April 15, 2008 -- When looking at the AMD Phenom 9500 under Linux, we had found this processor had posed a number of issues from kernel panics to other troubles when running Ubuntu 7.10 with the Linux 2.6.22 kernel. Once, however, upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04 with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel these problems had vanished and we were pleased by this native quad-core desktop processor from AMD. Released a month prior to the first Phenom desktop CPUs were the quad-core Opteron 2300 "Barcelona" processors. We hadn't looked at any AMD Barcelona processors at that time, but today we finally have our hands on two of the new AMD Opteron 2356 server/workstation processors. The Opteron 2356 CPUs come clocked at 2.30GHz, and is a revision B3 Opteron meaning that it has a proper fix for the TLB erratum -- this model was introduced only earlier this month. We have benchmarked the new Opteron 2356 in both single and dual CPU configurations and have compared the results -- under Linux -- to two of Intel's quad-core Xeon processors.
March 27, 2008 -- For a year now Intel has been flaunting its 45nm "Penryn" processor core with its SSE4 instruction set, High-K metal gate transistors, and 6MB of L2 cache. Most of the Penryn media attention has been focused upon the desktop Core 2 processors, but in January at the 2008 Consumer Electronic Show Intel had rolled out sixteen new products and a dozen of them were mobile oriented. Among these Intel innovations were the first mobile Penryn processors. These mobile Intel 45nm CPUs accompanied the Penryn desktop line-up that first began in November of 2007 with Core 2 Extreme QX9650 and then
continued with several new Core 2 Quad and Core 2 Duo models. On the server front, the Penryn equivalent is Harpertown and those quad-core Xeon processors have been shipping for the same length of time. Today we are focusing upon the Intel Penryn performance on the mobile front as we explore the Core 2 Duo T9300. The Core 2 Duo T9300 is running inside a Lenovo ThinkPad T61 notebook and we have compared its performance against earlier Centrino-based ThinkPads as we look at how this latest Intel processor performs with Ubuntu Linux.
February 11, 2008 -- Since publishing our Linux review of the AMD Phenom 9500 on the Spider platform a month ago, we have continued in our investigation of this first AMD desktop quad-core processor that has been very problematic with Ubuntu 7.10 Linux. Fortunately though this support isn't stagnate and a better picture is painted when using the latest development builds of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron" with the Linux 2.6.24 kernel. Per reader requests, we have carried out additional benchmarks of the Phenom 9500 to compare its 32-bit and 64-bit Linux performance.
January 05, 2008 -- Have you recently upgraded to AMD's Spider platform with their quad-core Phenom processor and are running Linux? If so, and are experiencing kernel panics, stability problems, and even a psychedelic Ubuntu logo, you're not alone. Earlier this week we had looked at AMD's new 790FX Chipset under Linux and now it's time to deliver the world's first Linux benchmarks of AMD's Spider platform. However, getting to the point of delivering these Linux benchmarks wasn't exactly smooth sailing. In this article, we'll be looking at the AMD Phenom 9500 performance under Ubuntu 7.10 as well as sharing our experiences with this new AMD platform.
September 20, 2007 -- IDF is winding down this afternoon but today we had the opportunity to listen to Intel's Faye A Briggs, Stephen Pawlowski, and Sanjay Sharma. This press-only session talked about Intel's upcoming Harpertown Xeon processors and the Stoakley platform. Harpertown will be shipping later this year but Intel had included some early prototype benchmarks comparing the Xeon 5400 series to the Xeon 5300 Clovertown quad-core processors as well as the AMD Opteron Socket F competition. While there were a number of benchmarks used, some of the results were done within Linux for kernel compilation, LAME encoding, and OpenSSL. We've published all of the slides that were shared with the press today, including the early Harpertown/Stoakley benchmarks.
August 07, 2007 -- This morning Sun Microsystems will officially introduce their Niagara 2 processor, which consists of eight processing cores and is capable of handling 64 threads simultaneously. It's official name is the Sun UltraSPARC T2 and it will be unveiled at their Executive Briefing Center in Menlo Park, California. We were invited to this event, but we had run into scheduling problems at the last minute though we do have some information to share with you in this technical brief.
August 06, 2007 -- While the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is only weeks into development, it's already generated quite a bit of attention. From the merging of the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) to the -rc2 kernel being "the new -rc1", the Linux 2.6.23 kernel is certainly in store for being an ornate release. Adding to this attention has been a stable user-space driver API and virtualization improvements (KVM, Xen, and LGuest). With all of this activity surrounding the Linux 2.6.23 kernel we've decided to conduct a handful of benchmarks comparing the Linux 2.6.20, 2.6.21, 2.6.22, and 2.6.23 kernel releases so far.
July 24, 2007 -- Last night at a media party during OSCON and Ubuntu Live 2007, Intel had announced the release of Intel Threading Building Blocks 2.0, which marks the GPLv2 open-source availability of the code. James Reinders had made this presentation going through a look at multi-core processors and parallel programming followed by this announcement. To drive interest in TBB 2.0, Intel has announced an open-source competition for integrating TBB into open-source projects where you can win a multi-core laptop. With the Intel party just ending a few hours ago, we have enclosed many of Reinders' slides and we will be sharing more information shortly. One extra tid-bit is that Intel is working with multiple (yet to be named) game developers on integrating Threading Building Blocks 2.0. Several distributions will also be shipping Intel's TBB 2.0.
June 11, 2007 -- It wasn't until last week during a meeting with Sun that some new light was shed on the Solaris Check Tool and as a result we decided to explore this tool further. Sun's Check Tool is a bootable CD that lets the user know whether the hardware they have installed is likely to work with Solaris or not. If a third-party driver is needed for a particular piece of hardware, the Sun Check Tool will even provide a link to the driver needed. There are currently a few rough spots with the tool, but improvements are planned and in this article we will share more information on this program that can tell you in a matter of minutes whether you'll face a hardware compatibility nightmare or will be running Solaris/Solaris Express with ease.
May 12, 2007 -- Let's face it, humans are expensive. The cost of humans combined with the dominance of single-threaded applications in the market place spells trouble for companies wishing to seek the greatest return on investment for their latest multi-core servers. Pervasive Software, however, has developed an alternative for companies not wishing to spend valuable man hours on rewriting their software in order to benefit from a symmetric multi-processing environment. DataRush from Pervasive Software is a Java framework that allows software developers to quickly and easily create new or existing applications that are hyper-parallel. Pervasive's DataRush had made its debut last week at JavaOne 2007 and in this article, we have a few words about this unique framework.