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Commoditization of 4-way

 
 
Yousuf Khan
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      05-18-2004, 07:10 AM
I know there is a little bit of skepticism (well actually a lot of it) about
x86's potential in the 4-way market. The high-end server market has feasted
on the high prices due to the lack of competition from any commodity systems
at this level. There's been talk for years that Intel is finally going to
make something real for the 4-way systems. It's hasn't happened yet. But it
may be finally starting now. Opterons are the real deal now.

The following article expects that AMD will take the price of 4-way systems
down from an average of $10,000 to $5000 by next year. And customers seem to
be responding. Some of the smaller OEMs are seeing a demand shift towards
AMD systems, ranging from 40% to 100% AMD at some server makers. And they're
all getting ready to pound Dell, which won't be able to match these systems.
But really the more long term effect will not be the one against Dell, but
the one against the big-iron boys who will see one of their most profitable
segments disappear into the sea of commoditization.

http://www.crn.com/sections/coversto...rticleID=50198

Yousuf Khan

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Humans: contact me at ykhan at rogers dot com
Spambots: just send mail to above address ;-)


 
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Thomas Womack
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      05-18-2004, 07:23 PM
In article <hFiqc.60030$(E-Mail Removed) e.rogers.com>,
Yousuf Khan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>The following article expects that AMD will take the price of 4-way systems
>down from an average of $10,000 to $5000 by next year.


The price of a 4-way system is not much over $5000 *now*, isn't it?
$1700 for the Tyan board, $2800 for four Opteron 844's, $250 for a chassis,
and, well, you get one SATA disc and only one of the Opterons gets any memory
with the change from $5000.

If I had anything resembling a business plan, I'd be tempted to get something
like the system above, but if I'm spending UKP3000 I think a second-hand
Smartcar would be more fun.

I wonder if AMD will drop the Opteron 840 price enormously at some stage;
4 x 1400MHz with separate memory to each processor isn't bad for, say, a
shell-account machine.

Tom
 
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Stephen Sprunk
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      05-18-2004, 08:30 PM
"Yousuf Khan" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:hFiqc.60030$(E-Mail Removed). cable.rogers.com...
> I know there is a little bit of skepticism (well actually a lot of it)

about
> x86's potential in the 4-way market. The high-end server market has

feasted
> on the high prices due to the lack of competition from any commodity

systems
> at this level. There's been talk for years that Intel is finally going to
> make something real for the 4-way systems. It's hasn't happened yet. But

it
> may be finally starting now. Opterons are the real deal now.


Intel's antiquated FSB design means 4-way (and up) systems require
specialized chipsets to avoid bottlenecks, and the low volume of these
chipsets means higher prices which leads back to low volume.

Opteron's scalability using glueless HT for SMP is turning the 4-way market
on its head, and probably the 8-way market as well once people figure out
how to cram that many CPUs and memory slots into a starndard-sized system.

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "Stupid people surround themselves with smart
CCIE #3723 people. Smart people surround themselves with
K5SSS smart people who disagree with them." --Aaron Sorkin

 
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Never anonymous Bud
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      05-18-2004, 08:53 PM
Fresh from an Iraqi prisoner interrogation Thomas Womack
<(E-Mail Removed)> smirked:

>The price of a 4-way system is not much over $5000 *now*, isn't it?
>$1700 for the Tyan board,


Where did you find a price? I can't locate ANYONE that has that MB available.

>$2800 for four Opteron 844's,


Not even listed on Pricewatch now, 842s and 846s are though.

>and, well, you get one SATA disc and only one of the Opterons gets any memory
>with the change from $5000.


Hmmm, less than $200 to cover memory and 'other things'.
I think you're going over $6K by a decent margin for working system.






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nobody@nowhere.net
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      05-18-2004, 09:44 PM
On 18 May 2004 20:23:23 +0100 (BST), Thomas Womack
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>In article <hFiqc.60030$(E-Mail Removed) e.rogers.com>,
>Yousuf Khan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>The following article expects that AMD will take the price of 4-way systems
>>down from an average of $10,000 to $5000 by next year.

>
>The price of a 4-way system is not much over $5000 *now*, isn't it?
>$1700 for the Tyan board, $2800 for four Opteron 844's, $250 for a chassis,
>and, well, you get one SATA disc and only one of the Opterons gets any memory
>with the change from $5000.
>
>If I had anything resembling a business plan, I'd be tempted to get something
>like the system above, but if I'm spending UKP3000 I think a second-hand
>Smartcar would be more fun.
>
>I wonder if AMD will drop the Opteron 840 price enormously at some stage;
>4 x 1400MHz with separate memory to each processor isn't bad for, say, a
>shell-account machine.
>
>Tom

IMHO, it borders a crime not to outfit all 4 Opterons with the memory
in such a highest end system. And then, I have not seen a quad box
that didn't have a nice SCSI RAID (at least 3 disks in RAID 5 config).
Only the RAM (4 GB in 8 516 MB sticks of PC400 DDR ECC Registered) is
near $1000 ($122 for each - the lowest on PW). As for the price for
SCSI RAID solution, the sky is the limit.
Yet, the price point may be reached if we believe Mr. Ruiz on dual
core chips getting ready by next year. In this case, every dual board
will be capable to effectively host a quad system (and it will be true
SMP, not just hyperthreading!). Dual boards are already close to
$200, and probably will only get cheaper by next year.
 
