[Beowulf] Supplier for 8-way Opteron Systems?

Steve Brenneis sbrenneis at surry.net
Mon Aug 16 16:18:01 PDT 2004

On Mon, 2004-08-16 at 18:35, Mark Hahn wrote:
> > Can anyone recommend a vendor for 8-way Opteron servers?
> *are* there any?  I presume AMD has made such machines,
> but I certainly haven't seen anyone selling them.  this has been
> a grave disappointment to many, many potential customers,
> and it's quite puzzling that AMD hasn't managed this achievement.
> if you look at spec*rate scaling for 1,2,4-way opterons, it seems 
> like AMD's HT and per-CPU memory would provide really quite good 
> further scaling.  I'm beginning to suspect that AMD built a few,
> and found that the coherence traffic was crippling, and has gone 
> off to twiddle things.  personally, I'd hope that they add directory-
> based coherence, since that would clearly scale very nicely (see Altix!).
> if that wasn't the case, AMD's not giving much signs of trying to 
> address this - perhaps the bump to 1 GHz HT will help, but it's not much.
> worst of all, perhaps they're trusting dual-core to "solve" the problem,
> and that would be almost pitiful, since the people who are most excited
> about 8-way Opterons are exactly the ones who do not have good cache re-use.
> I mentioned AMD's extremely steep Opteron pricing scheme 
> 	http://sharcnet.mcmaster.ca/~hahn/amdprices.png
> to a significant AMD marketing person recently.  I pointed out that 4-ways
> are fairly attractive, even though they're a lot more than twice the cost of
> dual systems.  his response was that AMD wants and needs the much higher 
> margins that have traditionally applied to higher-end SMP.  he didn't seem 
> to care about the fact that markets are elastic, and AMD's current policy 
> is forcing customers to avoid 4x machines, or even go to uniprocessors,
> not to mention the complete lack of 8x machines to put 8xx processors into.
> regards, mark hahn.

We have experienced similar situations. It seems to be getting harder to
find n-way systems where n > 2 based on commodity hardware. HP has an
extremely punitive pricing scheme on their DL series lights-out server
line. 2-way systems can be had for around $6K US while 4-way systems
start at $24K.

So the best thing to do is buy more 2-ways and build a nice Beowulf!!!

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Steve Brenneis <sbrenneis at surry.net>

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