Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd May 2008 20:44 UTC, submitted by Moochman
Oracle and SUN Engadget got the chance to sit down with Jonathan Schwartz, the pony-tailed CEO of Sun Microsystems. Being the gadget blog that they are, Engadget asked Schwartz about the long-missing JavaFX Mobile platform Sun has promised, Java on the iPhone, and competing with Microsoft as an open source vendor.
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RE[5]: Shame ...
by segedunum on Mon 5th May 2008 01:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Shame ..."
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

I really hope all Sun customers have your kind of faith. Really. I do.

Oh look! a single 8 core 1.4 GHz SPARC system is better than a 16 core 2.9 GHz Xeon System in raw performance.

Repeating and regurgitating Sun's own benchmarks, verbatim, counts for very little.

On raw performance? Four Xeons versus one SPARC, all at twice the clock speed (not that that counts for much as a comparison)? Errr, no. But you keep telling yourself that. One SPARC would never keep up with one Xeon in a month of Sundays, and the sorts of target workloads that Sun seems to be using would have to be so parallel and so concurrent as to be totally unrealistic. Not everything is or can be, and even in the article I linked to the UltraSPARC couldn't even outperform the Opteron on that.

I'm sure Sun can find lots of other completely arbitrary, moving target units of measure such as 'performance per watt' to make SPARC look better. Whether that is really enough, we'll have to see. Something tells me that Sun hasn't learnt from what happened after the dot com boom.

In performance per watt the Xeon box will look like a joke. Each of the Xeons in that box take 130 Ws so 4x130 is 520 Watts for the cpus alone. The UltraSPARC on the other hand consumes 95 watts normal max 123 Watts.

Right on cue. Speaking of arbitrary units of measure...... You can't just tot things up on Sun's power calculator on their web site and expect that to answer a real world question.

Why does an Intel based system need 5x the power and 4x the cpus to produce worse results than a single UltraSPARC chip?

It doesn't. It would help if you actually looked at what the results tell you, and it would also help if you actually knew what the power consumption cost of a Xeon was. You balance that versus the raw performance, and you could halve the CPUs to two and halve the performance of a Xeon to cut power right back (a more realistic test) and its raw performance would still be better.

What people are looking at is whether it is worth spending the money to get any future power savings, versus having the raw performance per cycle. Nobody cares about Sun's theoretical performance per watt. Fact is, compared to an Opteron box, the guy worked out that his UltraSPARC would have to be at least twice as power efficient to feel the effect of cost savings over a period of several years for Coolthreads to be worth it. Sorry, but that scenario doesn't add up.

Doesn't look like your ignorant statement " the x86-64 processors will still always cream SPARC there."

Hate to break it to you, but the raw performance of SPARC has lagged behind x86 for a very, very long time.

BTW Academic institutions are back. http://hpcvl.org/hardware/victoria-falls.html

I'd laugh if that wasn't so sad. Why do you think they left in the first place? I'm sure Sun gave them a nice deal and some new toys to play with ;-).

"Once fully installed, the cluster, called "Victoria Falls" will be able to process almost 10,000 threads.""

The issue here is how much of each thread can be completed per second (is it better to get more threads and work through each second, or is it better to have more of them?) versus the initial cost of the machine versus the time it takes for the power cost savings to outweigh the initial cost. That's what matters.

Coolthreads (and multiple cores in general) is simply a tough sell for people wanting to complete more of the same tasks in less time following Moore's Law, and that accounts for the majority.

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