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Linux Journal: Ultimate Linux Box: A Work in Progress

Aug 15, 2003, 11:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glenn Stone)

"Being as LinuxWorld was last week and some of you have seen the box already, I thought I would let the rest of you in on the surprise we have in store and some changes to the design of the Ultimate Linux Box we had to make based on that surprise.

"The surprise is this year's ULB will be a dual Opteron workstation. Early rumors said the Opteron boards would end up being AGP-less for a while, but that turned out not to be the case. The current platform is a pair of Opteron 242's atop an Arima workstation board, which contains an 8x AGP slot, 32-bit PCI slots, optional onboard Serial-ATA interfaces, USB-2 ports and a Broadcom gigabit Ethernet port. I haven't yet had a chance to run the benchmark suite I mentioned last time against the machine, but initial indications say the machine is amazingly fast, due in part to the Opteron's HyperTransport direct, dual-channel memory bus. The one kernel compile I tried before giving up the machine for use at LinuxWorld completed in a stunning four minutes. This particular motherboard has a unique setup; instead of mandating that memory be installed in pairs, as do so many other boards, this one accepts a single DIMM in Slot 1. It simply uses only one of the two HyperTransport channels. Of course, this means your memory access speed is halved, but if you're trying to diagnose hardware issues, it sure does make the job easier..."

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