Xeon vs Core i7

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Gib Bogle, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main concern
    (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses multiple processors
    (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630 quad
    core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not run games.
    Anybody have any experience that might help with this decision?
    Gib Bogle, Aug 17, 2010
    #1
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  2. In message <i4d83j$dik$>, Gib Bogle wrote:

    > I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630
    > quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster
    > than a 2.8 GHz Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper.


    As I understand it, Xeon chips are intended for use in servers, with
    diagnostic and management capabilities oriented towards that use. So the
    question is whether you need such capabilities or not.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 17, 2010
    #2
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  3. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:52:51 +1200, Gib Bogle wrote:

    > I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main
    > concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses
    > multiple processors (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500,
    > with the Xeon E5630 quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would
    > actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    > Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not
    > run games. Anybody have any experience that might help with this
    > decision?


    How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?

    If only 2 then you'll be wasting your money going to a 4-core system.

    Answer that question and you'll probably have answered your own
    question. :)


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 17, 2010
    #3
  4. Gib Bogle

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 17, 8:54 pm, Sweetpea <> wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:52:51 +1200, Gib Bogle wrote:
    > > I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main
    > > concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses
    > > multiple processors (OpenMP).  I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500,
    > > with the Xeon E5630 quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would
    > > actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    > >   Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper.  I do not
    > >   run games. Anybody have any experience that might help with this
    > >   decision?

    >
    > How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?


    What application? Nobody mentioned an application.

    >
    > If only 2 then you'll be wasting your money going to a 4-core system.


    How so? You're assuming the work just involves a single application
    without having anything to indicate that.

    Plenty of work involves juggling multiple apps. eg web development
    could involve a local web server (possibly using multiple threads or
    processes itself), a local DB server, a browser, an IDE (some of the
    bigger ones do a lot of background stuff), unit tests running in a
    command prompt etc etc. And letting the OS grab some CPU for itself
    without interrupting the other apps isn't a bad thing.

    Plenty of other workloads would benefit from more than two cores -
    especially ones where Xeons or i7s are being considered as worthwhile
    investments.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., Aug 17, 2010
    #4
  5. On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:52:51 +1200, Gib Bogle
    <> wrote:

    >I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main concern
    >(apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses multiple processors
    >(OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630 quad
    >core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    > Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not run games.
    > Anybody have any experience that might help with this decision?




    This is a good place to start from



    http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=337
    William Brown, Aug 17, 2010
    #5
  6. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 04:19:55 -0700, AD. wrote:

    >> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?

    >
    > What application? Nobody mentioned an application.


    "and my main concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code
    that uses multiple processors (OpenMP)."


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 17, 2010
    #6
  7. Gib Bogle

    Dave Doe Guest

    In article <i4d83j$dik$>,
    says...
    >
    > I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main concern
    > (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses multiple processors
    > (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630 quad
    > core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    > Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not run games.
    > Anybody have any experience that might help with this decision?


    Go for the i7 - they're good - fast and cheap (for such speed) at around
    $450. Great desktops. Are you going to take advantage (and spend a lot
    of extra $) of the Xeon features? (you building a server?). Hence, IMO,
    the i7 for a single processor desktop machine.

    If you find a CPU comparison you'll find the 860,70 and the other
    chipset one, right up there.

    --
    Duncan.
    Dave Doe, Aug 17, 2010
    #7
  8. Gib Bogle

    Dave Doe Guest

    In article <-september.org>,
    says...
    >
    > In article <i4d83j$dik$>,
    > says...
    > >
    > > I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main concern
    > > (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses multiple processors
    > > (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630 quad
    > > core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    > > Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not run games.
    > > Anybody have any experience that might help with this decision?

    >
    > Go for the i7 - they're good - fast and cheap (for such speed) at around
    > $450. Great desktops. Are you going to take advantage (and spend a lot
    > of extra $) of the Xeon features? (you building a server?). Hence, IMO,
    > the i7 for a single processor desktop machine.
    >
    > If you find a CPU comparison you'll find the 860,70 and the other
    > chipset one, right up there.


    other *socket* one, 930 IIRC.

    --
    Duncan.
    Dave Doe, Aug 17, 2010
    #8
  9. Gib Bogle

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 18, 12:13 am, Sweetpea <> wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 04:19:55 -0700, AD. wrote:
    > >> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?

    >
    > > What application? Nobody mentioned an application.

