Posts Tagged ‘amd istanbul’

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AMD Istanbul and Intel Nehalem-EP: Street Prices

June 22, 2009

It’s been three weeks after the official launch of AMD’s 6-core Istanbul processor and we wanted to take a look at prevailing street prices for the DIY upgrade option.

Istanbul Pricing (Street)

AMD “Istanbul” Opteron™ Processor Family
2400 Series Price 8400 Series Price
2.6GHz Six-Core, 6-Thread
AMD Opteron 2435 (75W ACP)
$1060.77 2.6GHz Six-Core, 6-Thread
AMD Opteron 8435 (75W ACP)
$2,842.14
2.4GHz Six-Core, 6-Thread
AMD Opteron 2431 (75W ACP)
$743.74
$699.00
2.4GHz Six-Core, 6-Thread
AMD Opteron 8431 (75W ACP)
$2,305.70
2.2GHx Six-Core, 6-Thread
AMD Opteron 2427 (75W ACP)
$483.82
$499.99

Nehalem-EP/EX Pricing (Street)

After almost two months on the market, the Nehalem has been on the street long enough to see a 1-3% drop in prices. How does Istanbul stack-up against the Nehalem-EP/Xeon pricing?

Intel “Nehalem” Xeon Processor Family
EP Series Price EX Series Price
2.66GHz Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EP X5550 (95W TDP) $999.95
$999.99
Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EX TDB
2.4GHz Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EP E5530 (80W TDP) $548.66
$549.99
Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EX TBD
2.26GHz Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EP E5520 (80W TDP) $400.15
$379.99
2.26GHz Quad-Core, 8-Thread Intel Xeon EP L5520 (60W TDP) $558.77
$559.99

Compared to the competing Nehalem SKU’s, the Istanbul is fetching a premium price. This is likely due to the what AMD perceives to be the broader market that Istanbul is capable of serving (and its relative newness relative to demand, et al). Of course, there are no Xeon Nehalem-EX SKU’s in supply to compare against Istanbul in the 4P and 8P segments, but in 2P, it appears Istanbul is running 6% higher at the top bin SKU and 27% higher at the lower bin SKU – with the exception of the 60W TDP part, upon which Intel demands a 13% premium over the 2.2GHz Istanbul part.

This last SKU is the “green datacenter” battleground part. Since the higher priced 2.6GHz Istanbul rates a 15W (ACP) premium over the L5520, it will be interesting to see if system integrators will compare it to the low-power Xeon in power-performance implementations. Comparing SPECpower_ssj2008 between similarly configured Xeon L5520 and X5570, the performance-per-watt is within 2% for relatively anemic, dual-channel 8GB memory configurations.

In a virtualization system, this memory configuration would jump from an unusable 8GB to at least 48GB, increasing average power consumption by another 45-55W and dropping the performance-per-watt ratio by about 25%. Looking at the relative performance-per-watt of the Nehalem-EP as compared to the Istanbul in TechReport’s findings earlier this month, one could extrapolate that the virtualization performance-per-watt for Istanbul is very competitive – even with the lower-power Xeon – in large memory configurations. We’ll have to wait for similar SPECpower_ssj2008 in 4P configurations to know for sure.

System Memory Pricing (Street)

System memory represents 15-20% of system pricing – more in very large memory foot prints. We’ve indicated that Istanbul’s time-to-market strategy shows a clear advantage (CAPEX) in memory pricing alone – more than compensating for the slight premium in CPU pricing.

System Memory Pricing
DDR2 Series (1.8V) Price DDR3 Series (1.5V) Price

4GB 800MHz DDR2 ECC Reg with Parity CL6 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 (5.4W)
$100.00

4GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC Reg w/Parity CL9 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 w/Therm Sen (3.96W)

$138.00

4GB 667MHz DDR2 ECC Reg with Parity CL5 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 (5.94W)
$80.00

4GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC Reg w/Parity CL7 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 w/Therm Sen (5.09W)
$132.00

8GB 667MHz DDR2 ECC Reg with Parity CL5 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 (7.236W)
$396.00

8GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC Reg w/Parity CL7 DIMM Dual Rank, x4 w/Therm Sen (6.36W)
$1035.00

These parts show a 28%, 40% and 62% premium price for DDR3 components versus DDR2 which indicates Istanbul’s savings window is still wide-open. Since DDR3 prices are not expected to fall until Q3 at the earliest, this cost differential is expected to influence “private cloud” virtualization systems more strongly. However, with the 0.3V lower voltage requirement on the DDR3 modules, Nehalem-EP actually has a slight adavantage from a operational power perspective in dual-channel configurations. When using tripple-channel for the same memory footprint, Nehalem-EP’s memory consumes about 58% more power (4x8GB vs. 9x4GB).

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Tyan Announces “Istanbul Ready” Systems at Computex

May 29, 2009

Tyan will be announcing full support for AMD’s upcoming “Istanbul” 6-core processor at Computex 2009 (June 2-6) for the following system SKUs:

Motherboards:

8-Socket: S4985-SI & M4985-SI

4-Socket: S4989-SI, S4992 & S8802

2-Socket: S3992-E, S2932-SI & S8212

Barebones Systems:

4-Socket: TN68-B4989-SI & GT26-B4989-LE

2-Socket: TA26-B2932-SI

We have no information on the new S8802 and S8212 motherboards or their intended systems at this time. See their announcement card here…

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Shanghai Economics 101 – Continued

