates
threads to processors as it sees resources becoming free (although it will
attempt to preserve affinity between processes and processors too). So in a
system such as this, you can't get away by adding additional run queues just
by adding virtual processors to a system.

Yousuf Khan
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 23, 2004 3:21:33 AM

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

Yousuf Khan wrote:

> alexi wrote:
>
>>Let me try to understand your assertion. You have two systems. One
>>system is (dual Opteron). It appears as two logical processors at the
>>OS logical level.

No. The two physical Opteron processors appear to
every x86 OS as two physical processors.

>> The other system is dual Xeon, and it appears as 4
>>logical processors to the OS.

Maybe. It depends on whether the OS knows how to
tell the difference between physical and logical
processors.

NT4 and W2K can't distinguish between physical and
logical processors, so those OSes will think each
HT-capable cpu (assuming HT is enabled in the BIOS)
is really two physical processors - for a total
of four physical processors. They will be blissfully
unaware that in reality you merely have four logical
processors running on two physical processors.

XP (with SP1) and W2K3 Server *can* distinguish between
physical and logical processors, so they will correctly
identify that you have two physical processors but
those OSes will still identify and use all four logical
processors.

Somebody else will have to comment on what Linux
and other OSes do with HT capable Xeons - I have
never tried Linux with HT capable P4s or Xeons.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
August 23, 2004 6:08:06 AM

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

Rupert Pigott wrote:

>
> I've used (early) Solaris boxes that had 50+ students banging away
> with C++ compilers that remained very responsive... I have even used
> a Pentium Pro 200 on WinNT 3.51 that had one CPU maxed out, and yet
> it remained responsive although it was a bit slow on the screen
> repaint I guess. ;) 

Aren't a bunch of users remotely logged in somewhat analagous to the
nicely partitioned and/or embarrassingly parallel problems that lend
themselves so nicely to clusters? ;-).

Deal with one at a time: Application 1 on Display x doesn't interact at
all with Application 2 on Display y. Any single user can bring his own
display to its knees? Sure. They soon learn not to do that.

I can learn not to do that to my display when I'm the only user at the
console, too, but the whole point is that I'd like a box powerful enough
that I don't have to think about such things.

RM
!