New server packs three Opterons

Opteron-based servers with one, two, or four processors are all over the place, but server manufacturers rarely experiment with more exotic chip counts. However, the folks at The Inquirer have spotted an Opteron server that packs three chips, each with two DIMM slots, on a custom motherboard.

Said server is capable of gobbling up to 16GB of RAM, and it features two PCI Express slots as well as two 4x Infiniband ports for connectivity. The goal of a three-way chip arrangement isn’t merely to serve as a curiosity, though. The Inq says a 3P Opteron system should have lower cache coherency latency than a four-way one, because each of the three chips is connected directly to the other two. Performance could therefore be theoretically higher in some workloads.

Comments closed
    • thill9
    • 12 years ago

    I think they just wanted to use the term “three-way”

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      LOL! awesome! :”D

    • bdwilcox
    • 12 years ago

    With the inexpensive nature of current CPUs, I wish they would use one CPU to do extensive, real-time testing and monitoring of the server’s components and system state. IBM used to have a PowerPC chip that did simplistic tests of its servers, but it was never really powerful enough to do granular, full system analysis.

      • Stranger
      • 12 years ago

      CPU’s can only do so much. They can’t do a think to prevent PS, hard drive memory, peripheral failure.

      I thought the reason IBM had a lockstep processing boards were for satalites and what not where cosmic rays are slightly more common. (and financial transactions)

    • Vaughn
    • 12 years ago

    Don’t the Opterons in a 4P system have direct access to each other?

    are we talking 2 socket system or 4 socket system?

    2 dual core Cpu’s or 4 single core cpus?

    • tempeteduson
    • 12 years ago

    How does a max of 16GB work out per processor or per slot? They must be unequal…

      • Byte Storm
      • 12 years ago

      It could be that the CPUs are connected to each other, then to the RAM, so that all three CPUs have access to all RAM.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    I forget, why do they make servers so much more powerful than desktops?

    In the case of a dedicated server running CSS with 16 clients, it only has to do a few things, none of which require on screen rendering:

    – manage all entities in the “physical” space of the game world.
    – receive input from clients.
    – generate packets with updated info.
    – distribute packets to clients.

    All in about the span of a few cycles. Sounds sortof tough I guess, but a desktop can run CSS in dedicated server with 16 clients no prob–er, for a LAN.

    But really, game applications like the one described above is the only scenario in which I see a server even /[

      • Vaughn
      • 12 years ago

      its not that what you are saying is retarded, just your views sound very simplistic. Once you have seen some highend servers running in a corporate environment with 5000+ users you will understand. Also many different kinda of servers out there. Could be a Web hosting server, a Data Center server etc etc. If there wasn’t a need for powerful servers the hardware would never have been made.

      Even tho you might not see the need for it, doesn’t mean the need isn’t there.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 12 years ago

        Hey thanks for the helpful answer. Even in the scenarios you’ve described, which are no doubt common uses for servers, I still can’t see why servers like the one described in the article are so powerful. 5000+ MS Outlook users certainly/[

          • just brew it!
          • 12 years ago

          Even web servers can have a lot of stuff going on “behind the scenes” that you don’t see. Sure, serving up static HTML is very undemanding; even a 5 year old desktop PC could probably handle a fairly heavy load with a little tuning. But most sites don’t work that way these days. Pages are generated “on the fly” from a database back-end. Just serving up this comment page likely involves several dozen database accesses, and running a whole bunch of PHP code.

          • ew
          • 12 years ago

          Keep in mind that web site code isn’t usually as optimized for speed as games are.

          Actually, I kind of agree with you. This probably is over kill for practically everything. My organization just bought 3 oct-core 16gigs or ram servers for a project that is running fine from a dual 2.4gz xeon box. Go figure.

          • Justice
          • 12 years ago

          If you saw how much spam an email server has to process, you’d understand. Spam can bring servers to the ground, and fast. Couple in with that, Antivirus that has scan both inbound and outbound emails and attachments, and you see just how overworked a server can get.

      • jdevers
      • 12 years ago

      You do know that computers are used for more than games and web browsing, right?

      Lets see:
      1. mail server with hundreds up to millions of e-mail accounts
      2. financial transactions for large companies or banks
      3. back end database server (even for web sites…imagine many thousands of hits per second)
      4. application server for a small office, up to MANY of these for a large office
      5. even a FILE server for a decent size audience
      6. MMORPG hosts
      7. Rendering backends
      8. obsessive folding users =)

      • StashTheVampede
      • 12 years ago

      The main reason why these machines exist:
      – Number of processors
      – Amount of RAM that can be physically installed

      Servers, by and large, have more cache per chip so their throughput is higher. Couple the individual cores with higher throughput, “double” the number of cores available to the OS AND add a lot more ram and your one box can handle the load of 2-4 machine, individually.

      Using your example from a dedicated CS server: handling the physical world is a HUGE undertaking for a 1 processor box (it *will* peg the machine at 100% if the CPU isn’t fast enough). Couple the physical world locations, passing packets through in a timely manner and enforcing map/server/config rules and that 1 processor box with little ram and low cache will get swamped quickly.

      • delsydsoftware
      • 12 years ago

      I work for a company that makes software which is used by hospitals for patient scheduling, staff scheduling, and resource management—tracking every piece of equipment in an operating room, etc. If you want a good example of quad-processor servers that are being taxed, visit your local hospital. Several of the sites I have dealt with have 15-20 quad-processor servers to manage the massive amount of data that flows through a hospital at one given time. It’s pretty staggering. And really, our software is only tapping a small part of that power.

      Some of the other servers are storing and manipulating 3d images from the MRI department, security and payroll information, finances, email systems, knowledgebases, etc. Then, there are Citrix servers, which are even bigger resource hogs. I never knew how massive hospital computer systems had to be, until I started working at this job.

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      The reason is, that your one desktop machine, can handle 16 users, yes, thats probably nearly the limit. It might even Lag some when doing that.

      Servers are generally designed to handle requests from many many clients, on the order of hundreds or thousands. And as for gaming being the only “heavy” CPU task, that is not quite true. Gaming on PC is usually the heaviest task a PC will undertake, but servers are designed for processing. Web pages you access, are not static, they are generated on the fly from databases in the back end, there is on “TR.html” file (or so I assume), theres a database containing stories, and a program that knows how to read these stories and render them in HTML so you can read them. This is how we get all of our customized pages with updated data etc. This all takes CPU power, lots of it, so you need fast servers. For a low traffic site, your desktop type machine could probably do it, but consider now, a site with moderate traffic, like TR, the server is gonna be getting even many times a second for data, you need a lot of CPU horsepower to serve all of those requests in a timely fashion. You don’t wanna sit here and wait 5 seconds while your request in the queue on a bogged down server.

      Now this is only one example of where high power servers are needed, there are others, almost any area where you have many users you will need high power servers. And disks are slow, this is why you need lots of ram, and RAID arrays to get the data faster. That doesn’t even consider scientific applications where servers are simply doing processing, but thats simple, the more power, the less time required. It may not be obvious to the average user immediately, but when you think about the big picture, its not hard to see why you need uber powerful machines to do server work.

      At one time, my job was doing performance testing on machines, and let me tell you, a lighting fast quad xeon machine may seem pretty fast when you’re the only one using it, but when you start simulating hundreds of requests per second, it quickly becomes apparent how much of demand multiple users put on a machine.

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