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One machine that I had always wanted finally came to a pricepoint I saw as a good deal. This machine as expected from this blog's title, a Sun X4600 M2. This machine originally was released in Summer 2008 with the version I have in Late 2008. Luckily the version I have has 8 AMD Opteron 8384 Quad Core CPUs for a total of 32 cores. Most configurations I had been seeing on eBay are either Dual Core or lowerend Quad Core models.

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Front

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Inside

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Hard Drives

I had the Mushkin 120gb and Western Digital Black hard drives laying around from a NewEgg sale a while back. I should note the SAS Controller on the X4600 is SATA II only, so your SATA III drives will be limited to SATA II's 300mb/sec.

One word of caution, during the initial bootup of the system the decibal level get quite extreme. After 10 seconds or so the noise gets to a bearable level, but no where near "living room" safe levels. As a result, I'm building a little rack in the garage since it stays around 50' all year round and can just use a Powerline adapter to keep it connected to my other machines.

Having purchased a HP Blade thinking I might one day own an HP Blade enclosure, I had 32gb of compatible DDR2 ECC ram laying around. One thing to note, the arrangement of ram is incredibly picky. If you're populating more than 4 DIMMs per CPU module they all need to match. I had at first just used the 16 DIMMs to populate the CPU modules as I found empty slots. Upon turning on the X4600 I was presented with only a fraction of the CPU modules and 16gb of ram (down from the 80gb it should have been). I ended up populating two CPU modules with the 16 2gb sticks I had from the HP Blade and then maxing out another with the original ram.

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Extra ram from 
HP Blade

Operating System wise I chose Windows Server 2012 R2 since I had already started utilizing Hyper-V on my NAS for FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, Windows XP and Solaris VMs. To get Windows Server 2012 R2 installed I had to use an external USB drive and reduce the ECC Ram Settings in the bios to Good. Otherwise after cycling through the onboard SAS controller it would hang.

After applying all of the Windows Updates since 2012 R2 hit RTM, I pulled up Task Manager:

Sun Sunfire X4600 M2 - Windows Server 2012 R2 

Task Manager

Immediately afterwards, I pulled open jcBENCH to see how it compared to my other systems, not surprisingly it is the current leader in the world:

[bash] jcBENCH 0.9.850.0531(x86/Win32 Edition) (C) 2012-2014 Jarred Capellman Usage: jcBench [Number of Objects] [Number of Threads] Example: jcBench 100000 4 This would process 100000 objects with 4 threads Invalid or no arguments, using default benchmark of 150000 objects using 32 CPUS CPU Information --------------------- Manufacturer: AuthenticAMD Model: Quad-Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 8384 Count: 32x2693.27mhz Architecture: x86 --------------------- Running Benchmark.... Integer: 1897 Floating Point: 2265 [/bash] Pretty impressive for a 6 year old machine I believe, a part of me wishes I was still doing 3D Animation and Visual Effects on a routine basis as this would have made a rendering back in the day so much better with 3ds max and After Effects. Going forward this will be my primary Hyper-V server.

Anyone else who’s been around long enough to remember buying an AMD Thunderbird, Palomino, Barton etc. feeling the urge to build a new AMD system to replace their existing system?

My primary desktop is still being powered by a FX-8350 I bought November 2012 - while for everything I do (mainly Visual Studio and SQL Server) coupled with my Samsung SSDs, Radeons etc. it's ok, it just feels extremely weird to not have an upgrade path (ignoring the FX-9000 series) after years of doing a new year build every year or every other year (back in Athlon XP days it was every couple months). In the mean time I've built 2 Kabini systems this year, one as a ClearOS firewall and another as a HTPC and while those have worked out extremely well, there is a void in that my primary machine is relatively unchanged for almost 2 years.

