LinuxQuestions.org
Support LQ: Use code LQ3 and save $3 on Domain Registration
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 08-02-2006, 01:49 PM   #1
kuphryn
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Posts: 13

Rep: Reputation: 0
Recommended High-Performance Workstation CPU (AMD - Intel) Present-2006


Greetings,

Long time no see!

What are some of the most powerful, high-performance (speed and multitasking) workstation CPUs (32bit, 64bit) present to end-2006?

Most of my time is compiling software source code on windows and UNIX/linux platforms. I would really appreciate CPU(s) coupled with various necessities that will allow for maximum performance when developing and compiling multiple software projects simultaneously. For instance, nice to have CPUs that will produce maximum performance when compiling windows, linux, and watch DVD all simultaneously. The key is maximum performance especially multitasking.

Is the 64bit Opteron from AMD the answer? From my experience, the 64bit Opteron Dual Core is very impressive especially multitasking multithreaded applications. My only concern is CPU speed/price.

My workstation is running on 750 Athlon from AMD.

64bit Opteron Dual Core from AMD multitasking is impressive. Intel P4 EM64T Dual Core speed is impressive. (Is EM64T true 64bit architecture?)

What is most important: more bits (64bit, 128bit) or maximum CPU speed (present and future)?

How much does this CPU cost? What is its longevity in terms of not needing to upgrade?

What are some high-performance workstation CPUs (32bit, 64bit) for multitasking multithreaded applications on windows and UNIX/linux platforms present to end-2006?

Kuphryn
 
Old 08-02-2006, 02:11 PM   #2
IsaacKuo
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Distribution: Debian 4.0 Etch
Posts: 1,349

Rep: Reputation: 49
The "number of bits" isn't a concern--every processor worthy of your consideration is 64bit, and AMD64 compatable ("EMT64T" is essentially Intel-speak for AMD64 compatable).

I'm not on top of what's the absolute best out there, but I do know that both AMD dual core chips and Intel Core 2 Duo chips are impressive performers. The only 64bit dual core processors you specifically want to AVOID are Intel Prescott core processors (Pentium D; Celeron D).

The Prescotts are based on the hot and inefficient Pentium IV "netburst" architecture. Don't be fooled by their high clock speeds--their long pipelines mean that they don't get much processing done per clock cycle. These chips consume more power and generate more heat, and they're slower.

Intel realized that they were heading the wrong way as they were getting clobbered by AMD's performance, and came up with Conroe/Core 2 Duo. This new architecture, based on older Pentium 3/Pentium M technology, essentially copies AMD's approach. The clock speeds are slower than Pentium D, but the performance is greater. Apparently, Core 2 Duo has retaken the top spot in performance from AMD, both outperforming AMD's top processor while producing less heat. I don't know whether it's by a wide margin, or if the extra performance comes at a steep price.

So don't get a Pentium D. Take a serious look at dual core 64bit AM2 chips (AMD) and Core 2 Duo (Intel). The introduction of Core 2 Duo is currently shaking up prices and there's a bit of a tit-for-tat price war going on right now. I think the best thing is to keep and eye on things and see if you can find a good bargain in the shuffle.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 02:46 PM   #3
drkdick
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2006
Distribution: Fedora, custom LFS, Ubuntu Studio (RT)
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
Basically you could say that Opterons target the server market where as Athlons are for home users. As far as I have looked into it, the chips are about the same with some small but distinguishing differences. Server chips traditionally support more RAM, have faster interconnections when you build machines with multiple CPUs, and so on. For a single user the price tag usually outweighs the benefits you get but that entirely depends on what you want to do.

Then again, operating systems and applications of today are becoming resource hogs which is why I suppose the dual core architecture is now emerging. Still, most people wouldn't notice any difference between having 2 CPUs and 2 GB or 16 CPUs and 16 GB in their machines doing what they usually do.

