Summary Opteron vs Nocona



 Dear all,
 this is the collection of all the very useful responses I got.
 making a long story short, it seems that opterons are much more balanced than
 noconas, and that they are the clear winner when memory bandwith (or memory in
 general)
 is of relevance.  Noconas seems to be better when you only need floating point
 speed.
 However, there's one point about opterons. AMD just announced dual-core cpus,
 which should perform far better than the single-core shipped now.
 I contacted resellers here in italy, and they say that dual-core cpus will be
 shipped after the summer. If you buy opetrons now they can sell you single-core.
 Is this true ? Any out of there has been able to buy AMD with dual-core cpus as
 the 275 ?
 By,
 Luigi
 Hi,
 we are going to invest some money for a few computers, and we have to
 make a decision between the AMD-Opterons and the Intel-Nocona. What's
 better ? We are experienced with the Opterons, but we have no idea about
 the Noconas...
 Major codes to run on them will be classical QM packages as ADF, G03, TM,
 some AIMD as CPMD, and possibly some classical MD as gromacs.
 Thanks,
 Luigi
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 ===========================================================================
 > From diep _(a)_ xs4all.nl Tue May 17 00:04:20 2005
 Date: Sat, 07 May 2005 22:59:39 +0200
 From: Vincent Diepeveen <diep _(a)_ xs4all.nl>
 To: Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>
 Cc: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
 Subject: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd fromcavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it)
 hi Eugen,
 Nocona has 4 cycle L1 cache  ^at^  1 slot and compares well to prescott core.
 Very ugly bad for most software. Its IPC for
 all my software is lower than the old Xeons.
 benchmark of latest prescott dual core P4 versus dual core opterons:
   http://www.sudhian.com/showdocs.cfm?aid=667&pid=2543
 Please note Nocona is not dual core yet. Opteron is dual core.
 So practical opteron like 3 to 4 times faster for most software. If
 software in question uses SSE2, then just hack the code a bit, so that SSE2
 works, that
 usually speeds up incredible for Opteron, especially latest generations.
 The few benchmarks where Nocona is faster than Opteron, without exception
 they use software where the SSE2 has been enabled for Nocona and disabled
 for opteron. Way to compare.
 Real amateuristic compares.
 You'll have to wait until Q1 2007 before there is a good new Xeon processor
 i guess.
 www.pricewatch.com for prices in shops of the different cpu's. Very cheap
 to buy in USA usually, even when living in europe. At most 20% import tax.
 Vincent
 ===========================================================================
 > From stuart.midgley _(a)_ anu.edu.au Tue May 17 00:04:31 2005
 Date: Sun, 08 May 2005 13:02:36 +1000
 From: Stuart Midgley <stuart.midgley _(a)_ anu.edu.au>
 To: Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>
 Cc: Beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org, Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_
 chemistry.unina.it>
 Subject: Re: [Beowulf] CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd from
     cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it)
 Morning
 It highly depends on your code and whether you are going to run more
 than a single cpu in a box.  If you are only going to purchase single
 cpu boxes, I think they are more or less the same.
 If, however, you are going to run more than a single cpu box, I think
 it is fair to say, that the Opterons should give better performance.
 Just look at the spec rate fp base and you will see that a dual
 processor opteron system out perform the Nocona systems by a long way.
 Each opteron chip has its own memory controller.  So, if you have 2
 cpu's, you have 2 memory controllers and your memory bandwidth scales
 linearly.  Nocona chips sit on a bus with a single memory
 controller.  If you have 2 cpu's you still only have 1 memory
 controller, so each chip, on average, sees only 1/2 the memory
 bandwidth.
 The other issue is memory latency.  Because the Opterons have the
 memory controller on the actual cpu chip, their latency to memory is
 very very low, which gives an effective increase in memory
 bandwidth.  The Nocona chips have the memory controller off chip, so
 their latency is high, reducing effective memory bandwidth.
 There are other minor difference, but the memory sub-system is the
 one that gives the biggest performance difference.
 Stu.
