Specific Question about Single vs. Dual Processor System

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Mon Apr 7 12:53:37 EDT 2003

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

pretty cheap!

> > Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz 533FSB 512KB
> > ASUS P4S8X 533FSB SATA GB 8X MB w/ 10/100/1000 LAN
> According to Asus this MB has an on-board 10/100 (realtek) interface
> is there a 10/100/1000 option for this board.
> Or are you adding a GigE NIC?

recent SiS chipsets also have a bit of a smell about them, Linux-wise.
Alan Cox says that SiS hasn't been cooperative in producing docs that 
permit good linux support.

I don't see anything really attractive about this board - 
most of the features are useless (agp, for instance, S/PDIF, 1394).
it doesn't seem like SATA is happening fast enough to be a good 
motive, either.

if you insist on P4's, I'd probably go with a 845PE or maybe GE.
several vendors bundle such boards with gigabit.  I have mixed info
on whether the integrated video on the GE causes problems - I expect
that if you're in text mode, it wouldn't steal enough dram bandwidth
to notice.  Intel chipsets are a bit of a conservative choice,
but sometimes that's the right move (heck, Asus is fairly conservative).

it's worth at least considering e7205 boards, since doubling the bandwidth
does definitely help many compute codes (unlike most desktop apps.)

finally, AMD remains a viable option, though mainly as a low-end approach.
for instance, an ECS K7S5a-pro is incredibly cheap, has builtin 100bT, and is
pretty snappy.  for $500 computers, saving a hundred dollars on the
motherboard, along with a hundred on the CPU can add up quickly.

> > Maxtor 20GB Ultra100 Hard Drive

are you sure you really want that?  the U100 part is not important
(since current disks peak at around 50 MB/s), but the size implies 
density, and means that the disk is ~2 generations old.  consider
getting a 30-40G disk just so you get current (60-80G/platter)

> > ATI Rage Mobility VGA Card 8MB AGP

or integrated video.

> > Linksys LNE100TX 10/100 Network Adaptor (2nd LAN channel)

a good choice 5 years ago, but I'd probaby consider something more 
interesting.  if you're planning to just treat it as a management net,
(which I don't understand the appeal of), then just go with realtek nics.
if you're going to use it for anything interesting, try to get gigabit.

> > 7 Xeon dual-processor system (total cost $8,400):
> > 
> > PC2100 256MB ECC/REG DDR x2

that's not much ram (since ram is cheap).  if you're interested in exploring
the benefits of duals and/or double-wide DDR, perhaps you should wait for 
the next generation chipsets (springdale/etc).

> > Maxtor 20GB Ultra100 Hard Drive
> > Chenbro Beige Server Case
> > NMB 460W Xeon Power Supply

350 is actually plenty for a dual 2.4.

naturally, people will be more impressed with a cluster of non-beige cases ;)

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