    >
    > "and my main concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code
    > that uses multiple processors (OpenMP)."


    So? You're still jumping to conclusions.

    OpenMP is a programming API for SMP code. Nothing about using an
    application or specific workload there.

    It is quite possible the workload is c or c++ programming and/or
    testing. There could be compilers, IDEs and the app itself running at
    the same time.

    Whatever the workload is and even assuming the worst case that it is a
    single app that can only use a max of 2 cores, leaving spare capacity
    for the OS, drivers and desktop responsiveness as well as background
    (or other) tasks is beneficial. So it is highly likely that a quad
    core will not be wasted.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., Aug 17, 2010
    #9
  10. Gib Bogle

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 17, 9:18 pm, EMB <> wrote:
    > The Xeon has more L2 cache, but the i7 has a higher turbo-boost mode.
    > Overall I would expect the Xeon to be faster, but I'm unsure you'll ever
    > notice the difference in the real world - most of what you pay for with
    > the Xeon is support for ECC memory and multiple CPUs.


    Pretty much.

    Also it really depends on the actual workload which chip ends up
    faster. eg the Xeons larger L2 may or may not be a factor. If the
    workload runs well (ie lots of cache hits) with the L2 of the i7, then
    the faster clock will prevail. If the workload doesn't run well (ie
    lots of cache misses) with either chips L2, then the faster clock will
    still probably be better. But if the L2 sweetspot is higher than the
    i7s L2 but lower than (or maybe just over) the Xeons L2 then the Xeon
    could very well be much faster.

    So without being able to benchmark the code, the choice probably just
    comes down to features vs cost (including possibly more expensive RAM
    and mobos for the Xeon). If you don't need the Xeons extra features,
    the i7 would be a better choice.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., Aug 17, 2010
    #10
  11. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 14:37:17 -0700, AD. wrote:

    >> >> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?

    >>
    >> > What application? Nobody mentioned an application.

    >>
    >> "and my main concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code
    >> that uses multiple processors (OpenMP)."

    >
    > So? You're still jumping to conclusions.


    Nope. simply asking a question.


    > OpenMP is a programming API for SMP code. Nothing about using an
    > application or specific workload there.


    So?

    How well the machine will work for him ultimately will depend on what
    specific software he will be running on it. It will need to be multi-
    threaded if it is to benefit from using more than one core in a multi-
    cored CPU.


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 17, 2010
    #11
  12. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 14:48:33 -0700, AD. wrote:

    > Also it really depends on the actual workload which chip ends up faster.


    Thank you - you've said the same as what I said. It all depends on what
    software will be used on the machine.


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 17, 2010
    #12
  13. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Sweetpea wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:52:51 +1200, Gib Bogle wrote:
    >
    >> I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main
    >> concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses
    >> multiple processors (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500,
    >> with the Xeon E5630 quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would
    >> actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    >> Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not
    >> run games. Anybody have any experience that might help with this
    >> decision?

    >
    > How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?
    >
    > If only 2 then you'll be wasting your money going to a 4-core system.
    >
    > Answer that question and you'll probably have answered your own
    > question. :)
    >
    >


    I don't understand your comment. Both systems are quad core. My code (written
    by me) can use all 4 cores.
    Gib Bogle, Aug 17, 2010
    #13
  14. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Sweetpea wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 14:37:17 -0700, AD. wrote:
    >
    >>>>> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?
    >>>> What application? Nobody mentioned an application.
    >>> "and my main concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code
    >>> that uses multiple processors (OpenMP)."

    >> So? You're still jumping to conclusions.

    >
    > Nope. simply asking a question.
    >
    >
    >> OpenMP is a programming API for SMP code. Nothing about using an
    >> application or specific workload there.

    >
    > So?
    >
    > How well the machine will work for him ultimately will depend on what
    > specific software he will be running on it. It will need to be multi-
    > threaded if it is to benefit from using more than one core in a multi-
    > cored CPU.
    >
    >


    Of course it's multi-threaded - OpenMP.
    Gib Bogle, Aug 17, 2010
    #14
  15. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 10:49:39 +1200, Gib Bogle wrote:

    >> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?
    >>
    >> If only 2 then you'll be wasting your money going to a 4-core system.
    >>
    >> Answer that question and you'll probably have answered your own
    >> question. :)

    >
    > I don't understand your comment. Both systems are quad core. My code
    > (written by me) can use all 4 cores.


    So it is designed to use at least 4 threads. :)


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 17, 2010
    #15
  16. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Dave Doe wrote:
    > In article <i4d83j$dik$>,
    > says...
    >> I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main concern
    >> (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses multiple processors
    >> (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630 quad
    >> core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz
    >> Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper. I do not run games.
    >> Anybody have any experience that might help with this decision?

    >
    > Go for the i7 - they're good - fast and cheap (for such speed) at around
    > $450. Great desktops. Are you going to take advantage (and spend a lot
    > of extra $) of the Xeon features? (you building a server?). Hence, IMO,
    > the i7 for a single processor desktop machine.
    >
    > If you find a CPU comparison you'll find the 860,70 and the other
    > chipset one, right up there.
    >


    No, I am not building a server. The only reason I started considering the Xeon
    system is that where I work we get a good discount on the Dell T3500. I'm
    thinking that I might be better off just getting a no-name system put together
    with a good mobo and the i7.
    Gib Bogle, Aug 18, 2010
    #16
  17. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message <i4d83j$dik$>, Gib Bogle wrote:
    >
    >> I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500, with the Xeon E5630
    >> quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would actually be faster
    >> than a 2.8 GHz Core i7 quad-core system, which I think would be cheaper.

    >
    > As I understand it, Xeon chips are intended for use in servers, with
    > diagnostic and management capabilities oriented towards that use. So the
    > question is whether you need such capabilities or not.


    No, I don't want server capabilities, just raw speed.
    Gib Bogle, Aug 18, 2010
    #17
  18. Gib Bogle

    Gib Bogle Guest

    EMB wrote:
    > On 17/08/2010 5:52 p.m., Gib Bogle wrote:
    >> I am about to buy a computer that I'll use for working, and my main
    >> concern (apart from price) is speed of execution of code that uses
    >> multiple processors (OpenMP). I'm looking at the Dell Precision T3500,
    >> with the Xeon E5630 quad core 2.5 GHz, but I'm not sure that this would
    >> actually be faster than a 2.8 GHz Core i7 quad-core system, which I
    >> think would be cheaper. I do not run games. Anybody have any experience
    >> that might help with this decision?

    >
    > The Xeon has more L2 cache, but the i7 has a higher turbo-boost mode.
    > Overall I would expect the Xeon to be faster, but I'm unsure you'll ever
    > notice the difference in the real world - most of what you pay for with
    > the Xeon is support for ECC memory and multiple CPUs.


    I don't need the multiple CPUs or ECC memory, so all other things being equal
    I'll be paying a premium for the Xeon. I'm going to try to benchmark two
    systems with my program - if I can find computers to test on.
    Gib Bogle, Aug 18, 2010
    #18
  19. Gib Bogle

    AD. Guest

    On Aug 18, 9:55 am, Sweetpea <> wrote:
    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 14:48:33 -0700, AD. wrote:
    > > Also it really depends on the actual workload which chip ends up faster..

    >
    > Thank you - you've said the same as what I said.


    Huh? You jumped to conclusions and made a specific statement that said
    a quad core would be wasted if the application only uses 2 threads.

    You ignored the possibilities that there is probably more than one app
    running, the OS or other background tasks could require some CPU, the
    user might want to do something else while "the app" is running, or
    that "the app" doesn't also use multiple processes etc etc.

    > It all depends on what software will be used on
    > the machine.


    BTW - different workloads using the same software can result in very
    different performance. It's more than just what software is being
    used.

    --
    Cheers
    Anton
    AD., Aug 18, 2010
    #19
  20. Gib Bogle

    Sweetpea Guest

    On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 11:05:27 +1200, Bret wrote:

    > On Tue, 17 Aug 2010 22:55:41 +0000 (UTC), Sweetpea wrote:
    >
    >> On Wed, 18 Aug 2010 10:49:39 +1200, Gib Bogle wrote:
    >>
    >>>> How many simultaneous threads is that application designed to use?
    >>>>
    >>>> If only 2 then you'll be wasting your money going to a 4-core system.
    >>>>
    >>>> Answer that question and you'll probably have answered your own
    >>>> question. :)
    >>>
    >>> I don't understand your comment. Both systems are quad core. My code
    >>> (written by me) can use all 4 cores.

    >>
    >> So it is designed to use at least 4 threads. :)

    >
    > You mean 8 ?


    4 cores.


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
    Sweetpea, Aug 18, 2010
    #20
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