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AMD's Six-Core Istanbul Opterons

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the nothing-outruns-my-v8-ford dept.

AMD 123

EconolineCrush writes "AMD's latest 'Istanbul' Opterons add two cores per socket, for a grand total of six. Despite the extra cores, these new chips reside within the same power envelope as existing quad-core Opterons, and they're drop-in compatible with current systems. The Tech Report has an in-depth review of the new chips, comparing their performance and power efficiency with that of Intel's Nehalem-based Xeons. Istanbul fares surprisingly well, particularly when one considers its performance-power ratio with highly parallelized workloads."

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123 comments

Istanbul runs your shells (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180349)

Istanbul runs your shells
Through shaves as tight as Dardanelles.
Use Opteron and the gallant foamy,
And thus avoid Gallipoli [wikipedia.org] .
Burma Shave

Re:Istanbul runs your shells (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181147)

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you were waiting for a core called Constantinople
It's been released as Istanbul.

Re:Istanbul runs your shells (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181749)

It all went to hellespont [wikipedia.org] .

Back to Byzantium (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184407)

Uhhharg. I thought that song was hilarious the first time I heard it. But it's turned into a mind-worm that goes round and round every time I hear "Istanbul". And I hear it a lot because I'm writing documentation for an Istanbul-based server.

Just for that, I'm going to force you to watch this really dumb video [youtube.com] . You are required to drink a V8 every time you spot a geographical blooper.

Actually, a lot of Greeks find this song extremely unfunny, because the name change reflects the way Greek communities have been forced out of Asia Minor since the Turkish conquest. In particular, the official name change occurred after the collapse of the Turkish Empire, which coincided with a lot of violence directed at Turkey's ethnic minorities. Everyone's heard about the Armenian massacres, but the remnants of Turkey's Greek-speaking communities also had a hard time of it.

And yeah, there was violence the other way. So what?

Re:Istanbul runs your shells (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181759)

But wasn't Istanbul called Constantinople?

And what do the Turks think about that?

Re:Istanbul runs your shells (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181855)

The Turks are casual, until you name a chip "Armenian" or "Kurd".
Then, not so much.

Just a little FYI for you guys... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180383)

I just crushed up a d20 and smoked it. I'll post in a little bit about where that takes me.

Re:Just a little FYI for you guys... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28185489)

Methinks you have misinterpreted the "I roll 20s" t-shirt.

Wasn't it called Constantinople? (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180389)

Or isn't that anyones business but the Turks?

Re:Wasn't it called Constantinople? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180625)

It *was* Constantinople; now it's Istanbul. NOT Constantinople. So, if you have a date in Constantinople, she'll be waiting in Istanbul.

Business of the Turks relates primarily to the reasons behind the decision to give Constantinople "The Works."

Re:Wasn't it called Constantinople? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28183389)

...flamebait? Really?

Re:Wasn't it called Constantinople? (5, Funny)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180763)

no no no. that was the beta version.

Fun fact: Istanbul was Constantinople (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180395)

The Eastern Roman Empire based in Constantinople lasted as long as the Egyptian empire, but its citizens never felt the same feeling of continuity and stability that the ancient Egyptians felt.

Istanbul is a pretty clever name for a chipmaker who, like the legendary phoenix, dies and then returns from the ashes.

Re:Fun fact: Istanbul was Constantinople (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180469)

Mmmm...yeah, but wasn't Constantinople sacked by the Turks, thereby causing the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire?

Oh, wait, I think I get it now... ;)

Re:Fun fact: Istanbul was Constantinople (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180781)

yeah, but wasn't Constantinople sacked by the Turks

see what happens when you don't have enough stock to satisfy consumer demand :)

Re:Fun fact: Istanbul was Constantinople (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28181899)

Constaninapole wasn't sacked by Turks. It is conqured by them. Also Constantinapoles name was Istanbool before roman occupation..

dont bullshit (1, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180707)

egyptian civilization started well around 4000 BC and lasted until 400 BC. thats around 3600 years.

eastern roman empire is from ad 250 ish to ad 1453.

EVEN if you add entire roman empire history unto that, which makes from 500 BC to 1453 AD, it still makes 2000 years. doesnt come anywhere near egypt.

Re:dont bullshit (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180777)

He said Egyptian empire, which is somewhat different from just Egypt, just as the Roman empire is different from just Rome.

Re:dont bullshit (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181011)

There never was an Egyptian empire, there was the state of the pharaos, starting about ~2700 B.C. and falling to Alexandre the Great in the 4. century BC, followed by the greek-ptolemaean Egyptian kingdom, which was coming to an end in 30 BC with the suicide of Cleopatra.

