[Beowulf] X5500

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Wed Apr 1 00:17:20 PDT 2009

On Mar 31, 2009, at 8:24 PM, Bill Broadley wrote:

> Mikhail Kuzminsky wrote:
>> In message from Kilian CAVALOTTI <kilian.cavalotti.work at gmail.com>  
>> (Tue,
>> 31 Mar 2009 10:27:55 +0200):
>>> ...
>>> Any other numbers, people?
>> I beleive there is also a bit other important numbers - prices for  
>> Xeon
>> 55XX and system boards ;-)
> www.siliconmechanics.com has system pricing, I'm sure there are  
> tons of others.
>> I didn't see prices on pricegrabber, for example.
>> Is there some price information available ?
> If you want parts, newegg has some, the E5520 is $379.99.

Comeon that thing is just 2.28 Ghz.

In itself an i7 is not faster than core2 of course,
as long as it goes about the core itself (if you need just RAM  
and not too much RAM, then heh it's time to rewrite your thing to GPU  
as those deliver 10x more RAM bandwidth than i7 does).

It does scale better at 8 cores, just as good as AMD now and nearly  
as good
as itanium in scaling, but that doesn't compensate for clockspeed.

Additionally turboboost might take care that when running 8 cores  
WITH turboboost,
intel doesn't garantuee that the processor runs correctly as it should,
this where this turboboost is the thing taking care it leads testsets  
(it autooverclocks 8 cores for benchmarks,
yet somehow it doesn't manage to overclock of course what we can test  
ourselves, so there is 200+ Mhz
difference in results at least, explaining why it seems faster than  
core2 yet isn't).

I didn't see intel do an official statement yet regarding what it  
garantuees when turboboost has been
turned on.

Also note that the E5520 is 80 watt TDP and the L5520 is 60 watt TDP.

So displaying publicly the L5520, yet in reality majority of sales  
gonna be E5520
is something we saw before.

If you look on ebay for example the E5420 (2.5Ghz core2 Xeon, 80 watt  
TDP) you can get
for total peanuts. $200 is no exception.

Yet the L5420 is really expensive still and i bet very few have been  
produced of them.

I could find 1 cluster in New Zealand equipped with those L5420s, but  
i didn't really look hard.

> The S7010 tyan (dual socket nehalem server motherboard) is $389.99.
> I have to say that I'm surprised at the number of Nehalem chips  
> released
> (around 11 for dual sockets) and the pricing seems surprisingly low  
> for a new
> release.

It's too expensive for their low clockspeeds.

Considering that selling  new hardware now is not so easy, one should  
offer things cheap.

Basically if you have software that needs massive system time (so not  
some sort of stupid benchmark),
that is a lot faster at the E55xx series than at the E54xx series,  
then you should consider optimizing your
software first.

Latency to RAM is worse, bandwidth improved.

Now i'm not gonna complain about L3 cache size being 50% tinier or so  
than L2 was.
L2/L3 size just matters for spec workloads a tad, far away from  
reality in short;
As far as i know not for scientific crunching codes how as that they  
get used in reality.

So yes from architecture viewpoint the cpu is a huge improvement (on  
die L3 cache, on die memory controller,
and DDR3 memory), from a lot of other viewpoints it is hardly an  

Intels strong point always has been the clock at which they manage to  
clock their cpu to.
Last few years they have added to that the huge advantage of their  
compiler to it,
which really is supporting their CPU's well.

Yet intel still has to release a quad socket capable cpu (maybe 15  
april huh?),
AMD already has that.

AMD clocks that one at 2.7Ghz which i don't think much, yet this Xeon  
dual socket capable cpu,
some sites mention the X5570 which intel lists as 95 watt.

Listing you can see here in the processor finder: http:// 

Intel lists the E5540 which is 2.53Ghz, the L5540 doesn't exist.

Now i don't want to look like someone who complains too much, but i  
was under the impression that we had
entered the quadcore xeon production era years ago with the E54xx and  
L54xx series.

I see the i7 Nehalem as a very tiny step from intel.

What we do see is that AMD nowadays clocks higher than intel for  
production cpu's.

Intel is 2.53Ghz versus AMD 2.7Ghz.

Intels tdp for the E5540 is 80 watt
AMD's tdp for the opteron 2384 is 75 watt

The question we should ask is what's better to us, considering that  
majority of production runs
at clusters gets done with GCC compiled software.

Really, 95% at least, even at itanium hardware where the intel c++  
really is factor 2 faster in some cases,
yet of course tougher to garantuee that your code runs bugfree with.

Seen from that viewpoint i don't think it a big improvement.

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