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Topic Title: Old Opteron vs New Phenom
Topic Summary: Deciding what to buy.
Created On: 11/30/2007 02:23 PM
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 11/30/2007 02:23 PM
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tymaoaretae
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I have an old dual Opteron 246 system that I put together the week the Opteron 246 was launched. The machine has served me well, keeping up with much newer machines all these years. Unfortunately the PCI bus on the motherboard has become flakey (it only works every other restart, so half the time all of my PCI cards disappear). In any case, it has become apparent that I need a new machine. Unfortunately I don't have the $5K I spent on this machine back then to spend on a new one, so I'm looking to do this really cheap. It looks like I could get a Phenom and an AM2 motherboard pretty cheap, and DDR2 ram is extremely cheap. I got a PCIe 7800GTX from a friend who's not using it to replace the AGP 6800GT I had. The thing that makes me wary is that my Opterons are 2Ghz, and they're like 4 years old, the brand new Phenoms are only 2.2Ghz. I'd like to get an idea of how much faster a quad core 2.2Ghz Phenom would be than my dual 2Ghz Opterons. Two more cores is good for me (I've got a lot of processes running all the time) but the fact that after 4 years I'd only be gaining 200Mhz feels odd. So how much faster is a new Phenom core clock-for-clock than an old Opteron core?

Thanks.
 12/01/2007 08:45 AM
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zir_blazer
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At the same Frequency, K10 based Processors are slight faster with Integer operations, but its SSE units are substantially faster. Besides, if you do Multitasking while having heavy workload or even using Multithreaded applications (That if you had a Server machine, you probabily do), then you are pretty much having slighty more than twice the processing power.
Don't forget neither that what you buyed 4 years ago was high end Server stuff at its time, that you are going to replace with almost budget Desktop components that can still mop the floor with it.
 12/01/2007 12:57 PM
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alexfort93
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I would just buy a new board, K10 needs to mature a little. I'm not going to start looking at Phenom until atleast March

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 12/01/2007 12:59 PM
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vsingh
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Phenom/K10 is brand new stuff. I would wait until it goes thru a revision or two and then go for it. Stay with ur 246 for now; its plenty fast for most apps and operating systems.
 12/01/2007 01:02 PM
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PorscheRacer14
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I'd go with the Phenom setup. He would be getting the new boards most likely. But yeah, some more ironing out needs to be done, but it's definietely coming along.

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 12/01/2007 01:05 PM
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alexfort93
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Hmm I can't still see why he would want to go with Phenom. Depending of whether its for business or not, Phenom would be a no-no. I would wait for a newer revision processor and motherboard. Gotta let things mature.

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MSI 790GX-G65| Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz | Asetek 550LC | 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 | Asus 4870 | Seagate 640GB | WD 500GB | VX450 | Antec P180 | Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
 12/01/2007 01:58 PM
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tymaoaretae
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This is for personal use. I've got an 8 core Opteron system on my desk at work and some bigger machines available as needed. Maturity is not an issue for me at home as long as it works (note I bought my current Opterons the week they came out). I do a lot of parallel programming, and I've got a Sun E4500 as well with 12 400Mhz UltraSPARC chips that I use for experimenting, but as a day to day desktop it's not so great, and I can't use it for many things because they just don't run on SPARC. I'd like to have 4 cores on my desktop, but getting two dual core opterons is still more expensive, more so now that I'd need to replace my motherboard as well. I think it will still come down to "how much faster is a single core of the 2.2Ghz Phenom than the 2Ghz Opteron 246" because I'm only going to upgrade if I end up with 2 more cores AND noticably better single threaded performance. Otherwise I'll find a replacement motherboard for my 246s on ebay for now. Though I'm not keen on putting more money into this machine for zero performance increase. The Phenoms (and related components) are just so cheap that it's really tempting.
 12/01/2007 02:34 PM
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PorscheRacer14
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Well the main problem with Phenom right now is some of the overclocking features and enhanced performance profiles on memory. I'm guessing you won't be overclocking your system so that issue wouldn't be a bother to you. Thhe main issue seems to be BIOS related so a new BIOS wshould correct all or most of these issues and add performance. I'd say price out some stuff you like and compare it with your current investment. In your case, the Phenom might start looking pretty good, even with some of it's early quibbles.