PS: We are completely offtopic, because Byzanz/Constantinople/Istanbul never was a part of Egypt anyway.

Re:dont bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180795)

What the heck is the point of your post? Just look at what was accomplished in philosophy and government between 500BC to 1453AD. The Ancient Egyptians may have been around first but so what?

Re:dont bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180943)

What the heck is the point of your post? Just look at what was accomplished in philosophy and government between 500BC to 1453AD.

That's a nearly 2,000 year period time. Why don't we skip that for now, since it seems entirely offtopic?

'so what' is that : (2, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181787)

ancient egypt is THE source of many of your philosophies and sciences. from 1000 BC and onwards, early greeks were coming to egypt for education. egypt had 2 schools - school of life, and school of death. school of life was teaching stuff related to this world, ie, medicine, land registry, writing, government, and school of death taught stuff pertaining to abstract world. not to mention that many of the professions people identify themselves today originated in egypt.

even before knossos was known, medicine men and wise men of egypt were world renowned, even legendary in their time. a LOT of stuff that is ascribed to greeks were what greeks learned in egypt.

brush up on your history.

Re:'so what' is that : (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183133)

yeah, but there would be no Egypt without the global warming trend that made the Sahara desert...

Heh, now we are REALLY off topic!

Anyone got a 6-pack of Fascists! to finish off the party?

Re:Fun fact: Istanbul was Constantinople (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183875)

The Eastern Roman Empire based in Constantinople lasted as long as the Egyptian empire, but its citizens never felt the same feeling of continuity and stability that the ancient Egyptians felt.

Huh? If you take the founding of the Eastern Empire to be Constantine's moving the capital to Byzantium (renaming it Constantinople), that's 330AD to its fall in 1453. Dynastic Egypt traditionally dates back to somewhere around 3100BC, and the end is usually marked as the fall of the Ptolemaic Dynasty in 30BC. So the Byzantine Empire lasted a little over 1,100 years, whereas Egypt lasted three thousand years.

I won't be impressed until it is... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180407)

Over 9000!!!!1

Now where can I ... (1)

roger_that (24034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180413)

get a couple of these to test? Sounds like we could get some pretty good number-crunching results.

But... (1)

silver007 (1479955) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180443)

That's nothing compared to 14 cores.

And 14 cores is nothing compared to 64 threads (2, Interesting)

IYagami (136831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181135)

From http://www.sun.com/processors/UltraSPARC-T2/features.xml [sun.com]

"Features and Benefits
With eight cores and 64 threads on one chip, integrated 10 GbE networking, crypto, and PCI-Express expansion, you have the jump on anything else on the market. The opportunities for system consolidation and virtualization are here like never before. Consumes less power per core and thread than any processor in its class - without compromising on performance. The UltraSPARC T2 processor gives OEMs a massively threaded, multi-core alternative to more power-hungry, less threaded processors from competing vendors."

Re:And 14 cores is nothing compared to 64 threads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182719)

Went to the page you link to, but didn't see any prices or "add to shopping cart" link. Went to newegg, couldn't find either the chips or motherboards.

Vaporware.

Buy it from sun.com (1)

IYagami (136831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183517)

http://www.sun.com/servers/coolthreads/t5440/specs.xml [sun.com]

4 UltraSparc T2 processors with 4 processors x 8 cores per processor x 8 threads per core = 256 threars

Press "Get it". Prices start from $91,995.00 with 256 threads and $51,795.00 with 128 threads

Re:And 14 cores is nothing compared to 64 threads (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187255)

Hyperthreading helps you avoid the cost of context switches when multithreading, but a) the cost of context switches is remarkably lower these days due to register renaming and other tricks and b) only on Unix do you care anyway; traditionally we spawn lots of processes on Unix and lots of threads on Windows. It's not necessarily the right way to do things, and the Windows thread-heavy model is paying off now that multicore processors have brought multiprocessing to the masses.

Re:But... (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182177)

That's nothing compared to 14 cores.

You are bad at math.

EPT? (1)

reset_button (903303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180457)

Does the Istanbul have Extended Page Table support like Nehalem does? This is supposed to give a big performance boost to virtual machines, though I haven't seen any hard numbers. Any info?

Re:EPT? (3, Informative)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181767)

AMD has supported nested page tables since the Shanghai series processors.

Re:EPT? (1)

JF-AMD (1568173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28186061)

And we also support it in VMware ESX 3.5. I believe intel only supports it with VMware 4.0 (VSphere). Upgrading the hypervisor is not on the radar for a lot of customers.