Of course if money wasn't an option I would go for 2 dual cores, an insane amount of RAM and a SCSI-harddrive setup since I'm pretty sure that would cut down on those few milliseconds of latency experienced when recording with my virtual studio and having 10 different real-time software effects on the audio stream.


PS: Come to think of it, maybe AMD took the 1MB L2 cache out of the Athlons to make the difference to the Opterons appear bigger, thus keeping a "professional" more expensive line of products.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 04:37 PM   #4
tormented_one
Member
 
Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Small Town USA
Distribution: slamd64 2.6.12 Slackware 2.4.32 Windows XP x64 pro
Posts: 383

Rep: Reputation: 30
Intel emt64t is a little different than an amd64, can't remember why but a google search would tell you the difference. Personally I would go with an amd. Amd's memory controler is on the cpu, where an intel's is usually on the motherboard. Also I have an Athlon with 1MB L2 cache. If you can afford it go opteron.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 06:21 PM   #5
muggizuggi
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jun 2006
Posts: 8

Rep: Reputation: 0
For your purpose, I would get an athlon X2 with either 1MB or 2 MB cache. X2, because it is a fairly new platform, probably with years of processor updates, still to come. I would not worry too much about stock clock speed, since that can easily be adjusted in BIOS, if you use a good motherboard. In other words, I would overclock it.

Why? Because all processors in a given series, are essentially the same. Only the multiplier is locked differently. They all come from the same production line.

Some say this is bad, because you will kill the processor in no time. In my experience, this is not true. I have been overclocking since I built my first computer, and I have yet to fry a chip. My oldest setup, a pentium mmx, has been running happily for over 10 years.
Others say it is bad, because the system will be "more unstable". This point is null, in my oppinion, because you should not accept your system to be unstable at all. You should test it vigorously, wether you overclock it or not. Prime95 and memtest 86+ are very good softwares for this purpose.
Yet others say it is bad because you will need to buy very expensive memory to fit the higher bus speeds. This is, however, not true for the athlon64 family of processors. You can run the bus- and memory speeds asynchronously, with very little performance loss. This is probably due to the superior memory controller of the athlon64.
Then there are those who worry about voiding the warranty. Personally, I have never had to return a processor, ever. Besides, if you do have to, AMD will have no way of telling wether the chip has been overclocked or not.

The choice of motherboard is very important. I really like the DFI boards, these days. One reason being, that you can get good support for overclocking at http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/index.php.

If I were in your position, I would go to that forum and ask how to build a good bang-for-the-buck system, based on athlon X2.

So are there no down sides to this? Well, you might just be insanely unlucky, and get a chip that won't run at the speeds it was designd for. I've never seen a chip that would not overclock at all, though. Also, you will have to spend some amount of time clocking it. This should however be minimal, if you're not trying squeese every last drop out of it, and just settle for something moderate. But you never know - you might just get hooked.

Oh, and what ever you do, do your self a favour, and stay away from VIA chipsets. I have personally only experienced problems with those.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 07:03 PM   #6
lazlow
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,362

Rep: Reputation: 171Reputation: 171
I would agree with a X2 but would look at the AM2 socket. It could rapidly become the standard or rapidly go extinct, time will tell. Whatever processor you choose the bottleneck has now pretty much shifted to the hard drives. Right now the only way out is raid (in one of its many forms). Beware of Fakeraid or softraid (most promise cards) and go for hardware raid. There has also been a rash of problems booting to sata raid setups (or booting to sata at all) so you may want to consider a small (80gig?) pata hard drive to boot to and a sata (or pata) raid array to work off of (putting your swapfile on the raid array).

Have fun

Lazlow
 
Old 08-03-2006, 07:10 PM   #7
Matir
Moderator
 
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: San Jose, CA
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 8,507

Rep: Reputation: 118Reputation: 118
I would definitely go with the AM2 socket with DDR2. Though DDR2 is currently only slightly faster than DDR, you could later upgrade and see substantial performance boosts.

