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Dual Opteron vs Dual Athlon MP

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March 7, 2004 5:21:15 PM

I'm trying to build a very high-performance, low-cost SMP workstation. I have narrowed down my decision to one of the following:

1. Dual Opeteron 240 (1.4GHz chips) (64-bit)

or

2. Dual Athlon MP 2800+ (2.08GHz chips)

Cost-wise, they are pretty close. I can't seem to find a good comparison of the two. And I can't make up my mind about which way to go. I'd like to find out which of the two will yield higher performance under winxp pro 32-bit. So, basically, I'd like to know what you guys think. I'm hoping that the Opterons will be faster (i.e., 64-bit capability, HyperTransport technology, and faster RAM support is enough to offset the difference in GHz marks). Educated responses only, please.

One more question. Regarding disk I/O performance, I have come to another cross road between:

1. 10,000RPM Seagate Cheatah U160 w/8MB cache on a 64bit PCI LSI Ultra 160 Controller (in a 64-bit PCI slot, of course)

or

2. Four (4) 40GB ATA133 Maxtors w/2MB cache on a Promise ATA133 Raid card in 4-disk-striped array (ala Raid 0)

TIA, for your comments.
March 7, 2004 6:05:30 PM

Opteron are much faster.....

If i remember well those athlon mp has low fsb ....

Athlon 2700xp+ (oc: 3200xp+ with 200fsb) , Radeon 9800pro (oc: 410/370) , 512mb pc3200 (3-3-3-2), Asus A7N8X-X
March 7, 2004 7:25:36 PM

Tough one. I think much will depend on the types of workloads you are going to handle; opteron shines with its low latency, high bandwith memory subsystem, which will give it an edge over the faster clocked MP's in memory/latency bound apps, but certain apps other just want raw clockspeed, and will perform roughly equivalent on Athlon or opteron per clock (making the MPs faster). If I had to guess, i'd WAG the MP's might be a tad faster overall, but I can not find any decent benchmarks to susbtantiate this guess either.

Also, just a note, you will not benefit from opterons 64 bit capabilities using winxp 32 bit. You will need the new upcoming 64 bit windows (or linux) to unleash the extra performance and capabilities of opteron; if for some reason you will not/can not upgrade windows, ignore the 64 bit argument, as your opteron will basically be a 32 bit chip.

A second note, the 242's and even 244's arent *that* much more expensive, and will almost be certainly a lot faster than the MP's on any possible app.

A last note; Athlon MP is a dead end, and its only real chipset option, 760 MPX while stable and mature, is really outdated. If you buy an opteron WS now, you'll get a much richer chipset and at least you'll be able to upgrade your cpu's to (much) faster ones later. Something to consider if all other things seem roughly equal.

To conclude: my vote goes to the opteron, even though on certain apps I suspect the MP's might be faster

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
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March 7, 2004 8:49:39 PM

pricewatch has the opteron 240 at $190. The opteron 242 starts at $306. Since I have to buy a pair of them, I think I'm going to have to stick to the 240 for now.
March 7, 2004 8:56:18 PM

Thanks for your opinion. I'm definately starting to lean more towards the Opteron solution.
March 7, 2004 9:03:03 PM

I know that clock for clock the Opterons are more efficient and better performers. The Opteron is a much more advance chip. The question was: which one do you think (or know) will yield faster overall system performance between SMP Opteron 240 vs SMP Athlon MP 2800+.
March 7, 2004 9:42:14 PM

Buy the Opterons and you will have the opportunity to upgrade them in the future.

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
March 7, 2004 11:50:46 PM

You're right. That's a very valid point. The motherboard I'm considering, the MSI-9130 aka K8T Master2-FAR, supports up to Opteron 248. Anybody have any experience with this board?
March 8, 2004 12:02:25 AM

<A HREF="http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=487" target="_new">Link</A>
This is a good review. But it doesn't have the 240 in it , only a 248.
I have priced a Opteron 240 SMP system for a friend and it came to 1300$ and the dual 2800MP barton system was around 1100$.

From what I have seen, (in gaming anyway) the 140 matched up against a 3ghz P4 (800fsb) equally. I wish I knew how the single CPU was against a Barton 2800MP in normal benchmarks.

I would recommend the opteron all the way.

The future posibilities (64bit, socket 940 upgrades) and scaling of the SMP opterons are too good to pass up and for that price difference there would be no hesitation for me.
March 8, 2004 1:23:05 AM

The opteron is the only choice the MPX chipset equal a KT133

i need to change useur name.
March 8, 2004 5:54:37 AM

> supports up to Opteron 248

248 is the fastest available today, so the fastest they can certify will run; but I see no reason why any socket 940 board would not accept faster future opterons as well with no more than a bios upgrade. 250's seems guaranteed, and I would be very surprised (dissapointed) if you could not even plug in a pair of 90nm opterons (>=252) in there later this year. This is a server socket after all, and AMD/Intel do not tend to change serversockets every year.

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
March 8, 2004 10:15:15 AM

I don't experience with MP-MB for A64. I know that the VIA chipset seems to be the better chipset for A64 right now. It's probably the same for MP-MB.

--
Would you buy a GPS enabled soap bar?
March 10, 2004 5:46:41 AM

The Opteron solution is obvious. Not only for all new features of 64 bit CPU's, but also for their high FSB . Also, use Windows XP 64-bit edition.
March 10, 2004 6:11:01 AM

Its not *that* obvious. The MP's run at considerable higher clockspeeds for the same cost, and some apps will therefore run considerably faster on the MP. Wether or not this applies to his applications, or even to "most" applications, i'm not willing to gamble on. I realize fully well opteron throws in 1 Mb cache, faster interconnect/fsb, OMC, SSE2 and 64 bit capabilities, but if you have a threaded app that mostly fits in the 640 kb barton cache, does not use SSE2 let alone AMD64, none of this will help a 1.4 GHz opteron outperform a 2+ GHz Athlon. For instance, i'm fairly certain some raytracing programs will run faster on the MP.

Now there is more to this equation than pure perf/$ for raytracing, so I also lean towards the opteron in general, but it aint all that obvious in the low end MP, and it depends on your app(s).

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
March 11, 2004 5:52:47 AM

I didn't say it's *that* obvious. And if you don't like it you can upgrade it later, wich goes harder fo the MP's
!