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180477)

You think it's crazy? It is crazy. But I don't give a shit. From now on, we're the ones who have the edge in the multi-core game. What part of this don't you understand? If two cores is good, and four cores is better, obviously six cores would make us the best fucking processor that ever existed. Comprende? We didn't claw our way to the top of the CPU game by clinging to the two-core industry standard. We got here by taking chances. Well, six cores is the biggest chance of all.

Here's the report from Engineering. Someone put it in the bathroom: I want to wipe my ass with it. They don't tell me what to inventI tell them. And I'm telling them to stick two more cores in there. I don't care how. Make the cores so thin they're invisible. I don't care if they have to cram the sixth blade in perpendicular to the other five, just do it!

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180525)

I don't care if they have to cram the sixth blade in perpendicular to the other five, just do it!

You were so close.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180671)

Mayhaps he meant bladeservers?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180823)

flamebait? That was the first thing I thought of when I read the headline.

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/09/14/gillettes-5blade-raz.html [boingboing.net]

The first core calculates close, the second even closer, ...

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181039)

So basically we have pentium's covering each other's asses?

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (-1, Redundant)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180891)

Sounds exactly like Gillette saying "Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades [theonion.com] "

Only five blades? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181043)

Meet Quintippio [quintippio.co.uk] : The new 15-Blade Mega Shave!

Show your beard who's boss!

Re:Only five blades? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28181613)

I'm a chinese guy. I'd get my beard from the costume shop if I want one.

Re:Only five blades? (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181689)

You know what's crazy? I have tried those different shavers, and three blades seems to be the sweet spot - with those 4 and 5 blade cartridges, there isn;t enough room between the blades for them to get close enough to your skin, for the stubble to get in there - they just don't work as well, but I guess the standard marketing bullshit applies: "More is better*, because this is America"

*if it doesn't work better, or even as well, that is okay, because the customer's pride in knowing that they have the newest and best overcomes any actual shortcomings of function.

Re:Fuck Everything, We're Doing Six Cores (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184829)

And suddenly my sig is relevant again. ;)

Do i need Erlang? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180547)

Harnessing muli-cpu machines with these installed is going to be.... Interesting.

Re:Do i need Erlang? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180653)

Not really.

Threaded programming has been around for many years now, and multi-process computing has been around for decades. If you can't utilise multiple cores by now you're way behind the curve.

That said, I will watch the progress of these languages designed specifically for the task, though I don't see them unseating C/C++/Java any time soon.

Re:Do i need Erlang? (1)

reset_button (903303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180839)

Yea but properly use them? Today, the OS uses the cores in a pretty stupid way, and you end up with data structures being shared by cores, and so you need to lock them (expensive) and copy data between cores (expensive).

Once the operating systems handle them well, and application programmers are more aware of these issues, things will be much better in multi-core-land.

It's not the OS. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181679)

It's the applications.

Actually, you might have a point -- I honestly don't know how well OS kernels are implemented for this sort of thing. On the other hand, Linux has been ported to machines with more cores (and CPUs!) than that before. Worst case, the kernel-level stuff won't receive a boost -- your filesystem won't go much faster -- but how much of your CPU time is currently spent there?

No, most CPU time is spent in applications, as it should be. And that's where you have the issues you describe -- either there aren't separate threads, or there are, and they're synchronized with locking. And yes, Erlang does solve a lot of that, without needing to change the OS at all.

Re:It's not the OS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184487)

... or you can program in CSP (communicating sequential processes [wikipedia.org] ) multiprogramming style which is an old technique even by UNIX epoch standards.

There are plenty of CSP-style large scale projects that really are assembled from discrete single-threaded programs; this works well for distribution across loosely-coupled clusters (and even topologically distant sets of those) whereas most multi-threaded programming paradigms make strong assumptions on things like expected delays and bandwidths and their derivatives (like uniformity). CSP is amenable to composition of single processes, much like discrete UNIX programs can be assembled into pipelines. (The QNX shell syntax for distributed computation and i/o is even more instructive as an analogy, or see the on(1) [qnx.com] manpage and consider that "on" can form part of a pipeline.)

A very large example of CSP is Askemos [askemos.org] which is a German Scheme-based multiprocessing/multiprogramming/concurrency system. Unfortunately for the wider world, finer-grained elucidations of Askemos's design in English are rare, in part because it's already in real, productive, profitable use in German-speaking agencies and organizations.

On smaller scales, many Mac OS X applications have separate processes (often written in different languages!) for the front-end user interface and back-end computation and persistence activities. Some of the most compute intensive software packages organize the back-ends into pipeline-like networks, which is classic CSP style.