I know there is always the Intel route - an i7 would be a definite upgrade, I know it is silly, I just can't bring myself to doing it. When I switched to AMD December 2000 with a 1 GHz Athlon it seemed like more of an experiment. AMD wasn’t new to making CPUs, but it was new in beating Intel in both price and performance. I had an aging Celeron 300A and tons of new First Person Shooters to play, the Athlon made sense then and if I had to do it again, I most definitely would. The summer before, in 1999 after having worked on the Army base doing Sys Admin work I had over a $1000 to burn – I almost pulled the trigger on building the parts for a Dual Pentium 3 600mz (buying only 1 CPU that summer since they were several hundred dollars). Thankfully, my dad convinced me to instead buy a 19” iiyama CRT (1600x1200) to replace my 15” CTX CRT (1024x768) – much more bang for the buck. Thus the following Christmas in 2000 I received some money and fortunately had enough to buy an Abit KT7-A, 256mb of PC133 ram and a 1ghz AMD Athlon (Socket A) – looking back had I still had my summer job in Germany, I might have built 2 of them since they were so cheap in comparison to the Pentium 3 idea the summer before.

I hope the new AM3+ platform replacement (latest rumor I read was next year) can really bring AMD back to the top. The FM2+ platform is nice, but the lack of 8 core variants without an iGPU is I feel definitely hurting AMD especially those sitting on the AM3+ platform like myself who would love to stay with AMD, but have nothing to upgrade to.

Just a quick update, I just wrapped up the 0.9.850.0531 release of jcBENCH for Mac OS X/x86. Previously there was a much older port going back to January 2012, so it is nice to finally have it running on the same codebase as the other platforms now. So please if you've got an Apple product, please go run jcBENCH as I only have an older iMac to compare results with.

On a somewhat funny note the iMac I do all my Xamarin work on is several factors slower than my $60 AMD Athlon 5350 I use in my firewall - funny how technology catches up at a fraction of the cost.
Saturday morning after resolving my Realtek RTL8111-GR Issues on my new ClearOS box, I ran into yet another error:

nommu_map_single

Knowing the AM1 Platform that my AMD Athlon 5350 APU/ASUS AM1I-A motherboard run on more than likely does not support IOMMU like my desktop's 990FX does I figured it was a detection issue with the Linux kernel that ClearOS 6.5 utlizes.

Doing some research into the issue there are a couple adjustments to your GRUB configuration that may or may not resolve the issue. In my case adjusting my GRUB arguments upon boot to include iommu=soft resolved the issue. I'm hoping down the road with newer Linux kernels the detection (if that even is the issue) gets better, but for those running an AMD "Kabini" APU and ran into this issue you'll at least be able to boot into your Linux distribution without any issues.

As some maybe aware, I recently purchased an Asus AM1I-A for a new ClearOS machine to run as a firewall. The installation for ClearOS 6 went extremely smoothly, but upon restarting I kept receiving kernel panic errors from eth1 (the onboard Realtek RTL8111-GR). After doing some investigating, it turns out RHEL and thereby ClearOS have an issue with loading the r8169 kernel module when it detects the RTL8111 (and the 8111 variants).

Sure enough after doing an lspci -k:
[bash] 02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 11) Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Device 859e Kernel driver in use: r8169 Kernel modules: r8169 [/bash] The dreadful r8169 kernel module is the only module installed and in use. Thankfully you can download the r8168 x64-rpm here or wget http://www.jarredcapellman.com/pub/linux-x64/kmod-r8168-8.037.00-2.clearos.x86_64.rpm.

After downloading, simply run:
[bash] wget -i kmod-r8168-8.037.00-2.clearos.x86_64.rpm [/bash] and then:
[bash] modprobe r8168 [/bash] Then add Blacklist r8169 to the /etc/modprobe.d/anything.conf and then restart your machine.

Once your machine is backup, you can verify the correct r8168 module is loaded by re-running lspci -k:
[bash] 02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 11) Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Device 859e Kernel driver in use: r8168 Kernel modules: r8168, r8169 [/bash] After installing and using the r8168 module I no longer received kernel panic errors and was able to utilize the onboard RTL8111-GR without issue. Hopefully this helps someone else who ran into the same issue I did.

I received my AUS AM1I-A and AMD 5350 (Kabini) APU along with the rest of the components for my new firewall system last night (a detailed build write up will come tomorrow night). For those curious about the raw CPU Integer and Floating Point performance here are the results from my newly updated Linux port of jcBENCH.

