[Beowulf] recommendations for cluster upgrades

richard.walsh at comcast.net richard.walsh at comcast.net
Tue May 12 16:30:26 PDT 2009

>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Rahul Nabar" <rpnabar at gmail.com> 
>To: "Beowulf Mailing List" <beowulf at beowulf.org> 
>Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 2:19:33 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central 
>Subject: [Beowulf] recommendations for cluster upgrades 
>I'm currently shopping around for a cluster-expansion and was shopping 
>for options. Anybody out here who's bought new hardware in the  recent 
>past? Any suggestions? Any horror stories? 
>We've been using Dell SC1435's with Quad-Core AMD 2354 Opterons @ 
>2.2GHz. 16 Gig RAM. 

The Nehalem-based Xeon 5500 series of native quad-core processors 
from Intel with a 3 channel DDR3 memory controller on-chip, cc-NUMA 
capability supported by Intel's response to AMD's HT, QPI and with an 
on-chip Power Control Unit that actively manages idle and active power 
consumption is a dramatic leap forward for Intel in this space, eliminating 
most (all?) of the micro-architectural advantages that AMD since it introduced 
Opteron. This is  especially true if you have bandwidth heavy applications 
because, as has been discussed here already, Nehalem has 3 faster 
DDR3 memory channels on-chip. 

Most benchmarks  I have seen put Nehalem ahead of AMD's comparable 
Shanghai native  quad-core, although you could wait for the 6-core AMD 
Instanbul which does somewhat better than Shanghai even with its further 
strained and somewhat lagging  DDR2 memory subsystem.  Does a socket 
upgrade make since with the  boards that you already have?  This is the 
choice that AMD hopes you  will make.  Intel, on the other hand, wants to 
look at the Xeon 5500's  performance and power management, and go for 
the forklift  upgrade. 

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