 ==================================================================================
 > From chinet.pesch _(a)_ attglobal.net Tue May 17 00:04:41 2005
 Date: Sun, 08 May 2005 07:32:30 -0400
 From: "chinet.pesch _(a)_ attglobal.net" <chinet.pesch _(a)_
 attglobal.net>
 To: eugen _(a)_ leitl.org, beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org
 Subject: RE: [Beowulf] CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd
     fromcavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it)
 Resent-Date: Sun, 08 May 2005 15:31:06 +0200
 Resent-From: eugen _(a)_ leitl.org
 Resent-To: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
     [ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
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 ...to make a  long story short: go for the opteron
 Paul
 Original Message:
 -----------------
 From: Eugen Leitl eugen _(a)_ leitl.org
 Date: Sat, 7 May 2005 19:23:01 +0200
 To: Beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org
 Subject: [Beowulf] CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd
 fromcavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it)
 ==================================================================================
 > From wharman _(a)_ prism.net Tue May 17 00:04:54 2005
 Date: Sun, 08 May 2005 13:16:29 -0600
 From: William Harman <wharman _(a)_ prism.net>
 To: 'Luigi Cavallo' <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Subject: RE: Opteron or Nocona ?
 Luigi
 Have you considered PowerPC processors form Apple or IBM?  Check out
 www.terrasoftsolutions.com
 Bill Harman,
 Salt Lake City office
 P - (801) 572-9252  F - (801) 571-4927
 wharman _(a)_ prism.net
 billharman _(a)_ comcast.net
 skype: harman8015729252
 ==================================================================================
 > From m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl Tue May 17 00:05:01 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 09:38:06 +0200
 From: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>
 To: Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: Re: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
     [ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
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 Dear Luigi Cavallo,
 we have recently purchased and setup a new Beowulf cluster here in Leiden,
 dedicated to run ADF and other DFT codes (Dacapo and Vasp) on it. We have
 found the Nocona's, in combination with the Intel compilers, to be the best
 combination especially for ADF and ADF-BAND.
 Before we decided to go for the Nocona's, we did try with two test machines,
 one being a dual-cpu AMD Opteron 246 (2.0 GHz) and the other being a dual-cpu
 Nocona (3.0 GHz). Tests showed that the AMD has, in general, a slightly
 better cache hierarchy and a better memory scalability, but also that the
 lack of compilers able to tune for the Opterons is severe. Of course we took
 the differences in cpu clocks into account.
 As it turns out, after having contacted the SCM people in Amsterdam, ADF can
 effectively use the SSE3 registers and cpu intruction set and that makes it
 run fast on the Nocona's. This, together with the prices being roughly the
 same, made us decide to go for the Nocona's.
 BTW, maybe this is known to you already, but Intel offers you their OpenMP
 capable compilers for free for academic use.
 The machine is up and running now in 64 bit mode and doing fine ;-).
 Maybe the information can help you in your decision.
 Best regards,
 Mark Somers.
 Dr. M. F. Somers
 Theoretical Chemistry - Leiden Institute of Chemistry  - Leiden University
 Einsteinweg 55, P.B. 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
 tel: +31715274437
 mail: m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl
 web:  http://rulgla.leidenuniv.nl/Researchers/Somers.htm
 room: HB322
 ==================================================================================
 > From m.swart _(a)_ few.vu.nl Tue May 17 00:05:09 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 09:55:13 +0200
 From: Marcel Swart <m.swart _(a)_ few.vu.nl>
 To: Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Subject: Re: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
     [ The following text is in the "WINDOWS-1252" character set. ]
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 Dear Luigi,
 probably someone at SCM would be willing to give you some data on how ADF
 performs on both machines; all I remember from the bits and bats I've been
 told over the past months, is that the Nocona seems to be doing very well
 for ADF.
 dr. Marcel Swart
 Theoretische Chemie
 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
 Faculteit der Exacte Wetenschappen
 De Boelelaan 1083
 1081 HV Amsterdam
 The Netherlands
 Tel		+31-(0)20-5987619
 Fax		+31-(0)20-5987629
 E-mail	m.swart _(a)_ few.vu.nl
 Web		http://www.few.vu.nl/~swart
 ^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V^V
 ==================================================================================
 > From m.vanleeuwen _(a)_ clustervision.com Tue May 17 00:05:15 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 09:59:12 +0200
 From: Matthijs van Leeuwen <m.vanleeuwen _(a)_ clustervision.com>
 To: 'Gert Kruger' <KRUGER _(a)_ ukzn.ac.za>
 Cc: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
 Subject: RE: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
 Dear Gert & Mr Cavallo,
 Both the Intel Xeon EM64T (code-name "Nocona") and the AMD Opteron
 processor are fine for number
 crunching. The Nocona is slightly better at pure number crunching when memory
 bandwidth is not so
 important. When memory performance is important, the Opteron is the superior CPU
 because it has a
 superior memory bus.