The most significant drawback to CSP is that the inter-SP communication protocol must be appropriate to the job, and the risk is that it's too heavyweight compared to techniques like STM or lock-full shared memory. However, by analogy to transport layer techolonogy, TCP was considered far too heavyweight for LAN-based communications for many years, and nobody seriously considered using TCP for IPC on the same system -- nowadays, TCP is pervasive and cheap and is assisted by the low cost of compression and decompression (and even encryption) of the higher-layer data it carries.

In short, time-space tradeoffs probably will favour spending time to reduce the amount of inter-SP data exchange even given fairly tightly coupled multi-processor systems.

Re:It's not the OS. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187203)

From Wikipedia:

As its name suggests, CSP allows the description of systems in terms of component processes that operate independently, and interact with each other solely through message-passing communication.

Sounds pretty much exactly like Erlang. Your description only reinforces that:

There are plenty of CSP-style large scale projects that really are assembled from discrete single-threaded programs; this works well for distribution across loosely-coupled clusters (and even topologically distant sets of those) whereas most multi-threaded programming paradigms make strong assumptions on things like expected delays and bandwidths and their derivatives (like uniformity).

It depends on the program, of course, but Erlang itself makes no such assumptions. It includes both a simple RPC system, and robust binary processing and network libraries, making it quite easy to build loosely-coupled clusters -- but each program is already written in that style to begin with, as Erlang can also run thousands of simultaneous "processes" (actors).

By using that actor model pervasively, and thinking in terms of very long-running programs -- Erlang powers things like telephone switches which need truly minimal downtime, thus, programs are built to continue handling requests even while in the process of being upgraded -- you're already thinking and developing in the way you would have to in a cluster.

Now, granted:

most multi-threaded programming paradigms make strong assumptions on things like expected delays and bandwidths and their derivatives (like uniformity).

The paradigm has nothing at all to say about this, but individual programs might. Like anything else, really -- if I develop and test on a 2.5 ghz Core 2 Duo, my software might run sluggishly on a 450 mhz Arm.

But even so, I'd argue you're a lot closer to a truly cluster-able app when developing in this way.

The most significant drawback to CSP is that the inter-SP communication protocol must be appropriate to the job, and the risk is that it's too heavyweight compared to techniques like STM or lock-full shared memory.

Erlang solves this also, for local multithreading, by using immutable memory, making it pretty much automatically a lock-free system. Each process appears to have its own memory, and is unable to interfere with the memory of another process, but it is also effectively shared memory.

Personally, I'm a bit excited about Reia [reia-lang.org] , which would provide sane syntax and hopefully some decent Unicode support on top of the Erlang VM -- but it's awhile from reality, of course.

Re:Do i need Erlang? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180871)

That said, I will watch the progress of these languages designed specifically for the task, though I don't see them unseating C/C++/Java any time soon.

I think I prefer languages matched primarily to the problem the program is solving, rather than languages matched primarily to the hardware used to run the program (primarily; some degree of the latter is necessary, for example if your hardware is a GPU or an FPGA). ;)

No. (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180723)

Harnessing muli-cpu machines with these installed is going to be.... Interesting.

No more interesting than existing many-core machines.

Seriously, having a couple dozen or more cores is nothing new.

Re:No. (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181097)

Think of the shared memory bus. Won't somebody please think of the shared memory bus!?! It's going to get clogged with so many cores.

Re:No. (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184923)

HyperTransport is not a big truck! It's a series of tunnels!

Re:No. (0, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182123)

Nope but it sucks for anything processor intensive.

My 3.5ghz Pentium 4 with the useless multithreading turned off kicks the crap out of HD Video rendering than anything else. I can view full res REDOne video on it smooth without hickups, I CANT on a Quad core 2.2ghz box.

They need to get the core speeds back up. Even in gaming the Single core old crap with a higher clock speed kicks the new stuff.

6 cores rocks for SQL or anything that is SMP capable and highly multithreaded. But for the stuff that is single thread design or needs brute force you cant beat a high clock rate cingle core.

Re:No. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183465)

Well, yes you can, you just have to design your software competently. And I'm pretty sure that today's chip designs allow them to be faster per core than your old 3.5GHz P4, just by the massively improved branch prediction, faster/integrated memory bus etc.

I don't know why games tend to still be single threaded. I would think video encoding could be parallelised quite nicely too. It'll just take some work.

Actually, after a quick google - avidemux, ffmpeg and mencoder have supported threads for some time.

