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which OS for dual Operton workstation

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January 12, 2006 5:16:26 PM

Hi,

I need an advice from professionals out there.. I am planning to buy a motherboard which supports 2 dual-core operton processors ( 940 ). Because those CPUs are still too expensive for me, I will buy two single-core opertons ( about 2 GHz each ).. and now Ive realized that I do NOT even know if Windows XP will support it 64bit functionality and so on. Can you please advise me if my chioce is right for a workstation, and what operating system would be able to use the full power of this hardware ( 2 GB of RAM, and some nice graphic card )....

Thank you in advance...

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC
January 12, 2006 9:17:46 PM

If you plan to play games on this system, you really only have one choice. WinXP. You can always dual boot linux too (Mandrake is a great linux starter OS). As for 64 bit support, there's a version of Windows XP Pro that supports x86-64/EMT64. In fact, if you already have a legitimate copy of WinXP I believe you can upgrade to it for free thru M$.

However, 64bit support isn't going to do a whole lot for you. Right now driver support isn't as good as 32bit WinXP. It's there, but from what I've heard from ppl in here and elsewhere it's "buggy." Also 64bit WinXP isn't any faster than 32bit WinXP.

So your best bet may be to go w/ WinXP anyways. (that's if you plan to game).

-mpjesse
January 13, 2006 12:37:28 AM

Hello,

If the Opteron for the 940 pin is too expensive, then get the Opteron for 939 pin.

The dual core Opteron 175 (Denmark) is only a little over $500. It offers great OC, lower voltage, runs cooler, and runs the best workstation applications for 1/2 the price.

The Opteron dual 2.4 (939), is about $750-$800, but again high end performance for $500 less than the 940 pin equiv.
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January 13, 2006 1:39:00 AM

Quote:
Hi,

I need an advice from professionals out there.. I am planning to buy a motherboard which supports 2 dual-core operton processors ( 940 ). Because those CPUs are still too expensive for me, I will buy two single-core opertons ( about 2 GHz each ).. and now Ive realized that I do NOT even know if Windows XP will support it 64bit functionality and so on. Can you please advise me if my chioce is right for a workstation, and what operating system would be able to use the full power of this hardware ( 2 GB of RAM, and some nice graphic card )....

Thank you in advance...

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC


Pssst!! OpTEron.. like in Opteron..
January 13, 2006 8:17:34 AM

hehe... sorry for my mistakes ( it was kinda late as I wrote )... thank you for you help and opinions... I plan to use the machine for 3D modelling etc.. maybe some games ( too busy at the moment ;)  )

What do you say about Tyan Tiger K8W (S2875)? It supports dual core CPUs, but I would start first with single core ones ( AMD Opteron 246 - opteron right ;)  ). everything should cost about 1200 -1500$ right? and last one - is WinXP Pro able to use dual CPU systems the "right" way ??? Later on I can switch to two dual core CPUs ;) 

Thank you in advance ;) 

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC
January 13, 2006 9:07:11 AM

Quote:
What do you say about Tyan Tiger K8W (S2875)? It supports dual core CPUs, but I would start first with single core ones ( AMD Opteron 246 - opteron right Wink ).


You know wusy is right. you would just be wasting money if you buy 1 single core opteron now and buy another in the future. buying 1 dual core opteron cpu is a much better option right now. :D 
January 13, 2006 5:42:34 PM

I do agree, but ( there is always this word ;)  ) - lets say I buy the board I mentioned earlier ( Tyan Tiger K8W ). This board has two slots for 2 CPUs! When I buy AMD Opteron 265 ( which is dualcore clocked @ 2x 1.80 GHz ) will I be able to run my system with only one CPU? And then add another one ( dual core ) after a few months?

I must admit, I haven't been following the development in this sector lately, so I might say - I am behind a little bit ;)  and of course any advice is welcome.

Thank you in advance !

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC
January 13, 2006 5:48:17 PM

As far as I know you can run a single CPU on a dual-CPU board like that. So you would be better off getting one dual-core CPU now and the second one later. But then I only know this in theory because I've never done it. :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

And WinXP Pro should be able to run your multiple CPUs just fine, but I would suggest that you set up a tri-boot between Linux, WinXP Pro, and WinXP-64. :) 
January 13, 2006 8:00:39 PM

Thank you for the tip and advices - I will ;)  but are there any differences in the architecture of those CPUs families - 146 and 246 ?? as for 246 ( yes - I know it is single core ) it says it is for two CPU systems only ! that is what confuses me. If I put only one 246 or 270 ( dual core version at the same speed ), will it work then. I know this worked earlier, but since the new numbering and naming conventions at AMD I get confused very easy...