 Both CPUs can be clocked down by the BIOS if they overheat, but this should not
 be possible when
 they run in a properly cooled room, even when running at maximum load for a long
 time.
 This recent press release lists some of our installations in 2004:
 http://www.clustervision.com/pr_2004_uk.html
 These include both Intel Nocona and AMD Opteron CPUs and all these installations
 are built do run
 all the time and at maximum load.
 ClusterVision is a hardware-independent cluster solution expert. We have no
 preference for AMD or
 Intel CPUs and always try to supply the CPU which is best for your applications.
 The servers we use
 are usually from Supermicro or Tyan, but we can also use other brands.
 Hope this is helpful. Don't hesitate to contact me for further questions.
 Kind regards,
 Matthijs
 __________________________________________________
 Dr ir Matthijs van Leeuwen
 ClusterVision
 Tel NL: +31 23 5677510 / Tel UK: +44 870 080 1980
 Mob NL: +31 6 41941992 / Mob UK: +44 7966 012215
 Fax NL: +31 23 5677519 / Fax UK: +44 870 132 4332
 Email: m.vanleeuwen _(a)_ clustervision.com
 Web: http://www.clustervision.com
 ==================================================================================
 > From alex.brown _(a)_ ualberta.ca Tue May 17 00:05:20 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 12:01:16 -0600
 From: Alex Brown <alex.brown _(a)_ ualberta.ca>
 To: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net, Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_
 chemistry.unina.it>
 Subject: Re: Intel compilers: was Opteron or Nocona ?
 Dear Mark, Luigi, and others,
 BTW, maybe this is known to you already, but Intel offers you their OpenMP
 capable compilers for free for academic use.
 I have seen this stated several times on the list. While I believe that this
 used to be the case, Intel has clarified their position on academic use of their
 non-commercial compilers. As taken from their FAQ page (http://www.intel.com/software/products/noncom/faq.htm)
 Q. I am engaged in academic research. Can I use the non-commercial product?
  A. If you, as an individual, are receiving any form of compensation for the
 research project (i.e., you receive a salary, or funding, etc.), you do not
 qualify for a non-commercial use license. However, you may qualify for the
 academic license (Click to academic page)
 Note that I do not have any affiliation with Intel nor does it bother me what
 individuals choose to do with their copies of the non-commercial compilers.
 However, I wanted to clear up what I think is a common misconception about their
 compilers.
 Cheers,
 Alex
 Alex Brown
 Assistant Professor
 Department of Chemistry
 University of Alberta
 Edmonton, AB
 T6G 2G2
 http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~abrown/
 ==================================================================================
 > From mwill _(a)_ penguincomputing.com Tue May 17 00:05:25 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 13:49:09 -0700
 From: Michael Will <mwill _(a)_ penguincomputing.com>
 To: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
 Subject: compilers for em64t vs. opteron
     [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
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 There are actually quite good compilers optimizing for the opteron
 out there. One from PGI and one from pathscale, both are commercial
 compilers for c++ and fortran90.
 We expect the opterons to outperform the em64t xeons across the board,
 but offer both to our customers.
 Michael
 --
 Michael Will
 Penguin Computing Corp.
 Sales Engineer
 415-954-2887
 415-954-2899 fx
 mwill _(a)_ penguincomputing.com
 Visit us at the following Linux Shows!
 Bio-IT World Conference and Expo '05
 Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA
 May 17th-19th, 2005
 Booth 201
 ==================================================================================
 > From alex.brown _(a)_ ualberta.ca Tue May 17 00:05:29 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 12:01:16 -0600
 From: Alex Brown <alex.brown _(a)_ ualberta.ca>
 To: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net, Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_
 chemistry.unina.it>
 Subject: CCL:Intel compilers: was Opteron or Nocona ?
 Dear Mark, Luigi, and others,
 BTW, maybe this is known to you already, but Intel offers you their OpenMP
 capable compilers for free for academic use.
 I have seen this stated several times on the list. While I believe that this
 used to be the case, Intel has clarified their position on academic use of their
 non-commercial compilers. As taken from their FAQ page (http://www.intel.com/software/products/noncom/faq.htm)
 Q. I am engaged in academic research. Can I use the non-commercial product?
  A. If you, as an individual, are receiving any form of compensation for the
 research project (i.e., you receive a salary, or funding, etc.), you do not
 qualify for a non-commercial use license. However, you may qualify for the
 academic license (Click to academic page)
 Note that I do not have any affiliation with Intel nor does it bother me what
 individuals choose to do with their copies of the non-commercial compilers.