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Rob Stow
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      05-18-2004, 09:54 PM
Never anonymous Bud wrote:

> Fresh from an Iraqi prisoner interrogation Thomas Womack
> <(E-Mail Removed)> smirked:
>
>
>>The price of a 4-way system is not much over $5000 *now*, isn't it?
>>$1700 for the Tyan board,

>
>
> Where did you find a price? I can't locate ANYONE that has that MB available.


$1545 at Lynn Computer, up from $1495 a couple of weeks ago.
They are taking orders only - no stock yet.
http://www.lynncomp.com

>
>
>>$2800 for four Opteron 844's,

>
>
> Not even listed on Pricewatch now, 842s and 846s are though.


$750 at Lynn, down from $9xx.


>
>
>>and, well, you get one SATA disc and only one of the Opterons gets any memory
>>with the change from $5000.

>
>
> Hmmm, less than $200 to cover memory and 'other things'.
> I think you're going over $6K by a decent margin for working system.


Even a $6K, that is half the price of a basic 4-way Opty 840
system from the vendors that actually have something to sell.
Now if only I could get that percentage saving when building
my own desktop ...

 
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Never anonymous Bud
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      05-18-2004, 10:15 PM
Fresh from an Iraqi prisoner interrogation Rob Stow <(E-Mail Removed)>
smirked:

>Even a $6K, that is half the price of a basic 4-way Opty 840
>system from the vendors that actually have something to sell.


Well, as you already said, the MB you mentioned isn't even
available to end-users.

Add in that I said MORE than $6K, plus the time and effort it
takes to put such a beast together and get it running, and
$10K isn't that much of a leap.

When I can get a 4-way Opty MB for about $500, and the
CPUs for about $350 apiece, I'll consider the price almost
in my range.





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Thomas Womack
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      05-18-2004, 10:59 PM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On 18 May 2004 20:23:23 +0100 (BST), Thomas Womack
><(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>>In article <hFiqc.60030$(E-Mail Removed) e.rogers.com>,
>>Yousuf Khan <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>>The following article expects that AMD will take the price of 4-way systems
>>>down from an average of $10,000 to $5000 by next year.

>>
>>The price of a 4-way system is not much over $5000 *now*, isn't it?
>>$1700 for the Tyan board, $2800 for four Opteron 844's, $250 for a chassis,
>>and, well, you get one SATA disc and only one of the Opterons gets any memory
>>with the change from $5000.
>>
>>If I had anything resembling a business plan, I'd be tempted to get something
>>like the system above, but if I'm spending UKP3000 I think a second-hand
>>Smartcar would be more fun.
>>
>>I wonder if AMD will drop the Opteron 840 price enormously at some stage;
>>4 x 1400MHz with separate memory to each processor isn't bad for, say, a
>>shell-account machine.
>>
>>Tom

>IMHO, it borders a crime not to outfit all 4 Opterons with the memory
>in such a highest end system.


Well, of course; a more sensible system won't leave much change from
$7000, since you probably do want 4GB of memory and 15krpm SCSI
RAID. It's still cheaper than manufacturer-guaranteed second-hand
cars, and deeply cheaper than any new car in the UK. It's probably
too *loud* to have as a desktop, even if I could think of desktop
tasks for which such a behemoth would be sane.

I'm not sure I'd call a system with two dual-core CPUs a quad system,
though I'm not quite sure where that prejudice comes from; I suppose
that part of the issue of a quad system is the enormous motherboard
required physically to fit four sockets, four cooling systems, four
sets of memory ... on memory-intensive tasks I think I'd rather have
more memory subsystems than more cores, dual-core Opterons will be no
less memory-starved than 800MHz FSB Noconas.

Tom
 
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myren, lord
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      05-19-2004, 04:02 AM
the big steps towards 4 way will be the incoming motherboard
technologies. the processors have only a marignal role here.

fb-ram and pci-express, together, represent the greatest enabler of 4
way or better technologies. fb-ram will enable far less pins with far
less demanding specifications for those huge banks of ram hanging off
your processors: and advantage only compounded by a direct to cpu
connection. pci-express by its serial nature allows for further
simplification of a overgrowing pci bus, as well as, iirc, longer signal
paths.

although opteron has eliminated the massively expensive switching
responsibility of the motherboard, it poses new challenges of feeding
four processors ram and i/o. the current technologies use gi-normous
amounts of channels to accomplish this. when fb-ram and pci-express
come out, the number of paths and the tolerances for these paths should
be improved by an order of magntiude. it is only when everyone and
their mother can cook up a new motherboard design from cheap parts that
we will see the rediuculous 4-way margins slowly be eatten away. you
can bet the current big boys will be fighting against this
commoditization as hard as they can.

opteron is amazing in that it has its switching technology built in via
ht. when it comes out natively supporting fb-ram in another year and a
half, then we will see a dawn of the new four way systems.
 
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Yousuf Khan
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      05-19-2004, 07:10 AM
myren, lord wrote:
> fb-ram and pci-express, together, represent the greatest enabler of 4
> way or better technologies. fb-ram will enable far less pins with far
> less demanding specifications for those huge banks of ram hanging off
> your processors: and advantage only compounded by a direct to cpu
> connection. pci-express by its serial nature allows for further
> simplification of a overgrowing pci bus, as well as, iirc, longer
> signal paths.


FBRAM has yet to prove itself (or even come out).

Hypertransport allows one to do something even more performance oriented for
the overgrowing PCI bus than PCI-E. It allows you to hang multiple PCI buses
directly off of separate processors, load balancing the load and
partitioning the data off in a way.

Yousuf Khan


 
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