[Beowulf] Register article on Opteron - disagree

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Sun Nov 21 21:57:35 PST 2004

Hi John:

  Opteron is a newcomer to the stage.  A stable OS for it has been 
available for a relatively short period of time (SuSE, and very late 
model RHEL, though it does not shine until you get a 2.6 kernel on 
there, so RHEL is out of serious contention until RHEL 4).  SuSE with a 
reasonable kernel has only been available for a few months.

  EM64t uses the same northbridge/southbridge design as the Xeon.  This 
means that multiprocessors are going to be not very good in SMP 
performance, just like the Xeon's (and I am sure some folks will 
disagree, but I am thinking of memory bandwidth hungry apps).  The 
chipset is the bottleneck.

  Compare that to the Opteron.  SC'04 was chock full of folks showing 
off 4 and 8 way Opteron's.  There were other things there not on the 
show floor that were *very* interesting. 

  I am not sure what impact Nocona will have.  I reserve judgement until 
I get to see one/play with one, and see its future path.  Lots of 
interesting conversations were had at SC.  The quote from Mark Twain may 
be apt.  If a Nocona follow-on follows the design of the Opteron (IOMMU 
and HT, among other things), then things could get quite interesting.


john.hearns at clustervision.com wrote:

>I spotted this article on The Register.
>As someone who has installed Opteron clusters, including what I believe was the
>first in the UK (used for computational chemistry, and going strong),
>I disagree with this article.
>Opteron are alive and kicking.
>What's more the article confuses 'supercomputer' with '(super)computer in
>the Top 500'
>and also makes no mention of EMT64/Nocona. The artcle says Xeon/Itanium,
>then goes on to talk about 32 bit Xeon.
>The fact that there are fewer Opteron based systems in the Top 500 is
>irrefutable (I didn't know this) but it makes me uneasy to extrapolate
>this to the impending death of a CPU.
>I DO agree (and let's have some debate here) that Nocona is bound to make
>big inroads.
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Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com

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