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Bang for the Buck

Dec 01, 2009, 13:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeremy Zawodny)

"If your servers are aging and your CPU-bound application servers or analytic databases could use a speed boost, now may be a great time to swap in some new Nehalem (Xeon EX) based machines. Doing so is a great way to modernize your servers with replacements that use less power, can accommodate more DRAM, and provide noticably higher single and multi-threaded performance for the same power utilization of previous generations. Modern quad-core Nehalem processors use Hyper-threading to provide 8 virtual CPU cores (as far as Linux is concerned). Replacing an older generation Dual CPU, Dual Core AMD box with a modern Dual CPU, Quad Core Intel Nehalem machine means going from 4 cores to 16. Combined with the increased memory sized that are supported on the newer machine, you can load lot more concurrent work onto a single box that draws less power.

"Looking ahead to next year, Intel is expected to release the 6 (”Gulftown”) and 8 (”Beckton”) core Nehalem based CPUs. That means two primary things if you’re willing to wait. First is the obvious: you’ll get even more bang for the buck in the form of higher density and concurrency (up to 32 “cores” in a dual-processor machine with Hyper-threading), not to mention any incremental improvements Intel throws in along the way. Secondly, the release of the next generation always means the the price of the existing generation is pushed down even farther. That means you can expect to see some very affordable quad core machines in the market."

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