And sure - I will listen to your advice ! Thank you !

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC

PS: yes - I am planning tri-boot system ;) 
January 13, 2006 8:02:53 PM

Win XP Pro is usually 1-2 CPU... so that would suggest it can't handle any more than 2 processors. Now, dual-core has changed things... so you technically have 4 processors possible in a dual-processor motherboard. I know that wasn't a problem with HT... but I'm not sure if the same will apply for dual-core.
January 14, 2006 12:15:33 AM

Quote:
Thank you for the tip and advices - I will Wink but are there any differences in the architecture of those CPUs families - 146 and 246 ?? as for 246 ( yes - I know it is single core ) it says it is for two CPU systems only ! that is what confuses me. If I put only one 246 or 270 ( dual core version at the same speed ), will it work then. I know this worked earlier, but since the new numbering and naming conventions at AMD I get confused very easy...


You know, you're not the only one who gets confused with today's naming scheme for processors. I can easily understand AMD's, but for Intel, i have to use the guide (processor list) i got from THG. :D 
January 14, 2006 12:50:44 AM

hehehe.. thx people.. and btw... why do you think I switched to AMD? I "understand" the naming scheme... and Intel... shees.. Ive heard that D stands for dual-core... should be easy right.. but those darn numbers... ;) 

Thanks again to all of you ;) 

Regards,

eSEFEROVIC
January 14, 2006 10:47:02 AM

Why would anyone put Linux on there machine as well as Windows XP?

Whats the advantage of having Linux on your machine?
January 14, 2006 12:43:15 PM

Right now I'm using a Dual Opteron system! (To reply to this)

Equipment:
(2) 246 AMD Opterons 940pin
MSI nForce4 Pro Board MS-9620
Dual Channel PC3200 CL2 Registered RAM
(2) eVGA 7800 GT's
(2) 250 Hitachi RAID 0
WD 160 HDD 7200
SB Audigy 2
XP Pro SP2 32bit

Yes, I use XP Pro. It runs 2 CPU's and load balances between the two CPU's. I also went multi-boot for OS too.

Boot 1- XP Pro with mutiple displays for graphic work (RAID 0)
Boot 2- XP Pro single display SLI for games (WD Drive Partition1)
Boot 3- Windows Server 2003 32bit for server work (WD Drive Partition2)

Still sort of tweaking this recent build, do video work and of course some gaming. Upside is it's SLI performance and Dual Opteron. PLUS upgradable to dual core and 64-bit ready for the future.

Here is the 3D 2005 Score: 9143
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=1704268

Side note:
I'm not sure if I upgrade to dual dual-core opterons (4 Cores) that XP
Pro will run with 4 cores, WinServer2003 will, it's good for 8, but not good for gaming.

Also Opterons have come down in price, just use 2 slower units until you can afford a faster pair. Heck, my 246 are only 2 gig hertz chips each but a pair is equal to a 6 gig htz processor! Seriously, about 18,000 MIPS in SANDRA 2005 CPU Bench. Plus the SLI board will run with only one PCI Express card to assist with lowering initial cost! Then SLI in the future!

Hope it helps!
a b à CPUs
January 14, 2006 4:37:51 PM

"Side note:
I'm not sure if I upgrade to dual dual-core opterons (4 Cores) that XP
Pro will run with 4 cores, WinServer2003 will, it's good for 8, but not good for gaming.
"

Allegedly, WinXP Pro limits you to two *physical* cores, so, a pair of two duallies will be utilized successfully.
January 17, 2006 8:24:26 AM

I am also facing the same dilemma. I am planning to build a system for HDV(1080i) editing with Win XP Pro. If I choose a dual core processor Opteron MB I gather that XP "sees" it as two logical processors. OK.
Now that XP does not support 2 dual core (4 core total) processors (Is it official?) which of the following is a better option?

