Athlon X2 vs. Dual Xeon – Final Results

This post was written by marc on September 14, 2005
Posted Under: Technology

So – after starting two other threads on the subject I have now made the conversion to the Athlon X2 server. The bottom line is – it works!

Basically running about 300 web sites of all kinds from a few static pages to PHP/MySQL. The system includes email and is running spam assassin.

This box replaces two servers merging them into one. One of the older servers was a 2.4 mhs Dual Xeon 32 bit with 4 gigs of ram and 2 WD 250 gig drives with 8M buffer. The second server was a 2.6 ghz Pentuin 4 that was running high volume static pages. (Well, 10mb average – high volume to me).

The new server is an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ also with 4 gigs of ram and 2 300gb Maxtor Maxline III drives with 16MB buffer.

The Results:

The technology is still rather new and bleeding adge. I had more problems with getting 4 gigs to work than getting the dual core athlons to work. That’s because the VGA and much of the hardware needs to be below the 4gb barrier. If I were running 2 gigs I wouldn’t have had a problem. You need to make sure if you are running a full 4 gigs that the board actually supports it and it’s all usable. I used an Asus and it did – but it wasn’t pretty.

To get it to work I needed the 2.6.13 kernel. With 2 gigs of ram it was fine with the stock kernel in FC4. But with 4 gigs the SATA drives crashed the system until I compiled my own kernel.

But – once I got it all working ….

The load levels on the new server are running about 1/2 of the dual xoen server and that’s with the combined load of both servers. The second old server however wasn’t running much of a load.

I am comparing however an older Xeon to a new dual core Athlon. But guessing that new Xeons are faster than the older ones I would say that the single processor dual core Athlon would probably still beat or be about the same speed at 2 single core Xeon systems.

But – the cost is like 1/2 of a dual xeon – power consumption is less than 1/2 and the motherboards are much smaller. So it looks to me like this is a really good deal.

So – as compared to what I expected and predicted I was about right on. Except that I ran into more problems than I thought I was going to. But in the coming months this isn’t going to be quite as bleeding edge.

Oh – and —-

Here’s a picture of it.

Yes – too kool for a data center – but I like to build a computer that looks hot.

Reader Comments

I might be needing to run many database through the web, and I thought I should use many cheap computers. What was the advantage of using one good computer of several cheap ones?

Written By Rob on September 25th, 2005 @ 6:27 pm

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