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Dual opterons, athlons, or xeons?

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sucky noob

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Hey guys, i dont know much about dual processing, but i think i wanna get a dual processing rig for my next box. What system would get the most bang for the buck? dual opterons, dual athlons, or dual xeons? Like i said, i dont know the difference between all of them, so any input you guys have would be awesome. thanks!
 

Busty St. Clair

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2003
Location
Illinois
well if u want the xeon to be considered than don't come in the amd section because xeons don't belong. lol if u have the money go opterons. and there is no such thing as real bang for buck in either. the more u spend the better u get especially in high end opteron boards with independent memory banks.
 

David

Forums Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
I have dual Athlons. They are the cheapest option:

Pros:
- Cheapest
- Can use XP CPUs - dont need specific MP chips
- Don't necessarily require registered RAM (first two slots can use unbuffered)

Cons:
- 33MHz PCI bus is a bit poor as it is the secondary bus
- Poor RAM bandwidth - PC2100 RAM used as default
- FSB cannot be pushed past 150 - and no 1/5 divider or PCI/AGP lock so even at 150MHz PCI and AGP will be out of spec quite a bit.
- USB does not work on some boards - USB cards often supplied free but take up a PCI slot


Opterons would probably be the fastest:

Pros:
- Fast. Really fast
- Good RAM bandwidth

Cons:
- No real gaming boards for Opterons
- Expensive.
- Needs registered PC3200 RAM
- Need specific Opterons - 2xx chips not 1xx chips.

Xeons are probably mid-way between the two:

Pros:
- Quite fast
- Good RAM bandwidth
- some good boards out there for OCing

Cons:
- Not as fast as Opterons (in general)
- Not as cheap as XPs
- Still quite costly.
 

macklin01

Computational Oncologist / Biomathematician / Mode
Joined
Apr 3, 2002
Location
Bloomington, IN
Moved to SMP. Will have to come back and read more later, as this is always a fascinating topic. :) -- Paul
 

David

Forums Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
macklin01 said:
Moved to SMP. Will have to come back and read more later, as this is always a fascinating topic. :) -- Paul

Thanks Paul :)
 

Rpkole

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2004
well lots of peopel are going dual athlons Mobiles and OCing them my dually when OC to 2.5Ghz is on par with a xeon 3.0Ghz with HT and 512 L2 when i take it up to 2.6Ghz it beats them down even harder. here is a bench of my dually http://img21.exs.cx/img21/8584/Rpkole-dual.jpg

AMD XP mobiles = $70 to $143 each
Xeon = $222 to $695 each
Opteron = $192 to $825 each

Hope this helps
 

zachj

Chainsaw Senior
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
Redmond, Washington
Well, having just read the thread about possible instability when using mobiles in MP, I'd be a little worried if I suggested using them. If it proves to be incorrect, then by all means, but until then, I'd keep an eye out.

Anyway, my personal opinion is that when it comes down to a question between Xeons and Athlons, you save some money on XPs but end up with a faster system in certain key things with Xeons. So what is it that you do with your machine? If you're just looking to mess around, obviously XPs are the best answer. Media encoding, outside of MP3s, is best done on Xeons, as is content creation. If you've got the money, a very high end Opteron will beat a Xeon in most things or at least give it a run for its money.

Keep in mind that an overclock is never guaranteed. I see people with 2.4GHz Xeons at about 3.4GHz or more and think that sounds absolutely fantastic, and I see people with XPs at up to 2.6GHz, which also sounds fantastic. But I think that while those speeds are certainly obtainable, they cost more to ensure good parts and adequate cooling and if you don't get that speed, how will you feel? Is a dual mobile 2400 good enough if you can't get it a hair past stock? What if you're 533 Xeons can't make the jump to 800MHz FSB?

In the end, assuming that overclocking is in your future and will go smoothly, I think that for all around general usage, you might find an XP system fits the bill nicely, and your wallet will like you a lot more. If you're thinking of a more specific application, get back to us so we can consider it.

Z
 

Nightingale

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Location
Ohio
Well gaming wise my computer handles really well running multiple apps while running Halo for example. About the only thing I would do to improve my pc is get a raptor for my main hdd and set a partition just for games(also a better cable connection would be nice).
 

Audioaficionado

Sparkomatic Moderator
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
Xeons are more like 2/3 of the Opterons in performance and price. The Intel chipsets and hardware are more up to date than Opteron systems right now. Once the nForce4 comes out, that should catch up the Opteron systems and make for a very expensive but awesome system.