Re:No. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187365)

And I'm pretty sure that today's chip designs allow them to be faster per core than your old 3.5GHz P4,

The fact that single-core speeds have now climbed back up certainly does not negate the point he was making. Scalar speed is very important, and exponential diminishing returns result from attempting threading with most common CPU-intensive tasks.

I would think video encoding could be parallelised quite nicely too.

And, for the most part, you'd be wrong. In the worst case, you get about a 10% speed-up even with a well-designed codec.

Actually, after a quick google - avidemux, ffmpeg and mencoder have supported threads for some time.

This is called knowing just enough to be dangerous...

Yes, libavcodec has a "threads" option. It just happens to suck, however. Slice-based threading works wonderfully in a very narrow, controlled scenario, but does next to nothing in most cases.

And for decoding, with H.264 in particular, it's really not possible to get much of a speed-boost with threading... at least not without cheating and scarificing quality by skipping steps, like some commercial decoders seem to do.

Re:No. (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187601)

Single core performance have not just climbed back up, it has increased by a factor of ~3.

If you take a single thread task, and run in on a 3.5GHz Pentium IV, and then run the same task on a new quad core chip form Intel/Amd,
then the quad core chilp will finish the task 3 times faster. (Give or take, depending on exact instruction mix, sse usage and so on).

(And yes that is for single core task, if the task were threaded, you might gain a factor of 10).

Re:No. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187677)

Games tend to be single-threaded because of the lowest common denominator. No point making the game run faster on a Core2 Quad if a chunk of your market is still single-core, where such threading will actualy degrade performance.

If it runs acceptably on a fast P4, then a single core of the Core2 is going to own it anyways.

Rendering is outsourced middleware (usualy from I.D., Epic, or Valve) in the majority of games, and generally *is* multi-threaded at one point or another (even the core rendering API, DirectX, utilizes some threading.)

Re:No. (4, Informative)

default luser (529332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183715)

You've already made this comment before, and I've already responded, so I'll keep it short and sweet.

If you're using a slow 2.2 GHz Quad core, that's not the fault of the industry, that's the fault of YOU. I have already made it clear that the top-end Core 2 Duo chips [newegg.com] would run circles around your P4, but apparently you'd prefer to pretend they don't exist. As for your dog-slow quad core, that was YOUR purchasing decision. You can purchase MUCH FASTER [newegg.com] quad cores [newegg.com] today for reasonable prices, but apparently you're still suck in the year 2006.

The reason Core 2 / Quad destroys the P4 despite having a slower clock speed: Core 2 ups the Instructions Per Clock versus the Pentium 4. The increase is between %60 and %100 more IPC. If you read my previous response to you on the subject [slashdot.org] , you'd actually know that, instead of continuing to spout your ignorant bullshit.

And if you can't find a video codec with multiple core support, you're looking in the wrong place. Video decode is one of those embarrassingly-easy things to parallelize, and so your "boast" is really just outing you as a lazy bastard who can't take five seconds to search Google.

Re:No. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187217)

Core 2 also has a shorter pipeline than P4, and a better branch predictor. It spends a lot less time just throwing away results than P4.

Re:No. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187495)

top-end Core 2 Duo chips would run circles around your P4, but apparently you'd prefer to pretend they don't exist.

He is making a point about the diminishing value of multiple cores. The fact that the industry has (finally) gotten back up to the point where a single core is clocked faster than a 10 year-old chip doesn't negate the point at all...

And if you can't find a video codec with multiple core support, you're looking in the wrong place. Video decode is one of those embarrassingly-easy things to parallelize,

EXCEPT for H.264, where decoding is highly serialized. The only way to thread it to a significant extent is by skipping some of those steps, and sacrificing quality... That's what the likes of CoreAVC do, hoping nobody notices. That's why Blu-Ray video is divided up into quadrants.

And since threading doesn't work for H.264, why bother? Any other codec is efficient enough that even high bitrate, highdef video can be decoded with a single core on much older machines.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28184107)

I assure you my 3.6Ghz Core 2 Duo will cause severe harm to your 3.5Ghz P4.

Re:No. (1)

Gldm (600518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184813)

How bout the 4.0Ghz Core 2 Duo I paid $10 for last month?

No really, Newegg was selling E5200s for $10 extra on bundle with a Lexmark X4850, and I needed a printer. So hey, $10 CPU, how bad can it be? So I throw it in a P45 board and shake some DDR2 out of the box o random dimms, and it turns out it really likes 12x333 at stock voltage with a cheap heatsink. Since the board supports the 333/1333fsb officially, the rest of it runs at stock speeds like ddr2 1066. Prime95 and HyperPi run all day without crashing so I figure it's good.