[bash] jcBENCH 0.8.755.0504(x86/Linux Edition) (C) 2012-2014 Jarred Capellman CPU Information --------------------- Manufacturer: AuthenticAMD Model: AMD Athlon(tm) 5350 APU with Radeon(tm) R3 Count: 4x2046.077mhz Architecture: x86 --------------------- Running Benchmark.... Integer: 1.99601 seconds Floating Point: 8.44405 seconds [/bash] In comparison to my FX-8350, with a 4 threaded limit, the Kabini based APU is actually faster than my FX-8350 (3.02 and 11.67 seconds respectively). In single and dual threaded tests, I imagine the results are far different. More thorough results will come tomorrow.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I happened to be in Silicon Valley on a short vacation and Fry's Electronics luckily had an Asus X55U Notebook on sale for $258. I had been looking for a long battery life laptop that wouldn't kill me if it ever got hurt during traveling (versus my much more expensive HP laptop). On top of that, I had wanted a Linux laptop to do cross-platform testing of jcDB, jcPIMP and the Mode Xngine. Planning ahead a bit, I brought an older Corsair Force 3 90gb SSD that I was no longer using and a Philips screw driver (yes folks, screw drivers are allowed by the TSA, it just can't be more than a few inches long).

Asus X55U Notebook

Asus X55U Notebook box contents

Asus X55U OpenSUSE Boot Menu

Specifications wise the laptop has:
-15.6" 1366x768 Screen (not the greatest quality, but definitely a lot better than expected at the price point)
-AMD E2-1800 (Dual 1.7ghz APU that clocks itself down to 2x850mhz when performance isn't needed)
-4gb DDR3 1066 (1 slot, upgradeable to 8gb)
-Radeon HD 7340 (DX11, 512mb of system ram is used)
-500gb Hitachi SATA Drive
-1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.0 Port
-HDMI Output
-Gigabit Ethernet
-802.11n WiFi
-VGA Output
-Mic and Headphone Jack
-DVD-RW Drive
-SD/SDXC/SDHC Memory Card Slot

I should note, this APU does support AMD's Virtualization, so you can run Hyper-V, Xen, VMware Workstation etc. on this notebook. Coupled with the 8gb of ram support, this could be a decent portable VM notebook for the price.

Fortunately, doing the swap of the hard drive was extremely easy as opposed to some laptops that require taking apart the entire laptop (looking back at the Dell Inspiron I purchased in October 2010). Just 2 screws to pull off the back, which also contains the single DDR3 SO-DIMM slot.

Asus X55U Notebook (Bottom)

Corsair Force 3 90gb SSD

Curious if the system supported 8gb of DDR3 ram (since the manual didn't specify), I bought an 8gb DDR3-1333 Corsair SO-DIMM:

Corsair 8gb DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM

Swapped out the Hynix 4gb with the Corsair:

Asus X55U with the Corsair 8gb DDR3 SO-DIMM installed

And sure enough, the notebook supports 8gb:

Asus X55U with 8gb showing in the BIOS

While in the BIOS I should mention the charge when off feature this notebook has. Meaning with the lid closed, you can still charge your phone or media player. I wish my HP had that functionality.

Asus X55U BIOS Options

OpenSUSE 12.3 installed without a hitch (even the WiFi worked off the bat). After getting the system configured, the first thought I had was take the recent ia64/Linux port of jcBench and port it over to x86/Linux. On the flight back from SFO, I ported it over and thankfully it was only a re-compile with a slight tweak to the CPU detection.

How does the system perform?
[bash] jcBENCH 0.6.522.0928(x86/Linux Edition) (C) 2012-2013 Jarred Capellman CPU Information --------------------- Manufacturer: AuthenticAMD Model: AMD E2-1800 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics Count: 2x1700.000mhz Architecture: x86/x86-64 --------------------- Running Benchmark.... Integer: 65.4932 seconds Floating Point: 35.6109 seconds [/bash] In comparison to my Silicon Graphics Prism (2x1.5ghz Itanium 2) it performs a little slower in Integer operations, but is nearly 3X faster in Floating Point Operations. In comparison to my HP DV7 laptop (AMD A10), it performs in the same dual threaded applications about 2X as slow, as expected with the slower clock rate and much smaller cache.

