next cpu for virtualization

Daniel Fussell dfussell at
Fri May 11 15:20:23 MDT 2012

It's time for me to update my Xen machines, and I'm out looking for new 
hardware.  When I first bought my Xen hosts, AMD was kicking tail and 
taking names; the on-board memory controller and hypertransport in 
particular was a big bonus in the regard.  Then I shifted my attention 
to more pressing system matters, and stopped following the CPU wars.

But now as I compare my options of a Sandy-Bridge Xeon vs a Bulldozer 
Opteron, it looks like AMD has had it's butt handed to it on a platter, 
at least on benchmarker's windows-based desktops.  I haven't been able 
to find anything on the server side though to see if the new dual 
integer modules would hold up in server virtualization, as AMD says was 
the design goals.  I suspect that AMD's reduction from 3 to 2 ALU's per 
thread is going to kill server performance just as it did with the 
desktop, though it pains me to say so.

Does anyone have any experience with the new Opterons that can confirm 
if they are DOA performance-wise?  Or does recompiling with special gcc 
flags to optimize the multiply ordering restore AMD's standing for 
threaded server performance?

;-Daniel Fussell

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