While scanning through my RSS feeds last night (yes, I know, I need a life :-) I came across a block from Cisco titled:
My interest was peaked, so I went and read the blog. I can’t say I was impressed, first and foremost, because the claim simply isn’t true. The UCS result is actually the second fastest result for an 8-core, 2-socket system, here’s a snapshot of the top four results:
I asked Cisco why they’d made the clearly incorrect claim, and the response was that they were ignoring the Fujitsu result because the RX300 S4 used an Intel XEON W5590, which Intel primarily markets as a workstation processor. I don’t buy that, the only differences between the W5590 and the X5570 (which Cisco used) are:
- Clock speed – the 5590 clocks in at 3.33 GHz, vs.. 2.93 GHz for the 5570.
- Power consumption – the 5590 has a TDP of 130 watts compared to the 5570 at 95 watts.
In all other aspects, the two processors are identical. If you want further confirmation that the RX300 is a server, a quick glance at its web page should make the point.
Unfortunately, the nature of the VMmark benchmark means that the real Cisco advantages are invisible. What you should care about as a consumer is that the Fujitsu system delivers roughly 0.4% greater performance using a substantially more power hungry and expensive processor. Unfortunately, since VMmark doesn’t capture price or power consumption data you’ll have to work that out for yourself!
There are two other points that are worth noting:
- All the Xeon 55xx numbers are within a few percentage points of each other, so performance wise there is little to choose between the vendors (at least on this benchmark.)
- Bumping the CPU speed up by almost 14% (2.93 to 3.3 GHz) yielded a whopping 0.4% performance gain! That lack of improvement suggests strongly, that the benchmark is not CPU-bound, it’s either I/O-bound, memory bandwidth-bound, or both.
We’ll find out whether the benchmark is sensitive to memory bandwidth later this year, when AMD ships a dual socket processor with four DDR3 memory channels instead of three.
Posted by: Nik Simpson