Overall, the notebook does exactly what I want and more for a $258 device. Build quality exceeds the Acer netbook and Dell Inspiron I had several years ago, coming close to my HP DV7, if only this Asus used the higher grade plastics. For those curious, battery life is about 4 hours with WiFi enabled the middle of the road screen brightness.
Curious if an external graphics card would work in the PCIe x16 Slot (X4 mechanically) on the ASUS C60M1-I I picked up a few weeks ago, I tried out a 1GB Gigabyte Radeon 6450. Gigabyte 6450 Radeon Gigabyte Radeon 6450 Card Sadly, the card would not post with the ASUS C60M1-I motherboard. I had tried reseating it, but to no avail. The card does in fact work as I put it back in an ASUS F1MA55 system and worked fine again. Not to be discouraged, I picked up an XFX Radeon 6670 HD to see if maybe there was some incompatibility with the 6450 and the motherboard. XFX Radeon 6670 XFX Radeon 6670 Card XFX Radeon 6670 installed into a Lian Li PC-Q06 Case Sure enough the card booted up just fine, the Radeon 6290 that is embedded in the C-60 is disabled when an external graphics card is used in case you were considering CrossFire or EyeFinity usage. With the several projects I am working on, I've only had time to do one benchmark, using 3D Mark 2011, here are the applicable scores for both the XFX 6670 and the 6290 in the C-60 itself:
3D Mark 2011 Scores for the AMD C-60's embedded Radeon 6290AMD C-60 APU (6290 Radeon) 3D Mark 2011 scores for the XFX Radeon 6670 with the AMD C-60AMD C-60 APU with an XFX 6670 Radeon
As you would expect, the Radeon gave a pretty sizable boost in performance. In real world testing, I tried out StarCraft II and was able to play at 720p with little lag unless there was considerable amount of Units on the screen at once (more than likely CPU Bound at that point). Going forward I will be using this box for OpenCL performance testing, so more to come for sure, but it's safe to say if you don't have a need to use the PCIe slot on the Asus C60M1-I, you're best bet if your intentions are gaming, is to get a decent Radeon 66XX and enjoy the benefits of offloading as much as you can to the GPU. As more and more applications rely on the GPU, a low watt CPU and higher powered GPU I imagine will become much more valued, but I could be way off in that prediction.
This morning I finally retired my AMD Phenom II X6 1090T CPU from my primary desktop. I had been using it since April 30th 2010, right when it first came out. Looking back, it's interesting to think the power that $309 bought back then and the $185 on the FX-8350 brings today. Just from a numerical standpoint, 6x3.2ghz (19.2ghz) versus 8x4ghz (32ghz) is mind blowing in my opinion. 12 years ago nearly to the day I was about to buy my first 1ghz AMD Athlon "Thunderbird" Socket A CPU. What is also interesting is that 2.5 years later AMD is still using AM3/AM3+, which for a consumer is great. Knowing with a simply bios update I can run the latest CPUs is a great to know. In my case, doing a bios update on my ASUS M5A99X EVO to get support for the just recently released Vishera series of FX CPUs from AMD. [caption id="attachment_1639" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AMD FX-8350 Tin[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1641" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AMD FX-8350 installed into my ASUS M5A99X[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1642" align="aligncenter" width="169"] AMD FX-8350 installed into my ASUS M5A99X[/caption] After installation with no surprise, the FX-8350 showed up properly and automatically increased my memory speed to 1866mhz (previously with my Phenom II the max available was 1600mhz). [caption id="attachment_1643" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AMD FX-8350 showing in the UEFI bios of my ASUS M5A99X[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1644" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AMD FX-8350 Detailed Info showing in the UEFI bios of my ASUS M5A99X[/caption] CPU-Z: [caption id="attachment_1645" align="aligncenter" width="300"] AMD FX-8350 in CPU-Z[/caption] And now the most interesting aspect of any upgrade. Can I justify the cost of the upgrade, especially when applications hadn't seemed sluggish. Integer Benchmark Results: [caption id="attachment_1647" align="aligncenter" width="300"] jcBENCH Integer Benchmarks[/caption] Floating Point Benchmark Results: [caption id="attachment_1648" align="aligncenter" width="300"] jcBENCH Floating Point Benchmark[/caption] I included a few extra CPUs recently benchmarked for comparison. First thoughts, Integer performance over the Phenom II X6 is over 200% across the board for single to 8 core applications/games, meaning the FX-8350 can do what the Phenom II X6 did with half the CPUs leaving the other half