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Opteron beats Xeon in power efficiency: benchmark firm

Posted: 04 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel AMD chips? power efficiency in servers? power efficiency benchmark performance?

In 36 out of 57 cases tested, an AMD Opteron-based server delivered better power efficiency than a comparably configured Intel Xeon-based server. This is according to the white paper "Power consumption vs. memory size" published by Neal Nelson & Associates, an independent computer performance consulting firm.

The tests were performed on servers configured with 2-, 4-, 6- and 8Gbytes of main memory at various transaction processing load levels. The results show that, for certain configurations and at certain load levels, the Intel Xeon-based server was 2.4-11.7 percent more power efficient while in other cases, the AMD Opteron-based server was 9.2-23.1 percent more power efficient. When the systems were idle and waiting for transactions to process, the AMD server was 30.4 to 53.1 percent more power efficient.

Power consumption during idle mode is particularly significant for servers. On average, servers in data centers are idle 80 to 85 percent of the time, according to the Robert Frances Group.

Other observations were noted based on the test results including:

? Larger memory configurations deliver both higher throughput and better energy efficiency
? Intel's power efficiency advantages decrease as memory size increases
? AMD's power efficiency advantages increase as memory size increases
? For primarily calculation workloads the Xeon delivers 8 to 14 percent higher peak throughput, and
? For primarily disk I/O intensive workloads the Opteron delivers 11.3 to 19.4 percent higher peak throughput.

These test results were collected by Neal Nelson's second-generation Server Power Efficiency Benchmark. This test is a client server benchmark where Internet transactions are processed against a server configured with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the Apache2 web server software and the MySQL relational database. The benchmark subjects a server to various user loads, reports the power consumed at each load level and provides comparisons of server power usage.

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