In my opinion, the biggest performance issue with current processors is cache size. The processor speeds don't matter much: 3GHz is only 7% more than 2.8Ghz. Likewise, 64 bit only really helps on memory intensive applications (though the AMD64 cores have other enhancements that make them attractive).
 
Old 08-03-2006, 08:44 PM   #8
muggizuggi
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jun 2006
Posts: 8

Rep: Reputation: 0
LOL - Yes, I meant to say AM2, too. Sorry.
As for RAM speed, it really doesn't matter that much. Less than processor clock speed, as long as you stay on, or above standard bandwidth.
I still say get the cheapest processor in the series you decide on, and clock it up if you need more speed.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 11:11 PM   #9
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
It is untrue that processors comes from the same production line. They actually have different quality of production lines and different quality of materials. Mass production does this to every product. The difference between one chip to another chip is not different even if it is the same speed and model chip. If they are overclocked, the difference becomes more vivid. One chip will overclock better than the other chip. Though when seen under a microscope an overclocked chip looks very different than a chip that goes at normal speeds. The pathways and the structure of chip will be more eroded on a overclocked chip than an chip that clocked at its rated speed. It is ok to overclock but do not do it for compiling and production servers.

People say that computers are unstable is partially true. If a computer uses ECC and parity memory, the computer will be a lot more stable and reliable than computers that run without ECC and parity memory. I recommend ECC memory for any type of computer especially for multiple processor systems. You can get by with out ECC memory, but do not come crying to me because your computer is giving you the wrong results.

Do not worry about AMD Athlon64 and AMD Opterons because they are a lot faster than Intel Pentium 4 chips. Intel's Core 2 Duo will be out to the public in 8 weeks from now. It seems these systems will cost as much as a Pentium M desktop, but it is too early to tell. I recommend waiting a year since they come out becuase Intel always drops the ball the first time their new shit comes out. AMD's dual or quad core processors are very good for people that uses two or more programs at once when using Linux. Windows needs programs that written to send out multiple threads.

Do's:
1) Buy ECC memory because it is worth it.
2) Buy two or more Western Digital Raptor 74 GB and put them in RAID-1 (mirroring).
3) get a very, very good power supply. When compiling for a long time, power lines fluctuate often. It helps to have a power supply that is universal voltage which means it has a wide voltage like 100 volts to 240 volts. Other power supplies are set at fixed voltage like 115/230 volts. Active power factor power supplies also help reduce electricity bills and puts less strain on power equipment like UPS.
4) get an in-line type UPS. They have zero switching time because they are always taking power from the battery.
5) buy motherboards with heat pipe cooling.


Do not:
1) take muggizuggi advice. Overclocking screws up compiling and screws the program's data when run on another system.
2) use Promise and Silicon Image controllers. These cards are a pain to setup DMA and they are unreliable in Linux. Ok for Windows which we hate.
3) get ASUS motherboards. They are poor quality for the money and are Windows dependent.
4) buy power supplies from Antec, Thermaltake, or stores that sell <=$50 power supplies.
5) buy motherboards that uses active heatsink for the chipset. Active heatsinks are not reliable. If the fan dies, the chipset also dies if not cooled immediately.
 
Old 08-03-2006, 11:51 PM   #10
lazlow
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,362

Rep: Reputation: 171Reputation: 171
Electro

I would agree with most of your points but I strongly disagree about your comments about Asus and Antec. Yes, they have both had lemons (antec neohe series had tons of DOAs and incomputability issue) but name me a company that has been around for very long that does not screw up and produce a lemon once in a while. If you read the reviews (always before you buy) you will see that both of these companies consistently show up in the top two of almost any roundup (not any easy feat when you consider the number of companies in the business). I am not saying to buy their stuff blindly but if I had to name the #1 in each of their markets it would be them.