for other tasks or making multi-threaded tasks 200% faster theoretically. This is also shown in the A10-4655M CPU, in 4 threads, my laptop was actually faster than my desktop as far as integer only work is concerned. Kudos to AMD for making such a dramatic difference in integer performance. Floating Point results were a bit more interesting. Having seen quite a bit drop off in comparison to the Integer results, I was curious if the FX-8350 would hit the same hurdles. Sure enough because of the drop off of the 1 to 1 relationship between Integer Cores and Floating Point Cores in the Phenom II architecture in favor of a 2 to 1 ratio in the latest generations of AMD's CPUs, the Phenom II actually beat out the much higher clocked FX-8350, albeit the more threads, the less of an impact it made. Definitely more benchmarks will ensue with real world tests of Visual Studio 2012 compiling and After Effects CS6 rendering. Stay tuned.
I just received my ASUS C60M1-I today and figured with the lack of information on this board on the internet I'd post my findings. [caption id="attachment_1602" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I Box Contents[/caption] In the box you'll get the manual, DVD-ROM with drivers, Powered By ASUS sticker, 2 18" SATA III cables and the I/O Shield. Note the I/O Shield is not like the higher end ASUS boards with the padding. [caption id="attachment_1596" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I Motherboard[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1595" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I Ports[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1597" align="aligncenter" width="134"] ASUS C60M1-I DDR3 RAM Slots[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1598" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I 6 SATA III 6gb ports[/caption] First off I was curious if the 8GB maximum was really true. Having 4 8gb Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1833 sticks awaiting to be put into my primary desktop, I popped a pair into the board. Sure enough the motherboard read them without a hitch: [caption id="attachment_1603" align="aligncenter" width="269"] Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3-1833[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1604" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3-1833 Stick[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1605" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I BIOS showing 16GB DDR3[/caption] Also curious is the option of running the ram at 1333mhz. Using 1600mhz and 1833mhz DDR3, you could in theory run it at 1333mhz and keep the timings really nice. [caption id="attachment_1606" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ASUS C60M1-I BIOS showing 1333mhz Option[/caption] Next up was seeing if the board supported RAID of any type, this turned out to be false. A little more investigation on the motherboard itself, the South Bridge is the FCH A50M. It also does not support USB 3.0 nor has a native Gigabit controller. In this case ASUS went with a RealTek 8111F Gigabit Controller. I personally have had the 8111e which ran fine and assume this is just a revision of that controller. If someone has more info on it, please let me know. The big points for me were Jumbo Frame support to 9k and Gigabit, both of which are features of the 8111f that is on this board. Another thing to note is the lack of HDMI port. Not a huge deal with readily available DVI->HDMI adapters, but something to consider if that is make or break. The more expensive/faster ASUS E45M1-I DELUXE has an HDMI port (in addition to USB 3.0), though it does draw more power than the C60M1-I. Another thing I was curious about was total power draw of the system. Based on what I read the CPU is 9W and the A50M Southbridge uses 4.7W, coupled with 2 4gb Sticks I expected maybe 20W. The total idle usage (sitting in the bios) is 23W. The total usage under 100% load is 39W. I should note this was done with Antec VP-450, a higher efficiency power supply might bring that number down a bit. [caption id="attachment_1613" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Antec VP-450 450W Power Supply[/caption] So there you have it, pretty low wattage. For comparison, my Acer Aspire One AO522-BZ465 that I got in June 2011 uses 24W idle in bios and 40W under load. The last question I had, something I imagine a lot of people would be wondering for NAS purposes is if the PCIe x16 slot (x4 mechanical) would support non-graphics cards. I had a 240GB OCZ Revodrive x4 card that I was hoping to use in this board so I gave it a shot, sure enough it worked without any hassle. [caption id="attachment_1607" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 240GB OCZ Revodrive PCIe SSD[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1608" align="aligncenter" width="300"] 