Not sure exactly what Mr. Single Core is doing wrong, but I would think anyone who could afford the cameras for a REDOne setup would be able to afford a big GPU accelerated setup for their HD rendering and not worry so much about CPUs anymore.

Re:No. (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184185)

My 3.5ghz Pentium 4 with the useless multithreading turned off kicks the crap out of HD Video rendering than anything else.

Try a Core i7 at around 3GHz and be amazed.

If you have a multi-threaded app, you get 8 really usable threads. Running six copies of LAME at the same time, I can convert a 12-track CD into MP3 in about 60 seconds on a 3.33GHz i7 920.

Video conversion is similarly speedy, although HD isn't as good without a lot of memory, too, as there's a lot more bits to move around.

Re:No. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28185087)

You can only make a single horse so big. Eventually you'll need a team of horses to pull a wagon quickly. It's that the P4's pipeline and memory access pattern is highly tuned for streaming data like your REDOne (I'm assuming 4K? Or 3K? You don't really specify). Your quad-core 2.2GHz box could easily do it if you had a competent decoder that properly multi-threaded. I can decode 1080p on CPU with maybe 60% total CPU usage on a 2.4GHz dual-core AMD chip with a multi-threaded H.264 decoder.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28185553)

So whoever wrote your h.246 decoder doesn't know how to parallelise the decoding, or doesn't care.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187771)

Nehalem processors dynamically scale. If only two of the four cores are being used, those two will get more juice and the frequency will be higher. The same if only one core is being used. Power all but shutdown to the idle cores.

Re:Do i need Erlang? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181053)

Nope. This is a server CPU. Things like Database servers already scale. well.
Virtualazation by definition will scale well.
Or to put it in simple terms.
You know that old four server with 8 cores total? You can now replace it with a two socket machine with 12 cores total.
Or you know that four socket 16 core server? Well you can now upgrade that to a 24 core server.

NoKtUrNaL005 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28180555)

this crap is fucking crazy how can they do this

Finally (1, Funny)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180673)

I'll be finally able to run Crysis at a decent framerate.

Re:Finally (3, Insightful)

Kotoku (1531373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180977)

I'll be finally able to run Crysis at a decent framerate.

Just in time to be behind the curve for Crysis 2!

i'm pretty sure it'll be able to run crysis, but.. (0, Redundant)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 5 years ago | (#28180803)

can it run crysis 2?

Another test at anandtech.com (4, Informative)

IYagami (136831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181029)

http://it.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3571 [anandtech.com]

Includes information about virtualization performance: http://it.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.aspx?i=3571&p=9 [anandtech.com]

Conclusion:
"The six-core Opteron is not an alternative to the mighty Xeons in every application. The Xeons are more versatile thanks to the higher clockspeeds, higher IPC, Hyperthreading and higher bandwidth to memory. The Xeon 55xx series is clearly the better choice in OLTP, ERP, webserving, rendering and there is little doubt that it will continue to reign in the bandwidth intensive HPC workloads. There are two types of applications where we feel that the AMD six-core deserves your attention: decision support databases and virtualization."

Re:Another test at anandtech.com (2, Interesting)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184373)

I believe Anandtech is showing it's bias here. I had heard great things about the Xeon 55xx series CPUs so I went and bought a couple of servers. Specifically one web server and one database server. I also had Opteron-based servers performing the same tasks. My webservers are load balanced using a hardware load balancer. During January I was under an extremely heavy load scenario. I ended up having to weight more traffic to the Opteron servers because the Xeons were choking under 100% cpu load. I barely squeaked by as all my servers were quite overloaded but once you get to a certain threshold Xeon performance seems to drop sharply.

Rendering Intel has always been king but everywhere else Opterons have performed better for me again and again. I'm 100% 64bit though and I haven't tested virtualization performance yet.

Re:Another test at anandtech.com (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28185487)

Wow, you mean for _just you_ your old Opterons perform better than a chip that is quite superior to it in every way including memory bandwidth?

I think _someone's_ showing their bias here...

Re:Another test at anandtech.com (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28186397)

Who said anything about old Opterons? The chips are not superior in every way so thanks for playing.

Re:Another test at anandtech.com (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28187615)

Are they seriously touting hyperthreading as a benefit? It's a dubious-enough feature, but with 4 cores, it really stretches believability. I dare someone to find the one application that benefits from seeing 2 additional fake CPUs when there are already 4 real ones.

Re: (0, Flamebait)

chrispitude (535888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181035)

And nothing of value was posted.

