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Question about Athlons vs Opterons

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July 27, 2006 2:54:53 PM

What's the difference between an Athlon and an Opteron? I know one's a desktop CPU and the other's a server CPU, but again, what does one do better than the other? Same question with the Pentiums vs Xeons.

Examples. If I wanted to build a gaming PC, I'm assuming that the desktop CPU's are the best choice. But what if I wanted to build a gaming server for ut2004, Battlefield 2, or Neverwinter Nights, what's the best choice?

Why I'm asking is because we've got a PC gaming club going, and we want to build a server. What we're really building for is Neverwinter Nights 2, UT2007, and Battlefield 2142 (that year right?) Probably won't be able to run them all at once, but we need to at least be able to run one at a time, and I'm wondering what CPU type would be best for the job (desktop vs server). For that matter, what company (AMD vs Intel) would be better? I'm an AMD fan, and we're on a budget. But I want to do what's best for the group, and if going with an Intel or AMD will get the job done better, I'll overlook my personal bias. Since none of the mentioned games are out, and the requirements haven't been released, all I can ask are general questions. Gonna run CentOS Linux on it unless I have to run Windows for some reason.

Thanks,
Crey
July 27, 2006 3:33:17 PM

Do you want a dual socket solution or a single? How many people are you serving? What's the budget? These are the important questions...
July 27, 2006 3:43:35 PM

Quote:
The difference simply is that the opterons are hand picked from the Athlons to become "server" chips because they are more reliable and stable at higher clock speeds than the ones sold as Athlons. They also typically have 2x1mb of cache versus the Athlon64 512kb or the X2 2x512kb.
It's simply personal preferance what you want to build. A simple X2 dual core would do what you need. Would the opteron be better? Well a little but not much. Also you would either need to go socket 939 or socket 940 for the opteron which isnt really upgradeable. If you go AM2 then with a X2 then you would be all set up for the new 65nm X2 and possibly for quad core next year.
You also could go Core 2 duo. Very good chips (from what Ive read) but will cost you a bit more to build than a X2. The X2 is a bit cheaper and the boards are quite a bit cheaper. You also are going to want a gob of DDR2-800 for your server. Good luck.
The main interest in Opterons was when it was discovered how well they overclocked compared to a regular Athlon64 or x2.
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July 27, 2006 3:58:46 PM

Budget is around $500 for the CPU, Memory, Motherboard, and Hard drive. All other parts we already have.

Basically, we're just looking to buy the best of what we can for around $500. Plan is to start off with 2 Gigs of memory and then upgrade as we need it.

Currently, a 64 X2 4200 AM2 socket, 2 Gigs of DDR2 800 memory, Asus TForce 6150 Motherboard, and 80 Gig Hard Drive come in right at $500 (or near enough). I figured this would be enough to get us started, and then we can upgrade as needed as we get the funds. I figure memory will be first thing we need.

As far as numbers, I'd say 10-12 people would be a lot for us, but it would be nice to know we could go higher when needed.

We've just used spare PC's to this point. Our primary game server now is a AMD 1.2 Gig with 512 MB of memory, but we can't even run a Battlefield 2 server off that because of the CPU.

So, we're looking for something that can run whatever we throw at it for now (either one at a time or all at once), and with a high amount of upgradeability for the future. That's why I went with the AM2 socket. Prices have really dropped on those CPU's, I like AMD's, and upgradeability is high. But then I thought about posting to the forums. I don't want to get caught being bias if there are better options for the money, and I wasn't sure about the differences between desktop and server processors.

Thanks for all the input so far. Look forward to hearing more opinions.

Crey
July 27, 2006 4:11:11 PM

with a budget of only $500 it maybe hard to get an opteron as i don't think their prices have fluctuated too much so i would get an x2 as their prices are going down , FAST. I personally prefer the opteron as they OC a little better and are much more stable.
July 27, 2006 4:20:57 PM

With a $500 budget I'd say you have it pretty hammered down, but you might want to get a larger disk drive (just a thought), because running out of disk space sucks.

