"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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