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From:Mike Wexler Date:June 24 2003 8:49pm
Subject:Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?
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Michael Conlen wrote:

> 64 bit servers have different performance characteristics and tend to 
> be used for different things. than PC systems. They are generally 
> backplanes to which are attached some number of processors and some 
> amount of memory, and a lot of IO. They aren't used as much for 
> processor speed (you could get a bunch of PCs to do that) as they are 
> for doing a lot of IO. Even a small server like the old Sun e450's (4 
> processors) had something like 6 or 8 PCI busses on them. Larger 
> systems could be configured with a large number of IO cards for those 
> computers that just need a few gigabit per second of network IO and a 
> ton of disk space (multiple disk controllers, or FC controllers all 
> going full speed). 

I think you are definitely overgeneralizing here. I used DEC Alpha's 
back when they were in Alpha testing and I've also used several machines 
with the MIPs chip in them. Not all 64 bit machines are of the sort you 
describe. I've had several different 64 bit machines on my desktop.

As far as mysql is concerned, there is definitely a market for cheap 
machines with >4GB of memory in one process. My DB server currently is 
an x86 system with 4GB of memory. I guarantee that having twice as much 
RAM and having it usable by the MySQL process would be a big win. And an 
opteron system with a 64 bit processor is roughly the same price as an 
Intel system configured similiarly. Where as similar machines from 
companies like Sun, HP or IBM are definitely much more pricey.

I do understand if you want terabytes of disk and very wide I/O buses 
that costs more no matter what CPU you have. But its also true that 
given a particular requirement for CPU, I/O and memory, if an Intel 
system with relatively stock parts can handle it, it will be cheaper due 
to the economics of scale and the amount of competition in that 
marketplace.

>
>
> You would use the memory to store temp information as a query would 
> run and you rely on the systems fast access to the disks to scan 
> through the tables. You would generally attach anywhere from a few 
> hundred gigs of disk (spread out over many smaller disks) up to many 
> terabytes (it's been a while since I've done large system admin work, 
> so I have no idea what the largest systems are doing, but imagine 72" 
> cabinets full of 72 GB or larger disks). This way instead of getting 
> speed from caching the data you get speed by reading the data off the 
> disks quickly.
>
> 64 bit workstations had an advantage over PC systems most of the time 
> in that the memory bus was not the bottleneck it can be on the PC 
> avoiding delays due to cache misses, which made them great for 
> visualization workstations where the system had to scan through a lot 
> of memory quickly to generate an image or process scientific data.
>
> There's a lot of other things going back to the fact that Digital, HP 
> Sun and IBM have always had a head start on superscalar and multi-core 
> CPU designs, so comparing Mz was never even close between two 
> processors. On the other hand many people never saw that advantage 
> because they would compile with gcc which was never the best choice 
> for pure speed on a given processor.
>
> If you need a 64 bit processor for memory and file size concerns and 
> can sacrifice some of the processing speed (which often goes away 
> because of the faster IO) there's always been a good used market, in 
> particular for Sun equipment. I've seen some dirt cheap prices on 
> fully loaded Sun E450 systems which are very nice for their size. I 
> think they hold 20 disks internally and there's PCI slots for a lot 
> more if you need large files.
>
> On the other hand I think "need 64 bit" and "affordable" are rare 
> situations.
>
> -- 
> Michael Conlen
>
> Mike Wexler wrote:
>
>> Not necessarily. People that need relatively affordable 64 bit 
>> systems may be waiting for the Opteron to stabilize. My experience is 
>> the Wintel solutions (like Opteron) tend to have at least a 2-1 price 
>> performance over Sun and Dec. Also, given that HP has basically 
>> dropped Alpha, I don't think a lot of people are likely to be 
>> implementing that platform.
>>
>>
>> Dan Nelson wrote:
>>
>>> In the last episode (Jun 24), David Griffiths said:
>>>  
>>>
>>>> I'm surprised there is not more interest in this; is it that not many
>>>> work with large-ish (10+ gig) databases that need high-end
>>>> performance?
>>>>   
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I think we have a mysql database running on Tru64, and I'm sure it runs
>>> great on Solaris.  My guess is the people that needed over 2gb of RAM
>>> have switched to 64-bit CPUs long ago.
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
>
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  • Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?David Griffiths24 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Dan Nelson24 Jun
      • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Mike Wexler24 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Mark Matthews24 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Curtis Maurand24 Jun
      • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Jeremy Zawodny24 Jun
        • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Curtis Maurand26 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Lenz Grimmer25 Jun
      • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Per Andreas Buer30 Jun
  • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?David Griffiths24 Jun
  • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Michael Conlen24 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Gabriel Guzman24 Jun
      • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Jeremy Zawodny24 Jun
    • Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?Mike Wexler24 Jun
RE: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?David Brodbeck25 Jun
Re: Anyone had a chance to try an Opteron yet?KEITH COMER26 Jun