[Beowulf] AMD 6100 vs Intel 5600

Bill Broadley bill at cse.ucdavis.edu
Wed Mar 31 16:51:18 EDT 2010


On 03/31/2010 10:37 AM, Kilian CAVALOTTI wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 5:27 PM, Orion Poplawski <orion at cora.nwra.com> wrote:
>> Looks like it's time to start evaluating the AMD 6100 (magny-cours)
>> offerings versus the Intel 5600 (Nehalem-EX?) offerings.  Any suggestions
>> for resources?
> 
> Just for the sake of precision, Intel 5600 series was codenamed
> Westmere (dual-socket, 32nm, 6-cores, 3 memory channels). Intel 7500
> series was codenamed Beckton, aka Nehalem-EX (quad-socket and beyond,
> 45nm, 8-cores, 4 memory-channels).
> 
> I would say that the 2x6-cores Magny-Cours probably has to be compared
> to Nehalem-EX.

Why?  Various vendors try various strategies to differentiate products based
on features.  For the most part HPC types care about performance per $,
performance per watt, and reliability.  I'd be pretty surprised to see large
HPC cluster built out of Nehalem-EX chips.  Sure, large NUMA machines from
SGI, or HA clusters for running oracle and related business critical applications.

The best price/perf from intel looks to be the 5600, and the best from AMD is
the Magny-Cours.

Granted these are from AMD but:
http://www.amd.com/us/products/server/benchmarks/Pages/memory-bandwidth-stream-two-socket-servers.aspx

http://www.amd.com/us/products/server/processors/six-core-opteron/Pages/SPECfp-rate2006-two-socket-servers.aspx
http://www.amd.com/us/products/server/processors/six-core-opteron/Pages/SPECint-rate-2006-two-socket-servers.aspx

Of course this is all hand waving without system prices though.  I have to say
I've been pleasantly surprised.  At a Supermicro reseller I configured 2
reasonable compute nodes for a particular application and came up with:

1U dual Opteron 6128 (8 corex2.0 GHz), 32GB DDR3-1333, 2x1TB, IPMI 2.0 = $3802
1U dual Xeon X5650   (6 corex2.6 GHz), 24GB DDR3-1333, 2x1TB, IPMI 2.0 = $4639

Granted IPC isn't the same, but I was amused to see AMD offering 16 2.0 GHz
cores = 32 GHz, and the Intel config had 12 2.6 GHz cores = 31.2 GHz.

I've yet to get an account on the new AMD chips to measure our actual
application performance, but I have to say AMD looks pretty good at the
moment.   I figured maybe the 6 core intel is priced artificially high so I
tried a 4 core:
1U Xeon 5620    (4 core x 2.4 GHz), 24GB DDR3-1333, 2x1TB, IPMI 2.0 = $3293

So $3,293 for the cheaper Intel, or pay $509 to upgrade to the AMD and get
another 8GB ram and double the cores.  Granted they are at 2.0 GHz instead of 2.4.

Seems like AMDs offering more memory memory bandwidth and specFP rate per
dollar.  Certainly enough to have me looking for an account to measure
performance on our codes.
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