Socket A (Atholon MP/XP) dullies are just getting too long in the tooth these days and I wouldn't bother unless you can put one together for less than $600. You can build a Xeon duallie for less than $1000 if you shop hard and can reuse some existing hardware you might have laying around.
 

Nightingale

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Location
Ohio
anyone idea if NF4 is going to have oc options? Price ranges? release dates? I got these ops but I want more performance out of them (I always like pushing my hardware further hehe).
 

disk11

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Location
Charlotte
NF3 is supposed to have overclocking options and a pci lock that your via board lacks:) But the only board I know of is the Iwill DK8N.
 

Nightingale

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Location
Ohio
Yeah I know of the NF3 boards but if NF4 is just around the corner then might as well wait. Also the K8T isn't a bad board for the SMP newbie since its affordable and doesn't suffer much performance lose due to the memory banks being shared(minimal lose at best). Also the heatsink thing isn't that bad either since you can't overclock with the board anyhow unless you get an NF3 board which costs 400 plus I am sure. As for watercooling it just means you have to but the Xeon style waterblocks.
 

zachj

Chainsaw Senior
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
Redmond, Washington
I guess I was speaking more along the lines of performance potential for the price. An Opteron system is a very good system, but unless you have a very specific need in which it excels or enough money to buy top of the line, I think a 2.4GHz Xeon if overclocked to anywhere over 3GHz would probably outperform a base model in both cost and speed. Until NForce boards that support SMP become available, I think suggesting Opterons as a performance option should be done only if the money exists to go all-out. Sure, they have the potential (and I say "potential" because DDRII requires an entirely new system, so dual core has to come first AND in the same socket in order to really call the architecture upgradable) to be a much longer-lasting platform, but Xeons aren't exactly dead in their current state and require the same board/RAM upgrades in the future.

My personal budget-oriented vs. speed system would probably be a Xeon system at the moment. Unless NForce boards allow significant overclocking of base-model Opterons, I just can't see the price of admission being balanced by the speed increases.

And I certainly agree that the MP/XP system is a little too long in the tooth, but that's why I'd only suggest it to those that have an *interest* in SMP rather than a need for it, and only if they could get it on the cheap.

Z
 
OP
S

sucky noob

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
thanks for the input, i cant see myself using it for anything other than gaming. The most important factor, is the General Coolness Factor. Potentially i see this system getting two screens so i can game it up on one, and surf the internet or write papers that are worth a substantial part of my grade on the other. I already have 1 gb of pc3200 ram, it was cheap, so i gather that it is probably "unregistered", and i would probably like to use this for the system, other than having to buy new, more expensive ram. As far as overclocking, i would like to do it, but i wont be that dissapointed if i cant.
 

Nightingale

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2002
Location
Ohio
well that makes a big difference in what you can get. All amd duallie rigs pretty much require registered ram. If you want to use unregistered then a pair of xeons in the asus PC-DL would make a great setup and with mods it can highly overclockable.
 
OP
S

sucky noob

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
i suppose the added price for the xeons would make up for the money i saved using unregistered ram. Hmmm.....

whats the difference between athlon xp and athlon xp mobiles? which one is better for dual?
 

zachj

Chainsaw Senior
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Location
Redmond, Washington
If you want to use unregistered RAM, then your only choices are between an MP/XP system with only the first to memory banks populated or a Xeon system based on the 875 chipset. Personally, if my only objective was to game with the thing, considering that games don't take any advantage of SMP in almost all cases, I wouldn't want to spend the cost of a Xeon rig. At the same time, I think it has the potential to game much better, considering the high bus speeds you'd be able to reach, native SATA (for a Raptor if you want it, though that's really not going to speed anything but load times), and AGP 8x (which probably makes very little difference, if any).

So my choice, if I could afford it, would probably be Xeons, but I think the most reasonable choice is XPs.

Also, keep in mind that writing a paper and playing a game at the same time is probably not going to work out so well, since they both require your undivided attention.

Z
 
OP
S

sucky noob

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
maybe ill get two keyboards so i can type and play at the exact same time....

Well i looked at the asus pc-dl deluxe, and on newegg, it says it only supports up to ddr333, and the gig of ram i have is ddr400, so i probably need to get new ram anyway. Its looking like i might end up goin with AMD's, but this system is at least a year away, and only God knows what will change before then.