May 4, 2009

Let’s look at some more real world applications of what we’ve learned from the VMmark results for Nehalem and what it means in a practical comparison. We’ll award Nehalem-EP’s SMT a 25% bonus for in our comparisons when vCPU/core count is taken into the measurement. In a 6:1 consolidation, this means 60 vCPU’s for 2P Nehalem and 48 vCPU’s for Shanghai. Using this bias, the following cost characteristics are revealed for VM’s with average memory footprints of 1.5GB, for the Nehalem-EP 3.2GHz system:

Nehalem-EP Configuration Street $ 1536MB VM’s, 1 vCPU’s Max vCPU’s (6/c) Cost/VM
2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 24GB DDR3/1333 $7,017.69 13 60 $539.82
2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 48GB DDR3/1066 $7,755.99 28 60 $277.00
2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 72GB DDR3/800 $8,708.19 42 60 $207.34
2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 96GB DDR3/1066 $21,969.99 57 60 $385.44
2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 144GB DDR3/800 $30,029.19 60 60 $500.49
2 x 2P/8C, Nehalem-EP, W5580 3.2GHz, 6.4GT QPI with 144GB DDR3/800 $60,058.38 120 120 $500.49

We’ll compare this to a Shanghai 2P system at 3.1GHz vs. the Nehalem-EP system:

Shanghai 2P/HT3 Configuration Street $ 1536MB VM’s, 1 vCPU’s Max vCPU’s (6/c) Cost/VM Savings per VM Savings %
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 32GB DDR2/800 $5,892.12 18 48 $327.34 $212.48 39.36%
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 48GB DDR2/800 $6,352.12 28 48 $226.86 $50.14 18.10%
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 64GB DDR2/533 $6,462.52 37 48 $174.66 $32.68 15.76%
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 80GB DDR2/667 $8,422.12 47 48 $179.19 $28.14 13.57%
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 96GB DDR2/667 $11,968.72 48 48 $249.35 $136.09 35.31%
2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 128GB DDR2/533 $14,300.92 48 48 $297.94 $202.55 40.47%
2 x 2P/8C Shanghai, 2393 SE, 3.1GHz, 4.4GT HT3 with 128GB DDR2/533 $28,601.83 96 96 $297.94 $202.55 40.47%

Read the rest of this entry ?

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AMD and Intel I/O Virtualization

April 26, 2009

Virtualization now reaches an I/O barrier where consolidated applications must vie for increasingly more limited I/O resources. Early virtualization techniques – both software and hardware assisted – concentrated on process isolation and gross context switching to accelerate the “bulk” of the virtualization process: running multiple virtual machines without significant processing degradation.

As consolidation potentials are greatly enhanced by new processors with many more execution contexts (threads and cores) the limitations imposed on I/O – software translation and emulation of device communication – begin to degrade performance. This degradation further limits consolidation, especially where significant network traffic (over 3Gbps of non-storage VM traffic per virtual server) or specialized device access comes into play.

I/O Virtualization – The Next Step-Up

Intrinsic to AMD-V in revision “F” Opterons and newer AM2 processors is I/O virtualization enabling hardware assisted memory management in the form of a Graphics Aperture Remapping Table (GART) and the Device Exclusion Vector (DEV). These two facilities provide address translation of I/O device access to a limited range of the system physical address space and provide limited I/O device classification and memory protection.

Combined with specialized software GART and DEV provided primitive I/O virtualization but were limited to the confines of the memory map. Direct interaction with devices and virtualization of device contexts in hardware are efficiently possible in this approach as VMs need to rely on hypervisor control of device access. AMD defined its I/O virtualization strategy as AMD IOMMU in 2006 (now AMD-Vi) and has continued to improve it through 2009.

With the release of new motherboard chipsets (AMD SR5690) in 2009, significant performance gains in I/O will be brought to the platform with end-to-end I/O virtualization. Motherboard refreshes based on the SR5690 should enable Shanghai and Istanbul processors to take advantage of the full AMD IOMMU specification (now AMD-Vi).

Similarly, Intel’s VT-d approach combines chipset and CPU features to solve the problem in much the same way. Due to the architectural separation of memory controller from CPU, this meant earlier processors not only carry the additional instruction enhancements but they must also be coupled to northbridge chipsets that contained support. This feature was initially available in the Intel Q35 desktop chipset in Q3/2007. Read the rest of this entry ?

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AMD 6-Core Opteron Demo

February 22, 2009

Chris Tom at AMD Zone let us know about a recent demo of a quad-socket, 6-core Opteron (code name “Istanbul”) running Windows Server 2008 and three virtual machines. The demonstration is a great example of how extendable socket “F” systems are and how, with a simple BIOS update and processor swap, your favorite hypervisor can add 50% more threads and capabilities.

The trick gets even better when you stay in the same power envelope. One of the biggest issues curbing adoption of the Intel 6-core Xeon has been its enormous power consumption. The Opteron “Shanghai” series (45nm) has proved to boost performance per watt considerably, so it is safe to assume a significant gain for “Istanbul” against Xeon in 6-core performance as well. This is already evident in current virtualization benchmarks where 16-core Shanghai systems best 24-core Xeons in head-to-head comparisons with VMware ESX Server 3.5.

That’s right, dual-socket systems will expand to 12-cores, 4-socket systems 24-cores and 8-socket systems top-out at 48-cores: that’s tasty virtualization goodness! In addition to scaling cores, systems with the ability to take advantage of HyperTransport 3 will get a boost, according to the TechReport article cited in Chris’ blog.

For companies investing in AMD Eco-Systems, this news is a significant milestone that stretches-out your platform investment by another 12-18 months. This again shows the excellent value provided by AMD’s “stable image” and related “validated server” platforms where system longevity is by design not by accident.