[nSLUG] Atom vs Xeon

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Fri Apr 30 14:14:33 ADT 2010


These guys seem to think it works:

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22504/

FAWN - Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes

I find the extremetech article to be simplistic and confusing.

> "The Atom's advantages were also mitigated by the fixed power
>  requirements of a data center. To match the throughput of a datacenter
>  full of Xeons..."

What does "fixed power requirements of the data center" have to do
with "throughput"? Throughput of what? Electrons?

> On paper the Atom is more efficient. In reality the Atom simply can't do
> the work of the more powerful Xeon.

If the "on paper" and "in reality" versions of the Atom processor are
different, then there has been a manufacturing problem, LOL!

-D.

On 30 April 2010 11:45, Stephen Gregory <nslug at kernelpanic.ca> wrote:
> George N. White III wrote:
>
>>
>> See: <http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2362982,00.asp>
>
> Interesting article.
>
>
>> "The large power cost of the Xeon is not justified by relatively modest
>> increases in
>> sustainable throughput," the researchers concluded."
>
> The is an odd conclusion given that the researchers found that even
> large numbers of Atom processors could not run the tested work load
> effectively. (Microsoft's Bing search engine. see the paper for details.)
>
>  "The problem, the researchers concluded, is that the Atom is
>  fundamentally weaker in processing the neural network algorithms that
>  assign page rankings, even at a minimum load of 10 queries per
>  second."
>
> also:
>
>  "The Atom's advantages were also mitigated by the fixed power
>  requirements of a data center. To match the throughput of a datacenter
>  full of Xeons, the researchers found that seven times as many Atoms
>  would be required, increasing the total power consumption to three
>  times that of the Xeon and well above a typical power budget."
>
> On paper the Atom is more efficient. In reality the Atom simply can't do
> the work of the more powerful Xeon. The Atom is an in-order processor
> designed to be idle most of the time handling user loads with a few
> threads. The Xeon is an out-of-order processor designed to be fully
> loaded all the time by many threads.
>
>
>> "By integrating up to eight Diamondville cores into a single chip and
>> building a system
>> with two sockets, amortization once again highlights Atom efficiency.
>> As per our computed
>> cost... an integrated low-power multi-processors would be competitive
>> with a cost and
>> power efficiency advantage of 1.03× and 2.3× over the Xeon."
>
> I believe this is a naive assumption. In order to build an eight core
> Diamondville cpu extra logic would need to be added raising the power
> requirements.
>
> The idea has merit Sun's T2 (Niagara 2) processor is 8 low power in
> order cores. The T2 is an efficient processor provided it is fully
> loaded with 64 threads. It is a great file and web server. However the
> L5420 Xeon used in the paper is faster for less power. The new Nehalem
> processors are much faster for less power.
>
>
> --
> sg
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