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Criticize my plans

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November 2, 2006 1:01:13 PM

I want to build a new comp that should last some years through upgrades.

Here is the plan:

Mainboard: Thunder n6650W (S2915) S2915A2NRF
(the idea/hope is that AMD keeps making new processors throughout 2008 and hopefully 2009 that will use the same socket F)

At the beginning one
AMD Opteron 2218, Socket F, Dual Core, 2600MHz, WOF, 2-way
(The idea here is to upgrade to 2 dual cores top of the line in some years)

At the beginning one
Good PCIe Graphics Card - I'll wait for one of the new DX10 Cards - the idea is to upgrade to 2 top of the line cards in some years

4GB DDR2 ECC RAM / PC-5400 (expandable)

A Raid-5 PCI-X Controller Card with some cache
3x 250GB HDD in RAID 5

I should be able to get this for about 3k$

What do you think?
Did I do reasoning mistakes here?
Is there any reason why my upgrade plans will not work?

More about : criticize plans

November 2, 2006 7:20:39 PM

Just build a core 2 duo system that mops the floor with everthing else out there for about $1200. Then invest the $1800 you saved. Then in 2 years build a totally new system because who knows what they will have out then. Just my opinion.
November 3, 2006 12:19:27 AM

Sounds good, it should last a long time. Don't listen to the other guy, Socket F is good if you want an AMD upgrade later. I would build a system like that, but it costs too much for me. The only problem I can see, is the ram...if you use Windows, 4GB might be a problem. You could just get 2GB, Windows can handle that fine.
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November 3, 2006 3:39:55 AM

Do you really think that when AMD goes 65nm they'll stay with the same socket? Have they announced this yet?
November 3, 2006 4:21:31 AM

My first criticism is that you don't say what you want to use the computer for.
Looks like a server not a game machine, and I suppose it'd be good for that.

My second criticism is your lack of a gravis ultrasound that'll be important if you want to hear the sound in leet demos.

Also you might want a monitor if you plan on using an operating system of some sort. A keyboard would be a good idea as well; maybe a mouse if you find yourself wanting to use GUIs.

I suggest using a lot of wysiwyg, tons of it in fact.

Oh yeah and a powersupply will help(get a cord too).
November 3, 2006 4:30:57 AM

Seriously though if you are planning a game machine you need to rethink. Server hardware is built to be reliable and handle a lot of things at once. Those chipsets aren't optimized for "game" stuff.

I wish I could find it but there is a good review of xeon vs. core 2 duo where core 2 duo outperforms a similar xeon in most games largely because of the chipset. I know this isn't AMD but I'd look into similar issues before buying.
November 3, 2006 5:00:41 AM

well, Hotpants, you make a lot of good points there.
I don't need keyboard, mouse, screen and such obsolete things, since I got an expansion card which cable directly jacks into my forehead.

Seriously, the system should be a workstation with enough power for:
- graphics editing (I do that a lot - sometimes the filters will take ages)
- some video rendering (I do that much less than graphics
- gaming (I do that a lot, but it is not a priority)
- the system will also be a server for video streaming in my home, and it should have enough power to let me game while streaming a movie

So the 4GB of RAM fit in here. First, there are 2 separate memory banks, and current Windows can address 2GB per process. Vista will be able to use 4GB per process (or so I read). So 2x2GB should be just fine for today?

About the chipset question and game performance:
absolute game performance isn't my priority, but Tyan.com says that this board has nVidia NPF3600 and NPF3050 chipsets, "Built for high-end workstation AND high-end server applications..." , "...and support for multiple PCI Express x16 graphics cards - up to four (4) can be installed at once!"
They wouldn't write that if the platform totally sucked at games (remember that I am happy with just "good" gaming performance, I don't need the top).

Socket F:
Yes, some reprensentative of AMD promised earlier this year, that AMD will maintain socket compatibility in 2008, through Torrenza:


from AMD.com:
Quote:
AMD Announces Socket Compatibility Plans to Drive Industry Collaboration

Sun Microsystems, Cray, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, Dell and IBM Endorse Open Collaboration through AMD Torrenza Initiative to Enable Socket-Compatibility

Sunnyvale, Calif. -- September 21, 2006 --AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that its Torrenza Initiative is serving as a collaborative force toward achieving future processor socket compatibility in the server industry. By leveraging the advantages of AMD64 with Direct Connect Architecture and HyperTransport™ technology, OEMs will be able to standardize on a Torrenza Innovation Socket for many of their current and future server platforms. This game-changing approach to server design will enable OEMs to consolidate server offerings for multiple processors to potentially a single platform, reducing datacenter disruption and deployment costs for customers. The Torrenza initiative is establishing AMD64 as the Open Innovation Platform.

Leading server OEMs that develop silicon or intend to design products uniquely enabled by the Torrenza Initiative, including Cray, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, Dell and Sun Microsystems, have endorsed Torrenza as an open innovation initiative, and plan to evaluate the Torrenza Innovation Socket.

“This next phase in the Torrenza initiative would not be possible without the enthusiasm and desire of our partners to enable open innovation and greater collaboration across the computing ecosystem,” said Marty Seyer, senior vice president, Commercial Segment, AMD. “Together, we recognize that the impact of Torrenza can be far-reaching across the industry in reducing complexity for customers while increasing the pace of innovation both in silicon and platforms. Datacenter managers will immediately recognize the impact of the Torrenza open environment, and benefit from the enhanced cooperation at the platform level, with new levels of platform stability, upgradeability, flexibility, and capabilities for their server infrastructure.”

