ServerWorks chipset

J. G. LaBounty jgl at unix.shell.com
Thu Sep 21 08:21:05 EDT 2000


We have both the Tyan Thunder 2500 (S1867DUAN) and the SuperMicro
370DLE in house for testing. We are trying to decide which
board to use for a new cluster we are building. 

For the tests, we are using RedHat 6.2. and 6.1. The first
board we tried was the SuperMicro 370DLE. It installs without a
problem. Our benchmarks showed we were not getting the performance
increased we expected. The original benchmark was run on an ASUS
P2B-D with 600Mhz Pentium III processors. On the SuperMicro, we were
using an 800Mhz processor and expected to see an increase of 33%. We
only achieved a 20% increase in the performance. I did run cpu-rate from
Robert Brown and it showed a 33% gain for the default test.  

On the Tyan, we ran into problems. The default 2.2.14 kernel installs
ok but when we move up to the 2.2.16 kernel ( as we did on Supermicro ),
the system hangs on reboot, and you can't boot back to the 2.2.14
default system. So far we have not resolved this problem. It appears
to be related to lilo because reboots work till you run lilo after
upgrading the kernel.

We fell back to RedHat 6.1 and system works ok with the motherboard,
including loading a kernel built for this configuration. The
benchmarks for this motherboard gave us the performance increase
we were expecting about 33%. We really do like this board because of
the 8 dimm slots. So far, we have only tested to 1gb memory but plan to
get more next week. With two onboard SCSI, which we don't want, 
and a builtin ethernet makes this board's biggest drawback the cost.

We also tested a Microstar 694D based on the VIA chipset. The
install for this board went ok for 6.2 but on the first reboot we took
an oops. We were able to boot the single processor image and then
build a SMP version for 2.2.16. The performance gain for this mother
board was only 15%  for our benchmarks. 

If our budget can stand it, we will proably select the Tyan board
because of the performance and the 8 dimm slots.

John LaBounty


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