240GB OCZ Revodrive PCIe SSD card[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1609" align="aligncenter" width="300"] OCZ Revodrive PCIe SSD BIOS[/caption] I don't have any other PCIe controllers laying around to test, but I imagine you would be ok with them. Options I would consider, maybe Infiniband for a MOSIX SSI or a SAS PCIe x4 controller? Onto the more fun stuff, the benchmarks. [caption id="attachment_1616" align="aligncenter" width="300"] jcBENCH Integer Comparison[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1617" align="aligncenter" width="300"] jcBENCH Floating Point Comparison[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1618" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Windows Experience Index Comparison[/caption] The numbers can speak for themselves, but I should point out the vastly better CPU performance in jcBENCH over the C-50 CPU. The Turbo clock speed of the C-60 really does make a huge difference. So to summarize:
  1. ~23W of usage at idle (BIOS)
  2. ~40W of usage at full power
  3. 16gb of DDR3 is the max this board will take, not 8gb as mentioned on the ASUS Website
  4. Ram can be set to run at 1333mhz not just 1066mhz like on the website
  5. No HDMI Port
  6. No USB 3.0 Controller
  7. No RAID Controller like that found in the 7xx/8xx/9xx AMD Desktop Chipsets
  8. The PCIe x16 (x4 mechanical) can be used for non-graphics cards
  9. Turbo mode of the C-60 does give a considerable boost in CPU performance
  10. OpenCL 1.1 Support
Any comments, suggestions, wanting more information, please let me know.
After nearly 2 years, I'm finally retiring my Dell M5010 (AMD Phenom II P920/1GB Radeon 4650), it was very reliable up until a few months ago, but for the price (~$700) back in September 2010 I had expected more, especially in the build quality department. Fast forward to now, I had been waiting for the new line of APUs from AMD to come out, codenamed "Trinity" for quite some time, skipping over the llano series and hoping for a nice notebook for under $1000. The HP DV7 thus far is delivering on that. With a 1600x900 17.3" screen, Island style (not the annoying to type on "Chicklet"), pretty nice sounding speakers/subwoofer (Beats Audio) and the A10-4600/7660G Radeon it's pretty speedy. The build quality is also much higher than I was even expecting, it's not an EliteBook level, but pretty close. [caption id="attachment_1247" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Box"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1249" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Metal Looking Finish"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1254" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US running Windows 8"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1239" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Keyboard and Touchpad"][/caption] Before even turning it on for the first time I swapped out the 6GB of DDR3 for 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 ram and a 240GB Sandisk Extreme SSD. Something that had been annoying me to death on my Acer AO522 AMD C-50 Netbook and my Dell Laptop was the fact I had basically take apart the whole machine to upgrade the ram or hard disk. I am happy to say, one screw off the bottom plastic plate and a total of 6 screws for the harddrive you can accomplish the entire swap. [caption id="attachment_1241" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="16GB of Corsair DDR3-1600 Vengeance RAM"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1252" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1245" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Bottom Panel Removed"][/caption] I installed the Windows 8 x64 Release Preview and Visual Studio 2012 RC on it thus far, still looking for Windows 8 drivers for the 7660G...
Below are some interesting results of the floating point performance differences between MIPS and AMD cpus. [caption id="attachment_1105" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="jcBench Floating Point Performance"][/caption] The biggest thing to note, is the effect Level 2 cache has on Floating Point performance. The 4mb Level 2 cache in the R16000, clearly helps to compensate for the massive difference in clock speed. Nearly a 1 to 1 relationship between a the 6x3.2ghz Phenom II and the 4x800 MIPS R16k. So bottom line, Level 2 cache makes up for megahertz almost by a factor of 4 in these cases. It's a shame the fastest MIPS R16000 only ran at 1ghz and is extremely rare. More benchmarking later this week...