Do you play CSS????
July 27, 2006 4:23:28 PM

Sounds like you've got a good plan already! I don't think a bigger HD is necessary for a game server, CPU and RAM is the most important thing. Go with it man, you can always get a quad core and more ram later if it needs a speed boost.
July 27, 2006 4:36:15 PM

No CSS. We play UT2004, Neverwinter Nights, Battlefield 2, and some flight sim (can't remember which one that was...I never really got into that one though...rest of the guys did though). We kind of go from game to game as they catch our attention. We run our own UT2004 and Neverwinter Nights server, and we'd love to run our own Battlefield 2 server. That's kind of what started all the "build a new server" talk. That, and we can see UT2007, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Battlefield 2124 on the horizon. We know we'll be diving head first into those. While I've built a number of desktops, I've always built them geared toward gaming on Windows. Never built one to be a linux game sever before. Haven't ever tried to stay around $500 either.
July 27, 2006 4:45:02 PM

The Optrons are the best of the cores off a waffer. The have all the cashe working,run on less power and OC alot better than the destops

An Optron 146 is 2Ghz stock but all of mine are running at 3 Ghz on stock voltages.
Useing Thermalright SI-120 coolers and Coolermaster cases the cpu's run only 2C over room temps.

Dule core Optrons such as the 165/170 are very popular.
An Optron 180 has 2 times the L1 cashe of all the other Optron/A64 chips.

AMD is going to be makeing all the AM2 chips in "regular" 939 pin models next year as well.
July 27, 2006 4:49:28 PM

Quote:
with a budget of only $500 it maybe hard to get an opteron as i don't think their prices have fluctuated too much so i would get an x2 as their prices are going down , FAST. I personally prefer the opteron as they OC a little better and are much more stable.
Correct. Opterons aren't getting the price-cuts.
July 27, 2006 5:02:20 PM

Quote:

AMD is going to be makeing all the AM2 chips in "regular" 939 pin models next year as well.


This true? Sources would be appreciated for this. Flippin sweet if this is true :D 

Good luck with the server btw
July 27, 2006 5:08:58 PM

For a Game server, I think a raid array would work best for you, so make sure whatever drive you get now, you can get more that match later (so you can expand into raid). Also make sure you select either SATA or IDE depending on which your motherboard supports in RAID mode.
July 27, 2006 5:37:55 PM

Quote:
What's the difference between an Athlon and an Opteron? I know one's a desktop CPU and the other's a server CPU, but again, what does one do better than the other? Same question with the Pentiums vs Xeons.

Examples. If I wanted to build a gaming PC, I'm assuming that the desktop CPU's are the best choice. But what if I wanted to build a gaming server for ut2004, Battlefield 2, or Neverwinter Nights, what's the best choice?

Why I'm asking is because we've got a PC gaming club going, and we want to build a server. What we're really building for is Neverwinter Nights 2, UT2007, and Battlefield 2142 (that year right?) Probably won't be able to run them all at once, but we need to at least be able to run one at a time, and I'm wondering what CPU type would be best for the job (desktop vs server). For that matter, what company (AMD vs Intel) would be better? I'm an AMD fan, and we're on a budget. But I want to do what's best for the group, and if going with an Intel or AMD will get the job done better, I'll overlook my personal bias. Since none of the mentioned games are out, and the requirements haven't been released, all I can ask are general questions. Gonna run CentOS Linux on it unless I have to run Windows for some reason.

Thanks,
Crey


The biggest difference between the two is whether it can talk to a seconf third or fourth chip.

Opterons can talk to at least one chip. Athlon can't - at least until 4x4. Yu'll probablyhear tat Opteron undergoes a mroe rigorous qualification process. Also, Opteron uses mroe expensive ECC RAM. The single socket Opterons use nonECC though.
July 27, 2006 6:38:52 PM

Quote:
You will be hard pressed with a budget of only $500.

X2 4200+ $199
Asus M2N-SLI deluxe nforce570 $145( I know you dont need SLI but this is cheapest board with heatpipe, trust me you want heatpipe with this chipset)
OCZ platinum DDR2-800cas4 2x1gb $206

As you can see were already over $550 w/ no hardrive


I was planning on going with the ASUS M2NPV-VM NVIDIA GeForce 6150 - $84.99.

Is this motherboard a mistake? It's fanless (I will never buy another motherboard with a fan on it again) and has a built in video card. For a server, built in is all I need.

For memory, you can get 2 Gigs of G.Skill for $161.99. Now, it's 5-5-5-15, which I'm not crazy about. $43 more and I can step up to 4-5-4-12. Still trying to make up my mind on that one. Obviously, lower is better, but I'm not sure how much difference that will make on a server.

A Western Digital 80 Gig SATAII drive runs about $42.99. I can go Seagate for $5 more.

So, going Western Digital and 5-5-5-15 G.Skill, I'm at $488.97

Crey
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