Lazlow
 
Old 08-04-2006, 07:26 AM   #11
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazlow
Electro

I would agree with most of your points but I strongly disagree about your comments about Asus and Antec. Yes, they have both had lemons (antec neohe series had tons of DOAs and incomputability issue) but name me a company that has been around for very long that does not screw up and produce a lemon once in a while. If you read the reviews (always before you buy) you will see that both of these companies consistently show up in the top two of almost any roundup (not any easy feat when you consider the number of companies in the business). I am not saying to buy their stuff blindly but if I had to name the #1 in each of their markets it would be them.

Lazlow
Gigabyte has been around longer than ASUS. What is insteresting that Seasonic has provided power supplies for Apple II and IBM PC in 1980. I have ABIT motherboards and a Seasonic power supply. I return one of my motherboards to ABIT to be fixed. When I got it back, it fully functions. My brother's returned ASUS board that half works. Neither my bother's hard drive light and power light works. Luckly his power switch and reset switch works, but in a different pin from what is noted by the manual.

The reason why those companies that you mention comes in the round up is because of favoritism. For several years Antec has never show me the quality. They actually stink. You can get ASUS boards but they look like crap compared to the high price. A lot reviewers do not have any experience testing electronic devices. I question a lot of reviewers if they are legitimate or not. The review sites that I go to are anandtech.com, tomshardware.com, and xbitlabs.com.

For the present and the future, I will be selecting old fart companies for reliability and stability instead of new kids on the block.
 
Old 08-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #12
lazlow
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,362

Rep: Reputation: 171Reputation: 171
Gigabyte was founded in 1986 and Asus in 1989 both would be "mature" motherboard manufactures. Toms and anand both usually rate Asus and Antec pretty high (excluding lemons). I will have a look at xbitlabs (thanks).

lazlow

xbitlabs seems to like asus as well.

Last edited by lazlow; 08-04-2006 at 12:37 PM.
 
Old 08-04-2006, 05:41 PM   #13
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazlow
Gigabyte was founded in 1986 and Asus in 1989 both would be "mature" motherboard manufactures. Toms and anand both usually rate Asus and Antec pretty high (excluding lemons). I will have a look at xbitlabs (thanks).

lazlow

xbitlabs seems to like asus as well.
Again it is favoritism. People favorite these brands more than others instead of looking at other brands which are much better.
 
Old 08-15-2006, 02:10 PM   #14
kuphryn
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Mar 2004
Posts: 13

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Very cool!

Intel Core 2 Duo Conroe

I'm looking at the 2.x ghz CPUs. Price difference is over $200 when going from 2.1 -> 2.4 -> 2.6, but from my limited experience the higher the clock speed the better (lasts longer without needing to upgrade). How important is clock speed of Intel Conroe?

Kuphryn
 
Old 08-16-2006, 01:14 AM   #15
Electro
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,042

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
IMHO, The 2.4 GHz version of Core 2 Duo is better if you want low power consumption and performance. I suggest the 4 MB cache version instead of 2 MB if you do not upgrade often and want it to last. AMD Athlon64 X2 EE consumes less power than Intel Core 2 Duo. I have not seen any real world benchmarking when running two or more programs. All tests that I have seen are using one program for each test. I think AMD processors will shine when running multiple programs at the same time.

Clock speed is useless if you have a slow hard drive. If you buy a Western Digital Raptor 74 GB, the system will be very fast. I usually buy slower processors and spend the money on more memory and the fastest (lowest accessing time) hard drives.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Configuring a high-performance laptop... HELP, PLEASE!!! portablenick Linux - Hardware 3 04-20-2006 12:40 PM
Intel CPU Comparission - performance on Linux iam8up Linux - Hardware 7 03-13-2006 10:53 PM
Best processor under $80? Intel or AMD Running a small server/workstation Fendbass22 Linux - General 1 03-10-2006 11:09 AM
high-performance laptop memonvil Linux - Laptop and Netbook 7 03-02-2005 07:41 AM
High End System? Performance... plisken Linux - General 11 12-11-2003 12:42 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:10 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration