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Differences between Pentium 4 and Xeon

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  #1  
Old 05-31-2003, 03:20 PM
mno mno is offline
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Differences between Pentium 4 and Xeon


Hi all,

I'm not an expert in the specifics of processors, but I'm thinking of setting up a dedicated test environment to test all my projects and to allow clients to connect to see their project so far.

Before I buy a system, I'd like to know more details on the differences between the different processors. Here are my questions:

1. What are the differences between a Pentium 4 and a Xeon processor and what makes one better than the other (does Xeon support HT)?

2. Are there advantages of Intel processors over AMD processors? Which ones are better?

Anything else that I should consider when purchasing a server? I have a copy of Solaris 8 that I will use as the OS for the server.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Max

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  #2  
Old 05-31-2003, 06:14 PM
NyteOwl NyteOwl is offline
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The difference between the P4 and the Xeon are more or less superficial and more a matter of marketing than technologies.

The Xeon line is certified for multi-processor machines while the P4 is not.

The latest P4's and Xeons both have HyperThreading, the same cache, the same core logic, the same performance on a per cpu basis.

They have two separate lines mostly for financial reasons. While AMD simply uses a change in the bridges on the cpu to limit this (which is why its so easy to trick dual AMD boards into using non-mp processors), Intel uses a completely different (physically) interface (ie socket) to prevent people from getting around paying for a more expensive product.

Theoretically they could create a regular dual proc P4 motherboard and it should have the exact same performance as a dual Xeon board.

The Intel CPU's run cooler on average than AMD. The Intel used to have the advantage of a thermal foldback circuit lacking in Athlon's but that has been corrected in the newer AMD processors.

Unless the software is designed to take advantage of some Intel specific processor extensions (AMD only has partial SSE2 support as far as I know) then so long as you are using a tweo CPU machine I doubt if much difference would be noticeable. AMD do not offer more than 2 processor SMP so Intel has an advantage there. A Single P4 will act much like two CPU's thanks to Hyperthreading, but the OS and applications must be designed to take advantage of it. In contrast, the AMD's are considerably cheaper.

Pros and cons to both. At the end of the day, and for hosting use, there would be little performance difference, and the AMD is a much less expensive solution.

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Last edited by NyteOwl; 05-31-2003 at 07:35 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-31-2003, 06:30 PM
mno mno is offline
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Thanks for your input, NyteOwl.

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Old 05-31-2003, 07:04 PM
mno mno is offline
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Double post deleted.

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  #5  
Old 05-31-2003, 07:30 PM
sitekeeper sitekeeper is offline
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There is a big difference in Xeon too! The one you see advertised here are much different then the Xeon's a large company would run for a SQL server. The high end Xeon's have a 2MB cache that make a world of difference in a multi-user system. The ones seen for $300 or so are not any better then a P-4, they have only a 512k cache.

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  #6  
Old 06-01-2003, 03:19 AM
mno mno is offline
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So for a low-level server, it's better to get a Pentium 4 over a Xeon? Pentium 4 is quite a bit cheaper than a Xeon of equivalent specs and from what you guys posted, it seems it's not any worse than a Xeon.

Has anyone had any experience with AMD's processors?

Thanks for your input.

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  #7  
Old 06-01-2003, 04:50 PM
NyteOwl NyteOwl is offline
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The older core Xeon's had massive 1 and 2M caches but as far as I know the new P4 core based Xeon's are the same 512k as the P4's themselves.

I have used/am using a coulpe of AMD machines and they work very well and cost considerably less than an equivalent Xeon based setup.

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  #8  
Old 06-01-2003, 08:16 PM
DigiCrime DigiCrime is offline
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I've moved from Celeron's to Xeon this past week and very happy. Although my hardrives are SCSI and not IDE's I have noticed a tremendous speed difference in loading of websites and under high load, it handles very well. Although typically most people prefer Pentiums because they run cooler but, I still take the AMD/Xeon over pentiums because of speed difference I have noticed. I even use AMD's for my personal computers

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Old 06-01-2003, 08:35 PM
mno mno is offline
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Thanks everyone for your answers.

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  #10  
Old 06-02-2003, 09:12 AM
robinbalen robinbalen is offline
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Even if it's just the "no-one ever got fired for buying IBM" approach, big business will nearly always choose Intel over AMD.

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  #11  
Old 06-02-2003, 01:00 PM
mno mno is offline
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Yeah, I've noticed that. I'm interested to see whether the new Athlon 64 will be able to win some market share for AMD from Intel. From what I've read so far, it seems like a pretty good processor. I'd love to see if it is actually capable of properly running at both 32 and 64 bits.

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