Just finished getting the features for jcBench 0.2 completed. The big addition is the separate test of integer and floating point numbers. The reason for the addition of this test is that I heard years ago that the size of Level 2 cache directly affected performance of Floating Point operations. You would always hear of the RISC cpus having several MegaBytes of cache, while my first 1ghz Athlon (Thunderbird), December 2000 only had 256kb. As I get older, I get more and more scrupulous over things I hear now or had heard in the past thus the need for me to prove to myself one or the other. I'm still working on going back and re-running the floating point tests so that will come later today, but here are the integer performance results. Note the y-axis is the number of seconds taken to complete the test, so lower is better. [caption id="attachment_1097" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="jcBench 0.2 integer comparison"][/caption] Kind of a wide range of CPUs, ranging from a netbook cpu in the C-50, to a mobile cpu in the P920 to desktops cpus. The differences based on my current findings vary much more greatly with floating point operations. A key things I got from this data:
  1. Single Threaded, across the board was ridiculously slow, even with AMD's Turbo Core technology that ramps up a core or two and slows down the unused cores. Another unsettling fact for developers that continue to not write parallel programs.
  2. The biggest jump was from 1 thread to 2 threads across the board
  3. MIPS R14000A 600mhz CPU is slightly faster than a C-50 in both single and 2 threaded tests. Finally found a very near equal comparison, I'm wondering with the Turbo Core on the C-60 if it brings it inline.
  4. numalink really does scale, even over the now not defined as "fast" numalink 3 connection, scaling it across 2 Origin 300s using all 8 cpus really did increase performance (44 seconds versus 12 seconds).
More to come later today with floating point results...
Been reading: Definitely recommended reading when you get a chance. Learned a ton about Wireless Security. If you're on Fios definitely make sure the Verizon Router they give you is on WPA at least, by default they come with WEP turned on and basically broadcast the password inside the packets it sends out in broadcast. On a related note, if you want to mess with your router, checkout this site. I flashed my router to it a month or so ago. The web interface is so much smoother than the factory firmware. Going along with the wireless theme, I got 2 netbooks yesterday, well ordered them at least. Got a pair of these bad boys: Got 2 spare Corsair 4gb DDR3 so-dimms, an OCZ Vertex 30GB SDD and an OCZ Vertex 2 60gb SSD. I plan to swap out the 1gb sticks and 250gb 5400 drives in it with those parts, should bring the performance up considerably. I plan to do extensively benchmarking before and after so everyone will know how each benefited and what percentage. I definitely will be wiping the Windows 7 Starter Edition for OpenSuse. They should be both come Tuesday, latest Wednesday so stay tuned!
I recently got a Rackable Systems 2U Dual Dual Core Opteron system off eBay for dirt cheap.  The problem however though as I noted previously was the noise, Antec .  Got 3 Antec fans and had my Antec 500w ATX power supply connected externally, much quieter, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving my ESXi server opened like that so I scrambled.  Found my original 4U file server case I purchased back in 2009 and started the migration. [caption id="attachment_4001" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Old 4U File Server case on the left, 2U Rackable Systems Case on the right"][/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_4002" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Motherboard inside 4U File Server Case"][/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Transplant powered on"][/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Revised Server Stack"][/caption]

 

Just scored 2 brand new AMD Opteron 2360SEs off eBay for $69.99 shipped.  These are the highest clocked Quad Cores out there at 2.5ghz.  I had a Dual Quad Opteron 2344HE back in Spring 2009, albeit they were 1.7ghz cores for a total of 13.6ghz versus my new server at 20ghz. It is kind of interesting thinking about it now, my main rig has a 6 core Phenom II has 19.2ghz of power.  It might have been cheaper to simply get another 1090T, 890FX/990FX series AMD motherboard, 16gb of ram and throw it in the same case? Let's see...
  • Phenom II 1090T (3.2ghzX6) - $190
  • Asus Sabertooth 990FX motherboard - $210
  • 16gb G.Skill DDR3-1600 - $180
For a total of $580 Versuses...
  • Rackable Systems with 2U Case, 2X2214HE Opterons - $150
  • 2 Opteron 2360SEs - $140
  • 10gb Kingston DDR2-5300 ECC - $90
For a total of $380, plus I plan on selling the original 2U case and Opterons so probably will end up spending $320. $200 off the bat plus whatever I can get back.  In addition I have plenty of room for more ram 16 slots versus 4 slots on the 990FX motherboard.  Worth it?  I think so