cluster of AOD Opteron

Mikhail Kuzminsky kus at
Mon Jul 23 12:44:16 EDT 2012

According to Stefano
> As I am going to receive some funding this fall, I was wondering of buying
> an opteron cluster for my research.
> Mainlym the cluster will run VASP (an ab-initio quantum program,
> written by a group in Wien), with myrinet.
> Is somebody who is using AMD opterons yet ?
  We tested 2-way SMP server based on RioWorks mobo. But I should
not recommend this motherboard for using: by default it has no 
monitoring (temperature etc) chips on the board, it's necessary
to buy special additional card ! Unfortunately as a result I don't
have data about lm_sensors work. Moreover, the choice of SMP
boards is very restricted now: Tyan S2880 and MSI K8D.
> ...
> I think some fortran vendor has announced the port of their F90 to
> the opteron. Well, it would be nice to recompile VASP for 64bits and see
> how fast it goes.
  There is some possibilities: pgf90, Intel ifc(32 bit only), g77-3.3 (now
really is very good, but f77 only) and Absoft. We tested 3 first compilers.
But I'm not sure that you'll receive just now essential speed-up
from 64 bit mode itself. SSE2 is supported in 32 bit mode also, but
it looks that SSE2 in Opteron is realized "more worse" than in P4
(in the sense of microarchitecture).
Yes, some compilers can now generate codes which use additional
registers from x86-64 architecture extensions, but we didn't find
essential speed-up on simple loops like DAXPY. 

> With the itanium2 (compiled in 2 version 32 and 64
> bits), it not so fast to justify the HUGE cost of an itanium cluster.
> Maybe the opteron will shake high-performace scientific computing !
  I beleive yes, but for 64-bit calculations. The price for Opteron-
based servers is high, and price/performance ratio in comparison 
w/Xeon is not clear.

Mikhail Kuzminsky
Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry
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