Scary Quote from the Article (4, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181193)

[...] Not only that, but it's hitting the market early. AMD had originally planned to introduce this product in the October time frame, but the first spin of Istanbul silicon came back solid, so the firm pulled the launch forward into June. Even with the accelerated schedule, of course, Istanbul comes not a moment too soon, now that Nehalem Xeons are out in the wild.

Does anyone else think that this seems a little convenient? I'm really hoping that they didn't just tone down the testing to make it to market. I'm thinking they'll go to market and then quickly release a new revision to fix the corners that they cut the first time around. I hope I'm wrong, but AMD has been slipping lately.

Any EE's out there know the process well enough to confirm or deny my suspicions?

Re:Scary Quote from the Article (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182365)

I think AMD learned from their last mishap. It nearly destroyed the company.

Re:Scary Quote from the Article (2, Interesting)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182991)

From an interview with bit-tech [bit-tech.net] :

bit-tech: Has the launch of Istanbul been brought forward in response to Nehalem EX's updated launch date?

Patler: Istanbul being pulled in by five months is a result of excellent execution by our design and manufacturing teams who were about to take it from first stepping of silicon to production. Also, the fact that Istanbul is based on our existing socket infrastructure, enables our OEMs to save time on validation cycles that are normally associated with a new processor that delivers the performance Istanbul can.

Re:Scary Quote from the Article (3, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184101)

I'm in the silicon business. Not CPU, but still silicon.

It sounds as if AMD budgeted time for another pass at the design, and turned out not to need it. The amount of time they pulled out of the schedule looks more like a silicon pass than short-cutting testing and validation. Adding that extra pass, and making sure it was scheduled is probably a result of having been so badly burned last time, but that's good. You can always be a hero by doing better than plan.

Re:Scary Quote from the Article (1)

JF-AMD (1568173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28185937)

Actually, when we laid out the project, we planned for a major spin and some minor tweaks before we would have production silicon. The first silicon came out strong enough that our partners said "let's take it to market." No corners were cut. When you start with the solid Shanghai silicon it makes it a lot easier.

Re:Scary Quote from the Article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28187467)

Actually, testing was increased for 6Core... As our 4Core tests no longer stressed a system with 50% more cores the same way.

What changed was Process. 6Core uses all of the 'good' tech from Shanghai, then implements a few things differently (rev upgrades, etc). The reason 6Core launched soo quickly, is we learned all of our lessons on the initial quad core fiasco. We did things 'right' this time, and the result is... a launch date that is nearly 12mos ahead of the initial schedule (which was set 2yrs ago).

Personally, I trust the 6Core parts moreso than our 4Core parts... but maybe that's cause i've been testing the 6Core parts for over 8 mos and have had realatively few problems.

Trust me, we can't afford to fail, so there's no way they're going to cut corners. The last thing we want is another Cache Disable fiasco. Mark my anonymous word, 6Core is a fully tested and mother approved processor.

Yeah, but... (1, Funny)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28181217)

Yeah, but will it run a hackintosh?

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182323)

How's this offtopic? It's a legitimate question. I have an older AMD that will not run the hackintosh software. I like AMD products - they _seem_ to be faster - but I'm not spending money on this, as nice as it may be, if it won't run what I want.

Unfortunate theological implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28182041)

So if somebody builds a cluster using three of these six core processors, does that make it the Beowulf Cluster of the Beast?

Underutilized (1)

noppy (1406485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182233)

How many of your favorite app already re-written to take advantage of the additional cores?
How many of your favorite compiler already re-designed to generate codes that uses additional cores?
How many of your favorite boss already re-wired to fuss about the additional cores?

Re:Underutilized (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182667)

My favourite apps are written in Fortran, so it only takes a nice compiler to generate multiprocessor code from it. The first time I did something like that was in 2001, so the compilers have certainly been around for a while.

Speaking for Intel, spokesperson Nigel Tufnel said (1, Redundant)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182609)

Intels next processor will go to Eleven!
When asked by the reporters, as to why Eleven was chosen as the target number of cores, Nigel said
It's six louder than AMD! I mean faster...

