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Old 2004-01-14, 02:12   #1
Angular
 
Aug 2002

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Default Optimal Hardware for Dedicated Crunching Computer

Well I setup my Linux Terminal Server (LTSP) and it is working nicely. I am running it on a plain RedHat v9 (Shrike) box. I only have one client right now, a Celeron 400, which defently needs to be upgraded. I am thinking on having making two nodes to start and more later.

The Pentium4 CPU seams to be clearly the best choice. Now Prescott is due to be released any day now. But will the Prescott chips be faster than the Northwood chips at the same clock speed? http://www.aceshardware.com under the January 6th 2004 heading 'Lets talk Performance (Intel)' states that they expect performance to be a mixed bag. What does this mean for Prime95 FFT performance? Does anyone care to hazard a educated guess?

If nothing else the Prescott CPUs will be cheaper. I see these prices for the boxed Northwood and Prescott chips:

512 kB 1024kB
2.4 GHz 800 MHz $163 N/A
2.6 GHz 800 MHz $177 N/A
2.8 GHZ 800 MHz $213 $192
3.0 GHz 800 MHz $279 $234
3.2 GHz 800 MHz $397 $296

It looks like the Prescott 2.8 GHz CPU is the winner.

My LTSP setup allows for a headless, diskless, KVM less computer:

~192 2.8GHz Prescott CPU (3 year Boxed CPU)
~39 256MB DDR400 (Kingston, Curcial, ...) Lifetime Warranty
~68 Abit ISV-7 i848P Motherboard 3 Year Warranty
~28 Startech.com 300Watt Replacement PS - 1 year
or
~36 Antec 300Watt SL300 PS - 3 year

=> $327-335

It seams like a rather good cost per node. I would of course prefer the Antec TruePower PSs but they are too expensive for this application. Dual Channel DDR400 would also be nice but I have heard about a 5% performance increase at best. The Abit VI7 also looks like an attractively priced board at ~$63, but it has the PT800 chipset, which I don't know anything about its FFT performance. I also need to verify that the MBs have onboard LAN with PXE so I don't have to mess with flashing the BIOS with etherboot code. I would certainly consider other manufactures with solid warranties.


Michael
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Old 2004-01-14, 02:23   #2
PrimeCruncher
 
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Sep 2003
Borg HQ, Delta Quadrant

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My recommendation: head over to NewEgg.com. They have the cheapest prices for quality parts I have ever seen.

Also, what kind of work are you planning to do with these nodes? For LL testing you need the regular P4 but for TFing Prime95 doesn't need a lot of L2 cache so you can get the same performance while saving $100 or so.
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Old 2004-01-14, 02:54   #3
Angular
 
Aug 2002

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Quote:
Originally posted by PrimeCruncher
My recommendation: head over to NewEgg.com. They have the cheapest prices for quality parts I have ever seen.
Thanks, that ¡s a new site for me. Their boxed CPUs have good prices and the free shipping is cool. I wonder how all of these sites offer free shipping... They list $164,$167, $214, $280, $397 for the 2.4-3.2 respectfully. Its funny how some sites seem to trade the best price for particular speed CPUs.

Quote:
Also, what kind of work are you planning to do with these nodes? For LL testing you need the regular P4 but for TFing Prime95 doesn't need a lot of L2 cache so you can get the same performance while saving $100 or so.

LL Testing. You were thinking of the P4 Celeron? I wonder what the difference in performance is due to the 400/533/800 MHz bus.

Last fiddled with by Angular on 2004-01-14 at 02:55
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Old 2004-01-14, 03:23   #4
PrimeCruncher
 
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I've heard that for LL testing, a P4-Celeron is about 1/3 the speed of a regular P4 because it has to use RAM more, which takes more time. But TFs don't need RAM since it's all in L2 so I doubt there's any speed difference. And the staircase pricing scheme is actually Intel's way of doing it. You can see it on the CPU price charts at mikeshardware.co.uk.
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Old 2004-01-15, 06:50   #5
E_tron
 
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Sep 2002
Austin, TX

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Default Re: Optimal Hardware for Dedicated Crunching Computer

Quote:
Originally posted by Angular
But will the Prescott chips be faster than the Northwood chips at the same clock speed?
For Prime95, performance will be the same per clock. The Prescott is a Canterwood P4 on a diet (smaller transistors). Intel might add more transistors, but not much.

I do believe that the Prescott will be the best overclock chip of 2004, so you might want to consider that. I guess a 3ghz Prescott will reach 4ghz without problems.

Personally with AMD's new pricing plan and Intel's lack of innovation, i am going to sit out of the semiconductor market place most of 2004.
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Old 2004-01-16, 12:37   #6
Angular
 
Aug 2002

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Default Re: Re: Optimal Hardware for Dedicated Crunching Computer

Quote:
Originally posted by E_tron
For Prime95, performance will be the same per clock. The Prescott is a Canterwood P4 on a diet (smaller transistors). Intel might add more transistors, but not much.
Aceshardware.com says that Prescott has a longer pipeline and is rumered to have a higher L2-cache latency. But on the plus side it has 16kb L1 cache for Data (over 8kb), 1 mul integer multiply latency due to dedicated integer mul unit, SSE3, and 1MB L2.

I would guess the integer mul unit would not be helpful, but possibly the 1MB L2 may be helpful in a few months with a code-rewrite. I believe George said he looked at SSE3 and did not see anything helpful to Prime95.

The Canterwood P4 is just a northwood with the 800MHz bus and HT, right?


Quote:
I do believe that the Prescott will be the best overclock chip of 2004, so you might want to consider that. I guess a 3ghz Prescott will reach 4ghz without problems.

Personally with AMD's new pricing plan and Intel's lack of innovation, i am going to sit out of the semiconductor market place most of 2004.
Are you refering to the Operton price premium over the Xeon? for the same clock, or...

Michael
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