The Torrenza Advantage
The Torrenza Innovation Socket enables OEMs who develop their own silicon to take full advantage of an x86 environment and the accompanying economics associated with packaging, chipsets and motherboard designs. OEMs will be able to contribute to and obtain the Torrenza Innovation Socket Specification and associated design documentation.

“As a leader in the open movement, IBM applauds AMD for taking this step and always welcomes partners that take an open and collaborative approach to innovation,” said Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and chief technologist, IBM Systems & Technology Group. “By working with AMD and joint clients such as Los Alamos National Laboratories, we are collaborating to deliver new value by leveraging this open approach.”

“Sun sees incredible innovation opportunity associated with this latest step in the Torrenza initiative across all of our product lines,” said Mike Splain, chief technologist and CTO, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. “Developing silicon for the Torrenza Innovation Socket is something we are currently evaluating for all Sun platforms as it presents an interesting value proposition for leveraging volume economics while giving our customers the growth flexibility they require.”

“When combined with our HP BladeSystem Solutions Builder Program, the AMD Torrenza initiative becomes a very effective way to deliver high-value computing services to specialized market segments,” said Dwight Barron, HP Fellow and chief technologist, BladeSystem Division, HP. “The industry has been looking for a way to leverage industry-standard, high-volume IT components to solve the next tier of specialized computing problems, and HP sees this as a way to address that need.”

"Supercomputing places heavy demands on performance and thus innovation," said Jan Silverman, Cray's senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development. "Our Adaptive Supercomputing vision puts us on the edge of computer technology advancements. With the Torrenza Innovation Socket and the emerging Torrenza ecosystem, we can leverage additional innovations to extend the realized performance people have come to expect from Cray."

“Fujitsu Siemens Computers sees the value in AMD’s Torrenza initiative, and has already developed technology for it. We are able to connect two 2-socket servers seamlessly, turning them into a 4-way, or 8-core SMP as a result of Torrenza,” said Joseph Reger, CTO, Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “Upgradeability of systems from 2-way to 8-core is a Torrenza innovation from Fujitsu Siemens Computers that improves customers’ server longevity, and reduces total cost of ownership.”

“Dell is excited about the open innovation approach provided by AMD. The benefits of purpose-built processing elements complementing the AMD Opteron processor are powerful,” said Kevin Kettler, Chief Technology Officer, Dell. “The flexibility of Torrenza Initiative technology will allow Dell to continue to deliver cutting edge solutions to our enterprise customers.”

Through the Torrenza Initiative, the AMD64 computing platform is opened for industry-wide innovation, such as connecting non-AMD accelerators to AMD64 systems via HyperTransport technology links. Torrenza supports a range of integration innovations from interconnections leveraging HyperTransport, to co-processors accessing HyperTransport, to plug-in co-processors that directly harness the speed and communications delivered by HyperTransport.


This means, it is possible that instead of a second dual core Opteron, I hope to be able to insert an accelelerator chip into the second socket F (1207), for example a cell chip (which has been tested to yield 50 to 90% performance boost over the 2x2 config).
Maybe it will be possible to insert accelerator cards into the spare 16x PCIe slots too, who knows?

I think that after the introduction of cell architecture and chips in the mass market, computer performance will not be anymore only a matter of one CPU's clock speed and cores.
The goal of the system I want to build is to bridge the time between now and then, with the chance to take the first upgrade step with accelerators.

Please comment further.
November 3, 2006 7:45:30 AM

Update:

The Mobo I was referring to is probalby not the right one for what I try to achieve, because it lacks a HTX port (used to add accelerator cards).
On the other hand, Tyan's only Mobo with HTX, the Thunder n3600R (S2912), is not viable as a Workstation Mobo (lacks 16x PCIe slots).

Supermicro has released some boards with HTX slots, the A+ series.
But they aren't for workstations either.

Best would be to get a 4 socket-F Mobo with Torrenza architecture, put a quad core into the first socket, and then have space for 3 accelerators + use of the GPU, possible 2 GPU with SLI/crossfire or whatever comes up?
So much power...

So the best thing probably is to wait until Tyan releases Mobos supporting AMD's Torrenza architecture, and then kick major a$$.
May 7, 2008 3:36:44 AM

I have similar workstation config:
Mobo Tyan s2915
2 CPU AMD2212 HE
4Gb Ram Kingston DDR2
PCpower & Cooling 1kwSR
3 ware 9659SE in raid 6
8 sata drive Hitachi 160gb each
Vista x64
Nvidia 8800 GTS VGA card.

This workstation rocks. Just to give you an idea, 22Gb DVI file render to Hi def DVD took about 2 hours. CPU temperature monitored was a cool 45c.

AMD and Tyan boards are made for each other. Just don''t use the mobo built in NVraid. It sucks big time. Read and write at raid 5 is worse than a single drive config. Use 3 ware raid instead.
June 16, 2009 5:48:00 PM

It's been some time since these posts were made. I have had a number of Tyan motherboards:
S3992
S4980
S2912 x4: For my cluster!
S4985
My latest board (the S4985) is a four-socket powerhouse. I made the decision to get Socket-F three years ago, for the very same expectation of longevity. I haven't been disappointed. I'm now running Shanghais on my board, and am looking forward to the new Istanbuls.

My system is liquid-cooled with four Koolance CPU-330s. It's a bad pun, but the system is really KOOL!. I'm going to at some point start adding graphics cards to this board. But I think I'll wait until the HD 4970x2s come available. The power supply I intend to get is the Silverstone ST1500 (watt). It has 4 8-pin pci-e leads. So I should never be short for power with the combination of the supply and cards.

Shingoshi
June 16, 2009 5:51:30 PM

Should you really use *short* and *power* in the same sentence? Seems to be asking for trouble from the little gods of mishap.

Shingoshi
!