DragonFlyBSD Replacing Their 48-Core Opteron Infrastructure With Ryzen 9 3900X CPUs

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 25 July 2019 at 12:00 AM EDT. 33 Comments
BSD --
DragonFlyBSD is replacing their 48-core Opteron server named "Monster" with two of the new AMD Ryzen 9 3900X "Zen 2" processors as well as a spare Xeon server. DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon continues to be mighty impressed by AMD's latest processor offerings.

Last year Matthew Dillon professed his love for the performance of AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs while in recent weeks he's been quick to get Ryzen 3000 CPUs working on DragonFlyBSD and has been impressed by their performance.

With two Ryzen 9 3900X CPUs and a dual Xeon server he had extra at his house, he's replacing their 48-core Opteron server and blades build infrastructure with these systems that use around half the power consumption and deliver significantly better performance. Dillon's post from their mailing list is quite interesting with his commentary so it's embedded below:
The goal is to clear out a little power budget in the colo and to really beef-up our package-building capabilities to reduce the turn-around time needed to test ports syncs and updates to the binary package system. Currently we use two blades to do most of the building, plus monster sometimes. The blades take almost a week (120 hours+) to do a full synth run and monster takes around 27.5 hours. But we need to do three bulk builds more or less at the same time... one for the release branch, one for the development branch, and one for staging updates. It just takes too long and its been gnawing at me for a little while.

Well, Zen 2 to the rescue! These new CPUs can take ECC, there's actually an IPMI mobo available, and they are fast as hell and cheap for what we get.

The new machines will be two 3900X based servers, plus a dual-xeon system that I already had at home. The 3900X's can each do a full synth run in 24.5 hours and the Xeon can do it in around 31 hours. Monster will be retired. And the crazy thing about this? Monster burns 1000W going full bore. Each of the 3900X servers burns 160W and the Xeon burns 200W. In other words, we are replacing 1000W with only 520W and getting roughly 6x the performance efficiency in the upgrade. This tell you just how much more power-efficient machines have become in the last 9 years or so.

This upgrade will allow us to do full builds for both release and dev in roughly one day instead of seven days, and do it without interfering with staging work that might be happening at the same time.

It's interesting going with Ryzen CPUs + ECC over waiting for EPYC Zen 2 CPUs expected to debut this quarter, but the Ryzen 9 3900X route certainly provides great value on a budget.
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