1. A dual core Opteron processor on a single processor MB? or

2. Two single core Opteron processors on a dual MB?

Thanks

Vijjy
January 17, 2006 8:57:57 AM

hi,

as someone explained - winxp does not see a dual-core processor as two logical processors.. right? Also mdd1963 wrote that winxp can work with two physical cores, meaning you can put two CPU chips on to the mainboard even if you have two dual-dore CPU chips. AFAIK dual-cores is a CPU mather, and Windows directly cannot decide which core is being used for which operations... please correct me if I am wrong. So AFAIK - two dual-core AMD Opterons would work, but they might need a BIOS update.

Nevertheless, considering the current prices of AMD Opteron dual-cores, I have decided to use single-cores. I get 3 single-core Opterons for the price of one dual-core ( although I would need two ;)  ).

Regards,
eSEFEROVIC
January 17, 2006 10:33:45 AM

Greetings,

I've built several Dual Opterons and I can say that they destroy Windows XP and 2003 while running FC3 or 4 x86_64 :-D

Also 64bit Linux is a lot further along than XP64 or 2003-64 -- it is very stable, fast and virtually everything works without a hitch (unlike 64bit windows).

You can even play some cross-platform games like Quake on it or use WINE or cedega to run your windows games and apps.

I run Linux myself on all my PCs, most of which are dedicated Linux boxes.

Linux SMP support is great and you do not have to pay extra to use the additional CPUs like you do with certain commercial operating systems and applications.

The new revision of the Tyan boards [S2xxx-D] supports dual core CPUs as well as the single core Opterons.

Obviously you have to use socket 940 model 2xx Opterons and REGISTERED ECC DDR SDRAM. The model 1xx socket 939 Opterons will not work. Keep in mind you normally have to use an EPS12 power supply [1x24pin + 1x8pin] and a case that can accommodate a 12x13 motherboard. The server class Dual Opteron boards are usually 12x13. The workstation class Dual Opteron boards are normally 12x10.

Live long and prosper
January 17, 2006 11:32:48 AM

hi,

a master along us. :)  the fact about 64bit support in linux is an old story. SMP support as well. Because some of us have to use Windows applications ( for Macromedia products ), a better support for 64bit CPUs and SMP would be great to use the full power for those products and 3d modelling software.

linux_0, can you suggest a good mainboard for a dual Opteron ( later on dual-core Opterons ) for a workstation and allaround desktop system. I have been thinking of using Tyan K8WE. Nevertheless, Ill be building some Opteron-based server, so I would be thankful for any other advice(s).

Regards,
eSEFEROVIC
January 17, 2006 12:06:18 PM
January 17, 2006 12:30:27 PM

EDIT: NEGATIVE scratch that! Do not get the S2877

I believe the board you were already considering, the Tyan Tiger K8WE aka S2877 is probably your best bet.

In fact I would recommend the S2877ANRF because the S2877G2NR has onboard ATI Rage XL graphics which would only get in the way.


Please note that this board has 2 x16 PCI-Express slots however one has x16 signals and the other x4 signals so only one can effectively be used for graphics (to the best of my knowledge you would not be able to do SLI).

[code:1:6cc7044a5a]
EDIT:

If you deceide to get the K8WE make sure you get the NEW S2895 version!!!
[/code:1:6cc7044a5a]

Semper Fi carry on :-)
January 18, 2006 5:49:51 AM

Quote:
Since you're pretty active here I'd like to ask you something I've been planning to do a while ago.

What is the best distro for a typical game server?
And what cool gizmo management software would you recommend to keep multiple game servers running smooth?



I would love to give you a simple straight answer but it is a bit more complicated than that. :-)


The short answer is: it depends

Grab http://www.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V4.0.2CD-2005-09-23-EN.iso to play with and FC4 http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/core/4/x86_64/iso/FC4-x86_64-DVD.iso
http://mirrors.kernel.org/fedora/core/4/i386/iso/FC4-i386-DVD.iso
and or ubuntu http://ubuntu.com/download to install on HDD.




The long answer is:

It depends on what kind of software you are planning to run and which distribution or distributions it supports. If the server software is available in RPM or DEB or something like that, then the easy way to do it would be to use an RPM (RedHat and RedHat derivatives) based or DEB (Debian) based distribution.

If the server software you're going to run also comes with source (many do) you can build it on ANY distribution if you are comfortable with that. However building from source can be a pain sometimes.

