I am building a new computer, and i am wondering the pros/cons of multiprocessor based computers. The computer is meant for extreme gaming. The motherboard i was looking at is the Thunder K8W paired with 8Gb of ram and 2 Opteron 250's along-side an ATI FireGL 9800 256mb. The question posed to me (given by the person i am building this for) "will this computer support gaming with multiple processors?" This computer is no cheap one, so valuable feedback will be much appreciated.
If you are doing extreme gaming dont get a FireGL card, that is for rendering not gaming. Get a Radeon X800XT or a geforce 6800 Ultra.
8GB of ram is a little excessive and might hinder gaming performance a tad. That is unless you plan on installing the games to ram, lol. Just put in 2gb, 1gb per proc would probably be optimum.
I have no doubt that machine would make a nice gaming rig but having 2 procs will only benifit you if 1) you do lots of multi tasking or 2) if the software supports multiple procs. Most games out right now do not have multi cpu support. That doesn't mean they won't run, that just means the won't utilize both procs. I think newer/future games will probably have multi cpu support so if you have the bucks you might as well get a 2 proc system.
8GB of ram is overkill, 4 x 512MB should do the trick and can be upgraded down the road. Get a 9800XT and use <A HREF="http://www.nvworld.ru/index_e.shtml" target="_new">Rivatuner</A> to turn that 9800 into a FireGL at the driver level, also works wonder to overclock the GPU and mem.
With two different hardware profiles, the person you are building the computer for will be able to switch between a CAD setup with the FireGL drivers and a gaming profile with the standard Catalyst.
Mobile Barton 2500+ @ 2.5GHz (217MHz x 11.5)
Abit NF7-S V2.0
2x 512MB of Samsung TCC4
Sapphire Radeon 9700 128MB @ 360/310
2x Maxtor 40GB 7200RPM RAID-0
The biggest drawback to multiproc systems, other than price, is overclocking. You can't achieve much, if at all in some cases.
Games will run great on a 250, just understand that you will in the vast majority of cases, not realize a benefit from having the second processor, other than reduced multi-tasking hiccups.
If, by chance, you are considering running Linux on this system, forget ATI completely. As much as I like their hardware, and I do, they simply don't seem to give a rats ass about decent Linux drivers. Nvidia, OTOH, has proven consistantly to care about Linux, and is the only real choice for a system that someone wants to run Linux on with good performance.
I have a dual Opteron 248 myself, absolutely love it. Only have Linux on it. I have 4gb of RAM, but honestly, 2gb would probably be sufficient for me the majority of the time. I rarely use more than that. Although when I do, I'm glad I have it. Good luck.