In other news ... (1)

bkaul (1235970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182649)

Energizer corporation is now seeking to purchase AMD and fold it into the Schick lineup, in order to one-up Gillette's vibrating razor.

it's interesting, but not becase of 6c (5, Informative)

markhahn (122033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28182865)

the real news here is not the extra couple cores, but coherency snooping. this feature will make 4/8s machines far more attractive; it doesn't hurt that with 48 cores and 32 ddr3/1333 dimms, you have quite a monster. _and_ incidentally something that Intel can't currently answer.

there's no question that nehalem has put a serious dent in the market, but Intel's going quite slow in rolling out higher-end products. yes, a nehalem socket delivers about 50% more bandwidth than a current opteron socket, but show me the 8s nehalem machines. nehalem-ex is coming, but how soon and at what price?

one thing I haven't seen is any attempt to measure real SMP performance on new-gen chips. I don't mean something like Stream or VMs, where there is no real sharing inherent to the workload. how long does it take to exchange a _contended_ lock between cores (in the same socket vs remote)?

finally, the real question is whether there is actual demand for more-core chips. I'm in HPC, and we always want more, and throw good money. but it has to be smart more - the 6-core core2, for instance, was just asinine because even 2c core2 is drastically memory-bandwidth-starved. nehalem-ex seems quite promising, but if it's cheaper to cluster dual-socket machines rather than pay the premium for 4s's, the 4s market will be stunted and less successful in a self-fulfilling way...

Re:it's interesting, but not becase of 6c (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184463)

the real news here is not the extra couple cores, but coherency snooping. this feature will make 4/8s machines far more attractive; it doesn't hurt that with 48 cores and 32 ddr3/1333 dimms, you have quite a monster. _and_ incidentally something that Intel can't currently answer.

That's actually 16 channels of DDR2/800, according to page 1 of TFA. I think it's supposed to be what comes out after this one that goes to 4xDDR3 per socket.

Re:it's interesting, but not becase of 6c (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184507)

Scaling vertically hasn't been a good idea for a long time unless you're app has trouble scaling horizontally. I'm in the process of creating a proposal with a back-end database cluster considering of 4-6 nodes. Now I could achieve the same horsepower by buying an 8s or a 4s server and not have to buy as many machines but 4s servers seem to be 3 times more expensive than 2s socket servers so I can just buy more dual processor servers and scale out to achieve the target number of connections served.

Of course more servers are harder to manage and there is more hardware that can go bad although you are more tolerant of failures so its quite the trade-off.

I'd rather have faster disk I/O (2, Informative)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28184593)

We run a lot of commerical OCR (as in millions of images), which is extremely processor-intensive, disk-intensive, memory-intensive, you name it. Our current main OCR server is a dual quad-core Xeon X5355 box with 16 GB of RAM. Our OCR software multithreads and the processor is no longer the bottleneck -- it's now disk I/O. While current drives continue to increase in size, their read / write speed is what keeps us from getting work done faster. It now takes several orders of magnitude longer to build, and then export, for example, a 2 GB batch than it does to recognize it, and the holdup is entirely due to disk I/O.

SSDs help. We recently upgraded our server's OS drive to two Intel Extreme 64GB SSDs in RAID 0 (also using part of the array as a "scratchpad" for the OCR batches), and that cut the disk I/O time approximately in half -- but we're still talking almost an hour for your typical 2 GB batch. Time is money, and we'd gladly throw more money at faster infrastructure were it available. SSDs are still way too expensive to replace our existing main storage arrays, though.

So, while I appreciate continuing work in processor speed and density, I'd say I'd rather see a commensurate increase (and reduction in cost!) in disk speed at this point. Just my .02.

Re:I'd rather have faster disk I/O (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 5 years ago | (#28186141)

Maybe I'm missing something here... but if you process data in 2GB chunks shouldn't your software just keep it all in memory. Once processing is complete writing it out to one of those SSD arrays should take 10 seconds (which is nothing for 2 hours worth of processing time!!!). If you don't have access to the source code, a quick fix is to just mount a RAM drive.

Furthermore, OCR is stupidly easy to parallelize. The results of each page do not depend on previous pages. You can process each page independently on independent cpus/memory in a cluster of computers WITHOUT needing a supercomputing interconnect. It should pretty much scale linearly with cpu count! Hell for 1GB data/hour even 10base-T is overkill by a factor of 36!

To me, it sounds like you are limited by shitty programming, not disk I/O. Throwing more expensive hardware and faster arrays of expensive SSD's at the problem won't really fix it!

computers are more confusing than ever (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28183883)

Tried pricing up a decent box for some heavy-lifting, there's just so much complexity out there! It's hard to figure out where the bleeding edge is and where the most effective bang for the buck zone is behind all the blood. 286, 386, 486, a man used to be able to tell where computers sat! And then all that Pentium bullshit started. I don't know what the fuck I'm looking at. I'm crossing my fingers and going with a Tom's Hardware recommended build list.

video? (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 5 years ago | (#28186423)

Anyone have any clue how Nehalem and these multicore AMD beasts would compare for video editing or render farm applications?

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