Athlon vs Pentium III

Eric Hoyt Eric.Hoyt at
Fri Feb 16 15:04:10 PST 2001


I'm in the initial phase of putting together a 24 node cluster.  The
specifics of what it will be used for aren't fully developed (ie what
applications will be run), but its main purpose will be optical
simulations.  One issue I am faced with is the choice in CPU.  I know the
response to "What hardware should I choose?" is always application
specific, so I'm just looking for general pointers and any issues people
may have encountered that they would be willing to share.

Anyway, here is what it has been narrowed down to: I can put together a
cluster of 24 Thunderbird 850s, or 12 dual PIIIs at 1GHz (24 total
CPUs) for around the same amount.  Both setups have 256MB of memory per
CPU.  What do you consider when making a decision like this? What
scenarios favor Athlons, and what scenarios favor PIIIs?  Also, I have
heard advice to go with classic Athlons instead of Thunderbirds, due to
512k off die vs 256k on die cache issues.  Again, what would make you lean
one way or the other?

Again, I know that the ultimate decision will depend on what we'll be
running, but any general tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Eric Hoyt

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