[Bioclusters] SGI Altix benchmarking whitepaper

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Tue Feb 7 19:07:08 EST 2006

> >> Results of the tests revealed that the SGI Altix 330 using shared
> >> memory and unmatched I/O throughput achieved superior
> >> performance and ran faster than twice the number of cores in
> >> comparable AMD dual core Opteron-based systems.

well, it's a marketing paper: it's not in SGI's interest
to explore the whole vast, many-dimensional configuration space 
to find the absolute best way to configure Opteron systems.
there's no doubt It2's run some code very well, and that SGI's 
NUMAflex is a very nice interconnect.

but any honest reader must wonder:
    - what would the results be for 8 processors?  (that is, 
    higher-clocked Opterons, and not dual-core to avoid memory
    - what are the relative prices of the systems tested?
    - was the Opteron configured with 8 banks of PC3200?
    - why was sles9 used rather than sles10?
    - why was gcc 3.3.3 used rather than 4.x or even 3.4.5?
    - is mpich-1.2.7-ch_shmem really an optimal choice?
    - which version of PGI was used on opterons?  switches?
    - for the Opteron benchmarks compiled with Intel compilers,
    was it running actual SSE3 codepaths, or defaulting to PIII?
    - is Intel LAPACK/MKL better or worse on Opterons than ACML/etc?

regards, mark hahn.

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