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 12/01/2007 03:04 PM
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alexfort93
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Yeah, exactly what Porsche said. If you don't overclock then Phenoms good as it is right now.

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 12/02/2007 11:00 AM
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mbjbdc
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i am running a phenom 9500 with a biostar tf 560a2 with no problems
i am not a overclocker. but i tried the automatic overclock feature in the bios work great

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 12/02/2007 11:15 AM
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kazgirl
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Hi mbjbdc,

Any chance you can post some benchmark resutls, just to get an idea.....

Maybe a quick 3dmark06, just to see how things are...??

I've got the 9500 in a Nf 590 mobo, and there are a few problems with it, so I'd be really interested in seeing your results....

Thanks

Kaz

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3DMark06 = 20717 / 3DMark Vantage = P13618 / My Overclock Guide / My Troubleshooting Guide
 12/03/2007 01:01 AM
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mbjbdc
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running linux
is there a linux program that is similar?

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Biostar TA-990FXE-Extreme
amd-fx8120 @3.7 1.2750 V
corsair ddr3-1866 16GB
ocz-vertex3-240
windows 8 rtm
 12/03/2007 11:09 AM
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PorscheRacer14
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I have no clue...I don't know of any Linux benchamrking programs personally. Do you have a game with a benchamrk built in? Such as Crysis, Call of Juarez and so on? Even if it's run on on windows emulator (I can't remember what it's called) it would give us an idea. If not, well I guess anything would be helpful

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 12/03/2007 02:00 PM
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mbjbdc
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i got 3 removable hard dvive bays
i have a vista 64 disk i could install on another drive. is there a program that will benchmark on vista 64?
on download page 3dmark is xp only?

-------------------------
Biostar TA-990FXE-Extreme
amd-fx8120 @3.7 1.2750 V
corsair ddr3-1866 16GB
ocz-vertex3-240
windows 8 rtm
 12/03/2007 02:10 PM
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PorscheRacer14
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3DMark '06 will work in Vista, you jsut have to run it under administrator mode. 3DMark '03 also works by using admin mode in Vista. The PCMarks from 01 to 05 don't work in Vista. Futuremark has a new Vista only benchmark tool called PCMark Vantage. You can find our bechmarks here.

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 12/03/2007 02:53 PM
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blizard
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mbjbdc
i got 3 removable hard dvive bays
You could use Windows XP 64 bit edition pro as a trail version to do all your Windows XP 64 bit benchmark on for free?


MS Download for trail version

It might take some time to download, but then you have a fully working Windows XP 64 bit edition which should be good to make benchmark with. You don't need to activate it until after 14 day, so it should be a working for your need and then just re-format hard disk to get rid of it.

All classical benchmark should work as Windows XP 64 bit can run all 32 bit application with few exception. Do just remember to disconnect from internet during benchmark as you probably will not have Anvirus working in the back ground or NIC to interfere wiht your result.

7-zip is a compression and de-compression application which have built in benchmarking capabilities. You could use it both measure artificial numbers (pure memory bandwidth) and then run it with some large text file (can be compressed most) and time those measurement. It is possible to make a bat file which is a text file you write in notepad (all windows have this editor) and change extension to "file_to_compress.bat". This will make timing a an easy thing if it is made correct within batch shell from Windows XP.

FYI, LINUX command and XP command isn't that different, so I would think you can find your way around or ask for help here to make a real world test for compressing and de-compressing file with simple creating batch file.

I found that in cmd.exe (command mode) you will find a command called "time" use this "time /T" where it will not wait for new time to be entered, just display computers time. That would make it possible to count a time delta from start to finishing a task.

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Edited: 12/03/2007 at 03:04 PM by blizard
 12/03/2007 03:27 PM
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PorscheRacer14
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The XP Pro X64 driver support isn't that great though, just so you know. I had it for a while, but quickly moved to Vista X64 becasue of the better driver and program support, even it's early bets stages with it's ups and downs.