Popular distributions include but are not limited to [not listed in any particular order]:

[code:1:219f3ebc79]
0. Fedora Core ( RedHat derived / community supported / Gnome based but also includes KDE )

1. SuSE ( now owned by Novell used to be KDE based is moving to Gnome )

2. Ubuntu ( Debian based. New and very popular especially on the desktop )

3. RedHat Enterprise ( commercial product mostly used on servers )

4. Debian ( mostly for hardcore geeks )

5. Mandrake / Mandriva ( whatever they are calling it now )

6. Slackware ( mostly for hardcore geeks )

7. Knoppix ( Debian based Bootable Live Linux CD and DVD runs entirely from optical drive )

8. 2000 other distributions I am forgetting about.
[/code:1:219f3ebc79]


I personally use Fedora Core however I install a TON of stuff from source code by hand so my distribution is Fedora Core based but with a lot of custom stuff.

Most people usually release RPMs, and source code and sometimes DEBs. So if you want to be able to use most stuff then go with Fedora or Ubuntu which have thousands and thousands of packages which can be easily installed.

Feel free to ask any other questions you might have and private message me if you would like to discuss further. I'll help in any way I can :D 

Live long and prosper!
January 18, 2006 8:47:03 AM

CORRECTION!

If you decide to get the K8WE make sure you get the NEW S2895 version!!!

Sorry! I grabbed the wrong PDF datasheets from tyan.com.

But keep in mind the S2895 is better (2 x16 PCI-Express slots) but is also larger so it will require a server case that can handle 12x13!
January 18, 2006 9:24:09 AM

The only overlooked 'issue' with the K8WE (S2895) is when using only one CPU socket (be it with a dual core or not) then it may limit some of the functionality of the PCI bus. (eg: Some slots / bridgesmight not become active until the 2nd CPU is installed down the track).

It is well documented in the PDFs though, and BIOS 1.02 adds SATA RAID-5 support (for Windows). The PCI-X slots are highly configurable aswell just take a little getting used to. They are also backwards compatible with 3v PCI cards, but not the 5v PCI cards (they are key'd slightly differently, the 5v PCI cards won't fit..... so you can install that Audigy 2 sound card - or whatever, without getting in the way of SLI - See image on Tyan website).

Obviosuly NUMA benefit (and DIMM slots for 2nd CPU) won't work until a 2nd CPU is added aswell, but this is more obvious than the above.

This is my rig:
http://users.on.net/~darkpeace/hardware/Opteron270.html
- My pre-build / designers notes are at the bottom of the above linked page in a very small font btw, just copy/paste into notepad and save for reference (or use super large fonts in your browser).
- ...and yeah, even the Antec Titan 550 is a close fit (it fits but need to fold SATA cables a little more than I'd like), even Antec only recommend the Titan 550 for Xeons now.... they used to recommend it for Opteron workstations aswell. (Guess the Anandtech article, and the close fit boards put Antec off AMD Opterons a little. :p  )

The 12V line on the Antec EPS12V PSU isn't '100% stable', but I've seen none of the reported problems that the Antec TruePower II 550 EPS12V apparently has with this very board (eg: like those reported on the Anandtech website). Perhaps they got a dodgy PSU, or old or even faulty VRMs on 'their' Tyan K8WE ? (Who knows ?, Mine works fine).

PS: On older rev of K8WE don't plug 6-pin PCIe power into the older style AMD Opteron 6-pin CPU power connector (yes it fits), or better yet get the 'new' S2895 varient of the K8WE and pair it with an EPS12V PSU / 8-pin CPU power from the word go. With dual PCIe x16 to boot. :) 

Pretty sure that covers you 'prep wise' to knock one together, even if it is your first 'high-end' system.... Not much can go wrong if you stick with the above. Just download and read the PDF end to end beforehand. Also plan to flash BIOS to 1.01 or 1.02 early on.

Recommend OS's:

Windows XP Pro (supports 4 cores fine. WinXP Home only supports 2 cores / 1 socket)

Windows XP x64 Edition (to enable x86_64 mode, address more than 2.75 GB on this board, if you get 4 GB RAM that is, as address range is used for the PCI buses so you need x64 to see above 2.75 GB on this mobo)

Linux (SuSe http://www.opensuse.org is a good choice for new users. or Fedora or Mandriva)
!