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Server AMD 6100 vs Intel 5500/5600

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June 27, 2010 1:48:10 PM

I run multithreaded numerical calculations and am considering the upgrade path with AMD vs Intel server cpu families. I am generally not looking to pay for premium processors ($1000 and up), but for the value ones $600 or less.

I am primarily motivated by !/$. I note that there is a premium associated with intel, however intel does have faster cores. AMD potentially makes up for much slower cores by having many more. Some of my numerical work is memory intensive, so not sure whether will effectively scale to 24 cores on the AMD if the memory / core interconnects are not up to the task.

Long story short, should we expect to see the higher end X5500s or X5600s scale down in price as new processors become available? I recently built a dual E5520 system, but want more performance. Not willing to pay $1600/cpu at this point.

I also have an old dual X5150 (mac pro) based system and noted that the cpu upgrade (the X5355s), which are not even great performers cost more than the E5520s I purchased ($450 for X5355 vs $380 for E5520). The specfprate difference is something like 40 vs 80 per cpu.

Is this an anomaly or do Xeon processors hold their initial retail value even as new processors become available?

Sorry to be long winded. Just trying to understand which family is likely to provide !/$.
a c 113 à CPUs
a b å Intel
June 27, 2010 2:12:44 PM

Did you read this review? http://www.anandtech.com/show/2978/amd-s-12-core-magny-...

There also is this review of the AMD Opteron 6174 vs Intel Xeon X5650: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/03/31/amd-op...

You'll have to decide based on your requirements, not on cost as they basically cost the same (AMD is slightly more).

I wouldn't expect workstation/server grade processors to quickly scale down in price as that's really where AMD and Intel can make substantial profits.
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June 27, 2010 4:03:11 PM

Thanks, yes, I had read both reviews. I found the tests inconclusive. Should the spec benchmarks be close to real-world performance, on the lower end one has:

AMD 6128 specfprate2006: 208/234, price: $266
AMD 6134 specfprate2006: 225/252, price: $530

Intel E5520 specfprate2006: 156/161, price: $380
Intel E5530 specfprate2006: 159/165, price: $500

On non-multithreaded applications (or those with limited scalability), the two intel processors will best the AMD processors by about 30%, whereas with full core utilization, the AMD bests by 25-30%.

Regarding memory bandwidth, the AMD has 4 channels to memory whereas the Intel 3. However, the channels are split with only 2 allocated to each of the combined cpus.

I guess I was looking for some anecdotal evidence or viewpoint to help decide one way or another.
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a c 113 à CPUs
a b å Intel
June 27, 2010 4:49:06 PM

While the E5530 might not be a good buy, you can get the E5620 for $462. Most people would probably select that processor over the AMD 6134, but it depends on your application. Since you seem to be mainly interested by floating point performance, then that should be your main selection criteria. Select the processor that provides the best floating point performance for the price.
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