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 12/04/2007 01:36 PM
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tymaoaretae
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Maybe it's just me, or completely coincidental, but I have only ever had one driver issue with Windows XP x64, and that was with an ATI TV Wonder Pro. I don't even know if the board worked to begin with, I got it in a batch of computer stuff that someone was throwing away. In any case, I've been using XP x64 exclusively as my windows install for ~2.5 years now (including betas) and haven't had any problems with it since the release. It's possible that I'm not using it hard enough...I mostly run gentoo linux and solaris, but I do use windows for gaming, and I play a lot of games when I've got free time (most recently everything in Orange Box and a taste of Tabula Rasa).


As for the result of the initial purpose of this thread:

I bought a Phenom 9500, an Asus M2N32-SLI board, and 4GB of Corsair XMS DDR2 800. I had only 3 problems during the install (well 4, but one was trivial). The first, and biggest problem was that I couldn't boot the Phenom with the bios on the board. I sort of expected this, so I ran to my office and borrowed an AM2 4200+ from one of the machines there. After swapping the chips and updating the bios (to rev 1503), I put the phenom in and the thing POSTed. At that point I reached the second problem. I had originally only installed 2 of the 4GB of ram (2 DIMMs) because I didn't feel like opening up the second package and I wanted to get something booted. When I put the second 2 DIMMs in, the system would no longer POST. After a bit of investigation, I noticed that the DIMMs said "2.1V" on the side, but the bios said the memory voltage was 1.8. I increased the voltage on the DIMMs to 2.1v and put the other 2 DIMMs back in and the system once again POSTed successfully. At that point I configured the BIOS, I enabled the SLI profile for the RAM because the DIMMs claimed they supported SLI profiles, and then the timings displayed in the DRAM configuration were 4-4-3-12-2T. I rebooted and it POSTed fine, and this is where I hit the third problem. Windows wouldn't boot. I dug out my x64 disc and used the repair feature, and it took forever, but it finally completed and windows booted fine on the next attempt. Then I installed the chipset drivers and rebooted and shut down to put my sound card back in (X-Fi gaming edition) and hook up all the little wires that go to various things (front panel USB, 1394, sound, etc). Upon rebooting I got my 4th and final problem. DISK BOOT FAILURE! It turns out the SATA cable that fit perfectly snugly on my old Tyan board was very loose in the new Asus board, so I swapped it for one of the cables that came with the board (which clicked in nicely and seemed very secure) and rebooted. Once I got the drivers for everything installed, the system was in good shape. It's noticeably faster than the Opterons, and I can finally turn the settings up in games (though that's probably due to the 7800gtx vs my 6800gt). It's also much cooler/quieter. The Phenom has cool'n'quiet, the Opterons did not. I had ThermalTake SilentBoost fans on the Opterons, but they're old now and no longer Silent. I just used the cooler that came with the Phenom and it's much quieter. The one thing I am displeased with is that I still can't put the system in standby and have it come back successfully. I always had this problem with the Opterons (and I've seen this problem in every Opteron workstation I've encountered), but in my experience, the desktop chips tend to do this just fine. The Phenom, it seems, is an exception. Anyway, thanks for all of the replies. I decided that the parts were so cheap that it was worth it, especially since I had a free video card I couldn't use without a PCIe slot, and a sound card I couldn't use because my PCI bus kept disappearing. Two extra cores and twice the ram was really just a bonus. It was under $500 when all was said and done...which is ~$300 less than each one of the Opterons cost me originally.
 12/04/2007 04:32 PM
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PorscheRacer14
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Awesome! Glad to see you got all working...with a Phenom too! Enjoy it, you're one fo the lucky few with a Phenom here.

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 12/06/2007 11:04 PM
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tymaoaretae
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Another update to this: I thought all was well and good with my setup, but I was wrong!!! Just because it was faster than my Opterons did *not* mean it was running correctly. I was messing around and I opened up CPU-Z and noticed that my HT links were running at 205Mhz. This seemed really wrong since the HT links on my Opteron system ran at 1000Mhz, so after a bit of looking around I discovered that this was indeed bad! (Note, I was still getting higher framerates in games than I was with my Opterons + 6800GT). I grabbed nTune from nVidia's site, which I've used in the past to mess with my video card settings and with it I was able to change the multiplier on my HT links from 1x to 5x. This worked great, my HT links are now running at 1005Mhz, and my frame-rates more than doubled! So anyone who's running a Phenom on an ASUS board, I suggest you check your HT links and make sure they're at full speed.
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