 However, I wanted to clear up what I think is a common misconception about their
 compilers.
 Cheers,
 Alex
 Alex Brown
 Assistant Professor
 Department of Chemistry
 University of Alberta
 Edmonton, AB
 T6G 2G2
 http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~abrown/
 =======================================================================================
 > From konstantin_kudin _(a)_ yahoo.com Tue May 17 00:05:32 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 19:01:04 -0700 (PDT)
 From: Konstantin Kudin <konstantin_kudin _(a)_ yahoo.com>
 To: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>,
      Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: Re: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
  Actually, highly optimizing compilers for Opteron do exist (such as
 Pathscale). Even Intel Fortran 8.1 (either 32 or 64 bits) produces
 decent code for Opteron since Opteron is not as fragile as Pentium 4 in
 terms of which code it likes and which it does not.
  There is  one specific situation where Nocona could come as a clear
 winner, but such cases are not too common. Basically, codes that run
 BLAS routines such as DGEMM for the majority of their runtime gain a
 lot on Nocona when the correct libraries are used. This is because both
 Opteron and Nocona run BLAS proportionally to the clock speed, so the
 much higher clocked Nocona wins (~3 vs ~2 Ghz). On the other hand,
 multi-processor Noconas can choke because of limited memory bandwidth,
 whereas Opterons under such circumstances do just fine.
  Last, here are some last year's Gaussian03 benchmarks, where both
 Opterons and Noconas were comparable:
 http://www.princeton.edu/~kkudin/g03_b5_tests_1.txt
  YMMV ...
  Kostya
 =======================================================================================
 > From reuti _(a)_ staff.uni-marburg.de Tue May 17 00:05:36 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 23:11:44 +0200
 From: Reuti <reuti _(a)_ staff.uni-marburg.de>
 To: Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>
 Cc: Beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org
 Subject: Re: [Beowulf] CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd from
     m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl)
 Resent-Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 10:29:10 +0200
 Resent-From: eugen _(a)_ leitl.org
 Resent-To: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
     [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
     [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set.  ]
     [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]
 Hi,
 Quoting Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>:
 > ----- Forwarded message from mark somers <m.somers _(a)_
 chem.leidenuniv.nl>
 > -----
 <snip>
 > BTW, maybe this is known to you already, but Intel offers you their OpenMP
 > capable compilers for free for academic use.
 I understand the license terms of Intel a little bit different: a student may
 use the compilers for his/her homework for free and also OpenSource
 programmers. But as soon as the person using the compiler or the compiled
 binary get any payment for their work, you have to buy (an academic) license.
 Maybe the license terms changed again, but can please anyone clarify.
 =======================================================================================TIA
 - Reuti
 > From Christian.Boehme _(a)_ gwdg.de Tue May 17 00:05:44 2005
 Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 11:41:46 +0200
 From: Christian Boehme <Christian.Boehme _(a)_ gwdg.de>
 To: Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: Re: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
     [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
     [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set.  ]
     [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]
 Dear Luigi,
 We recently purchased a 32 dual-processor Opteron (2GHz) cluster. We
 used CPMD and several artificial benchmarks on Opteron and Xeon (3GHz)
 machines to come to this decision. With CPMD we found that the advantage
 of the Opteron over the Xeon was very significant for 32-bit memory
 intensive applications running on both processors of a dual processor
 box (Intel compiler on both architectures). When using just one
 processor, the Xeon scored much better. As Intel has not changed the
 memory interface of the Nocona, I do not think this trend would be
 different for 64-bit applications. Regarding Fortran compilers, from our
 experience both the Intel and the Portland can now be used to make
 production quality 64-bit binaries for the Opterons. Best wishes
 Christian
 --
 Dr. Christian Boehme
 GWDG                            Private:
 Am Fassberg                     Wilhelm-Raabe-Str. 15
 37077 Gvttingen                 37083 Gvttingen
 email: Christian.Boehme _(a)_ gwdg.de ChristianBoehme _(a)_ web.de
 phone: +49 (0)551 201-1839      +49 (0)551 3077000
 fax:   +49 (0)551 201-2150      +49 (0)551 3077077
 =======================================================================================
 > From maurice _(a)_ harddata.com Tue May 17 00:05:48 2005
 Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 01:44:32 -0600
 From: Maurice Hilarius <maurice _(a)_ harddata.com>
 To: beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org
 Subject: [Beowulf] Re: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
 Resent-Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 18:00:15 +0200
 Resent-From: eugen _(a)_ leitl.org
 Resent-To: cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it
     [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
     [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set.  ]
     [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]
 >
 >From: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>
 >Date: Mon, 9 May 2005 09:38:06 +0200
 >To: Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 >Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 >Subject: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
 >
 >Dear Luigi Cavallo,
 >
 >we have recently purchased and setup a new Beowulf cluster here in Leiden,
 >dedicated to run ADF and other DFT codes (Dacapo and Vasp) on it. We have
 >found the Nocona's, in combination with the Intel compilers, to be the best
 >combination especially for ADF and ADF-BAND.
