Specific Question about Single vs. Dual Processor System

Chih King chih-houng-king at uiowa.edu
Sun Apr 6 23:33:44 EDT 2003


Hello.  I am a member of the University of Iowa Student Supercomputing
Project (UISSP), and we are planning for the purchase of our first cluster.
Currently we are divided between a sixteen node single-processor Pentium 4
system and a seven node dual-processor Xeon system.  Here are the brief
specification of both machines:

16 Pentium 4 single-processor system (total cost $7,407):

Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz 533FSB 512KB
ASUS P4S8X 533FSB SATA GB 8X MB w/ 10/100/1000 LAN
512MB PC2700 DDR333
Maxtor 20GB Ultra100 Hard Drive
ATI Rage Mobility VGA Card 8MB AGP
CG 6039L 350W USB Midtower Case
Linksys LNE100TX 10/100 Network Adaptor (2nd LAN channel)

7 Xeon dual-processor system (total cost $8,400):

INTEL XEON 2.4GHZ 533FSB PROCESSOR x2
TYAN S2723GNN E7501 GLAN MOTHERBOARD
PC2100 256MB ECC/REG DDR x2
Maxtor 20GB Ultra100 Hard Drive
Chenbro Beige Server Case
NMB 460W Xeon Power Supply
MITSUMI 54X CD-ROM Drive

As you can see, the single-processor system is about $1,000 cheaper than the
dual-processor system.  We have a total of $9,500 in our budget (to pay for
the system, the switch, and everything else).  Taking into consideration
both performance and economical issues which system would you choose and
why?  Some more details: since Gigabit LAN is built in both motherboards we
will probably establish one Gigabit channel, and if necessary have a second
100Mbps LAN channel as well.  Therefore we will probably have to spend an
additional $500-600 on switches.  Currently we are not sure about specific
application that we will be running on the cluster, but we would like to run
a broad range of calculations/simulations (ie. biological, economical,
mathematical, etc.)  We would really appreciate any response in this matter.
Thank you very much!

Sincerely,

Chih King
UISSP


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