Processor technology choice

José M. Pérez Sánchez iosephus at sgirmn.pluri.ucm.es
Sat Sep 6 10:48:31 EDT 2003


Hi people:

We are planning to install a small cluster (around 12 processors).
We mainly are going to do pattern recognition, and will run
applications using artificial neural-network and genetic algorithms.

We want to put around 6 dual processor machines running GNU/Linux with
OpenMosix, and MPI on top of it. One server with SCSI storage and the 
rest of the nodes will be diskless. 

The main design uncertainty we have is what processor technology to use.
Our choices are Intel Xeon, AMD Athlon XP/MP and Opteron. We are
particularly interested in Opteron even if we have to put a couple of
nodes less. My questions are:

- Will we have some computing power gain using Opteron with the same
  budget?
- What about long term maintenance cost, for how long will be 32 bit
  technology components generally available at normal price, now that we
  have Opteron and Itanium?
- Most vendors say it's better to buy Intel (I personally think AMD are
  equivalent and cheaper), are they just trying to sell the most
  expensive? Any known real trouble with cooling for AMDs, or just bad
  case design?
- We plan to use Debian, anyone with experience on it for 64 bit platforms.

Thanks in advance,

Jose M. Pérez.
Madrid. Spain.

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