 >
 >Before we decided to go for the Nocona's, we did try with two test machines,
 >one being a dual-cpu AMD Opteron 246 (2.0 GHz) and the other being a
 dual-cpu
 >Nocona (3.0 GHz). Tests showed that the AMD has, in general, a slightly
 >better cache hierarchy and a better memory scalability, but also that the
 >lack of compilers able to tune for the Opterons is severe. Of course we took
 >the differences in cpu clocks into account.
 >
 >
 >
 LACK OF COMPILERS IS SEVERE?
 You apparently did next to no research on the subject.
 A simple Google search on the terms:  "Opteron compiler" provides a
 wealth of information.
 GCC, Intel, Absoft, and especially Pathscale compilers are excellent for
 Opteron.
 New Revision E and dual core Opterons have SSE3.
 As for your comment about "taking the differences in CPU clocks into
 account" I am quite puzzled.
 Even Intel is now pushing "performance ratings".
 In current CPUs a comparison based on clock speed is nearly meaningless.
 >As it turns out, after having contacted the SCM people in Amsterdam, ADF can
 >effectively use the SSE3 registers and cpu intruction set and that makes it
 >run fast on the Nocona's. This, together with the prices being roughly the
 >same, made us decide to go for the Nocona's.
 >
 >BTW, maybe this is known to you already, but Intel offers you their OpenMP
 >capable compilers for free for academic use.
 >
 >
 No, they do not!
 They are only "free" for essentially hobbyist use.
 If you use them in a university or research cluster that violates the
 license.
 I think you had a nice relationship with the Intel reseller, and "drank
 the Kool-Aid" he gave you.
 Sorry to be harsh, but the statements you make above are so one-sided
 and uninformed, I had to speak out.
 For HPC the numbers are so overwhelmingly in favour of Opteron as to be
 virtually insurmountable.
 Before I get flamed, yes, I agree there are some codes that are better
 suited to the Intel CPUs.
 Just not the vast majority.
 Further, now that dual core Opterons are shipping, the whole game just
 got reset.
 Any advice you can give based on a purchasing decision made even 3
 months ago is now so obsolete as to be virtually irrelevant.
 Here is a recent and fairly comprehensive comparison on the AMD versus
 the Intel single and dual core CPUs performance.
 http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q2/athlon64-x2/index.x?pg=1
 The power consumption and heat production is especially telling.
 Add to that the fact that with dual cores the whole architecture just
 changed drastically and I think you will see that we now start over with
 "new rules".
 With our best regards,
 Maurice W. Hilarius
 Hard Data Ltd
 email: maurice _(a)_ harddata.com
 http://www.harddata.com/
 ====================================================================================
 > From eugen _(a)_ leitl.org Tue May 17 00:05:55 2005
 Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 13:02:46 +0200
 From: Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>
 To: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: CCL:[Beowulf] Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd from
     m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl) (fwd from lindahl _(a)_ pathscale.com)
 ----- Forwarded message from Greg Lindahl <lindahl _(a)_ pathscale.com>
 -----
 From: Greg Lindahl <lindahl _(a)_ pathscale.com>
 Date: Tue, 10 May 2005 00:03:11 -0700
 To: Beowulf _(a)_ beowulf.org
 Cc:
 Subject: Re: [Beowulf] CCL:Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd from
 	m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl)
 User-Agent: Mutt/1.4.1i
 On Mon, May 09, 2005 at 08:05:28PM -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:
 > I would very much like to see a good comparison of Intel compilers
 > versus the alternatives.  I know good things about Pathscale, for instance,
 > and gcc 4.0 and 4.1 seem pretty impressive.
 In addition to the usual benchmarks like SPECfp and Polyhedron, there
 is a computational chemistry comparison done by Daresbury Labs in the
 UK.  Opteron+PathScale does quite well.
 http://www.polyhedron.co.uk/compare/linux/f77bench_AMD.html
 http://www.polyhedron.co.uk/compare/linux/f90bench_AMD.html
 http://www.cse.clrc.ac.uk/disco/index.shtml, especially
 http://www.cse.clrc.ac.uk/disco/Benchmarks/IntelProj.Serial.update1.pdf
 We're looking forward to Daresbury testing with our newest compilers,
 as we've made some substantial performance improvements since the
 version they used (1.2).
 -- greg
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 > From konstantin_kudin _(a)_ yahoo.com Tue May 17 00:06:00 2005
 Date: Mon, 09 May 2005 19:01:04 -0700 (PDT)
 From: Konstantin Kudin <konstantin_kudin _(a)_ yahoo.com>
 To: mark somers <m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl>,
      Luigi Cavallo <cavallo _(a)_ chemistry.unina.it>
 Cc: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
  Actually, highly optimizing compilers for Opteron do exist (such as
 Pathscale). Even Intel Fortran 8.1 (either 32 or 64 bits) produces
 decent code for Opteron since Opteron is not as fragile as Pentium 4 in
 terms of which code it likes and which it does not.
  There is  one specific situation where Nocona could come as a clear
 winner, but such cases are not too common. Basically, codes that run
 BLAS routines such as DGEMM for the majority of their runtime gain a
 lot on Nocona when the correct libraries are used. This is because both
 Opteron and Nocona run BLAS proportionally to the clock speed, so the
 much higher clocked Nocona wins (~3 vs ~2 Ghz). On the other hand,
 multi-processor Noconas can choke because of limited memory bandwidth,
 whereas Opterons under such circumstances do just fine.
  Last, here are some last year's Gaussian03 benchmarks, where both
 Opterons and Noconas were comparable:
 http://www.princeton.edu/~kkudin/g03_b5_tests_1.txt
  YMMV ...
  Kostya
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 > From gustavo.seabra _(a)_ gmail.com Tue May 17 00:06:07 2005
 Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 14:31:06 -0500
 From: Gustavo Seabra <gustavo.seabra _(a)_ gmail.com>
 To: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: CCL:Opteron or Nocona ?
     [ The following text is in the "ISO-8859-1" character set. ]
     [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set.  ]
     [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]
 Notice that AMD has recently launched the Dual Core Opteron
 processors. There you can basically get the equivalent of twice as
 much processors, for about the same price. Check:
 http://www.infoworld.com/infoworld/article/05/04/21/17TCamd_1.html
 http://www.d-silence.com/story.php?headline_id=21036&comment=1
 --
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Gustavo Seabra                                           Graduate Student
 Chemistry Dept.                                   Kansas State University
 Registered Linux user number 381680
 Say NO! to software patents: http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 > From eugen _(a)_ leitl.org Tue May 17 00:06:15 2005
 Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 10:41:00 +0200
 From: Eugen Leitl <eugen _(a)_ leitl.org>
 To: chemistry _(a)_ ccl.net
 Subject: CCL:[Beowulf] Opteron or Nocona ? (fwd from
     m.somers _(a)_ chem.leidenuniv.nl) (fwd from kus _(a)_ free.net)
 Sorry for big delay w/answer: today is 1st working day after May's
 holidays here in Russia ;-)
 I've no doubts that in average Opteron is today better, in particular
 for computational chemistry codes. The reasons is both performance
 (for
 "top frequency" chips) and price/performance ratio. We stop to use
 Intel x86 for computational chemistry and began to use AMD from
 "Athlon
 times" - because of price/performance reason. But now Opteron is in
 average absolutely better due to
 a) single CPU performance (See, for example, SPECfp2000 which includes
 also some molecular dynamics codes)
 b) power dissipation (which is lower for AMD)
 c) dual (and higher also:-)) CPU system architecture: 2 Opteron's
 have 2 independed pathes to main memory instead of common system bus
 in the case of Nocona. As a result, Opteron's have much more good
 memory throughput scalability.
 Pls take into account that many modern quantum chemistry codes (like
 G03) are "restricted" by memory throughput !
 What is about compilers, it was answered in a set of previous messages
 here.
 IMHO, the only HPC area where Nocona has clear advantage over Opteron,
 is floating point applications reaching performance close to peak
 value (like Linpack). In that case it should be take into account that
 Peak_Performance = 2*frequency for both processors, and Nocona
 has therefore higher values. But it's not typically for computational
 chemistry.
 Yours
 Mikhail Kuzminsky
 Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry
 Moscow
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