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Sept 9th Sun Expert Exchange: "Opteron and x86"

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by John D Groenveld, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. <URL:http://www.sun.com/expertexchange/>
    | Opteron and x86: Raising the Standard on Industry Standards

    | Find out why there is very little 'standard' about Sun's new industry-
    | standard servers and workstations. Join John Fowler, EVP of Sun's
    | Network Systems Group for a 60-minute live Q&A session. Together with
    | a panel of Sun experts, he'll answer your questions regarding Sun's
    | low cost, high performance Opteron systems.

    | Speakers:
    | # John Fowler, Executive Vice President, Network Systems Group
    | # Jack O'Brien, Group Marketing Manager, x86 OS Platforms
    | # Brian Healy, Group Marketing Manager, Network Systems Group
    | # John Fanelli, Senior Director Marketing, Network Systems Group
    | # Matt Stander, Engineering Product Architect, Network Systems Group
    | # Rajesh Shakkarwar, Product Line Director, Network Systems Group

    | Thursday, Sept. 9th
    | 10-11 a.m. PDT
    | 1-2 p.m. EDT
    | 6-7 p.m. GMT

    Looks like a great opportunity to give feedback to product management.

    John D Groenveld, Aug 28, 2004
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  2. The transcript from the Q&A in PDF is now online in the Expert Exchange
    Archive section.

    John D Groenveld, Sep 15, 2004
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  3. John D Groenveld

    Frank Cusack Guest

    | Q: Re: laptop plans. Please give us a choice of UNIX or PeeCee
    | keyboard layouts. Trying to use vi on a PC keyboard is a killer.
    | Control to the left of A, please (like Sun's current UNIX-style
    | layout)!

    Of course this is a dumb question (at least the afterthought is dumb)
    because control key placement doesn't affect vi, really, and I doubt
    there's a laptop made today with a 'hard' caps lock key, ie the keys
    are all mappable even on the text console. The killer for vi is
    distant placement of the ESC key. On most laptops I've seen, where
    it's too far, it's near impossible to get a good mapping just because
    of special-function laptop keys in the vicinity. Still though, I do
    very well just with caps-lock/control swapping.

    | Q: Have you talked to Checkpoint and SecureClient support to enable
    | SecurID authenticated VPN connections?

    Me: probably better to go the open source route here.

    Another super interesting one:

    | Q: What is the timeframe for Studio 9 in 64-bit for Opteron?
    | A: Studio 10, sync'd with Solaris 10. [paraphrased]

    It's a 10 page pdf, very interesting if you're interested in Sun
    and Opteron. I only wish someone had asked about a QUIET Opteron
    desktop. I want a dual head silent workstation.

    Frank Cusack, Sep 15, 2004
  4. |I only wish someone had asked about a QUIET Opteron
    |desktop. I want a dual head silent workstation.

    Easy - put an opteron in a closet far away and two Sun Rays on your
    desktop. (Okay, you can't run a setup like that on Solaris x86 yet,
    and won't get much OpenGL performance, but otherwise it's easy... 8-P )
    Alan Coopersmith, Sep 15, 2004
  5. More questions (smart or dumb) from customers and answers from Sun's
    product managers and senior management about mobile workstation systems,
    Anyone know how the Sun W2100z compares with the IBM A Pro regarding

    John D Groenveld, Sep 15, 2004
  6. John D Groenveld, Sep 15, 2004
  7. As much as I prefer Sun's "Unix" layout, I doubt I've ever even hit the
    "Esc" key - I've used Control-[ for so long it wouldn't occur to me to
    hunt for a special key.

    Richard L. Hamilton, Sep 16, 2004
  8. John D Groenveld

    Tao Chen Guest

    I missed the event, otherwise I would have asked.

    It uses probably the most powerful and loudest 120mm fan
    one can find on the market: Delta AFB1212SHE.

    The fan goes to full speed when temp goes high inside the box.

    Two CPU fans on side of heatsinks are also very loud.

    IMHO, the layout of those fans seems to be very inefficient:


    The 1st CPU fan blows hot air toward the 2nd CPU and memory board.
    The 120mm fan is mostly blocked by the 2nd CPU heatsink.

    Another strange part is, the 2nd CPU heatsink is a little
    different from the first one: it has an extra piece of
    metal (with white labels) on the other side of the heatsink
    (facing the 120mm fan):


    Isn't that blocking the airflow ?!

    Ok, in order to make it a perfect machine, I've been thinking
    about using 3rd-party cooling solution (even water cooling)
    to make it quieter and cooler, then I found out just now that
    the socket board is not compatible with most if not all
    popular K8 heatsinks/waterblocks.


    In other words, I would have to make two holes on the board (if it's
    possible at all in those positions) for each CPU in order to use 3rd
    party cooling solution.

    I am really pissed off :)

    Sorry for the whining, I am one of those who have to sit next to
    the computers, no remote place to put them.

    Tao Chen, Sep 16, 2004
  9. I hear ya! I have a e4500, Sun Blade 1000 and a SUn E250 "RIGHT" next to
    Bruno Saverio Delbono, Sep 16, 2004
  10. John D Groenveld

    Beardy Guest

    I personally *love* the background noise. The sound of a disk drive
    repeatedly seeking to find a dead track is comparable with Beethoven.
    Beardy, Sep 17, 2004
  11. John D Groenveld

    Doug Smith Guest

    Can you retain the original CPU heat sinks but replace the fans that are
    mounted on them? (And, of course, the case fan and power supply fan.)

    I replaced the hard disk, the power supply fan and the intake fan in my
    SB100 and completely removed the fan from the SunPCI-III board. Now the
    machine is basically inaudible.

    Well worth the very modest effort..
    Doug Smith, Sep 17, 2004
  12. John D Groenveld

    GreyCloud Guest

    No reason why not. Just as long as you pay attention if any white paste
    (heat sink paste) was used and continue that practice of using said
    paste on the heat sink.
    But for how long?
    GreyCloud, Sep 17, 2004
  13. John D Groenveld

    Doug Smith Guest

    Well, at least 3 years, pretty much non-stop. :)

    FWIW, I took a lot of cpu temp readings before and after replacing the
    fans. With the silent fans the temps do run about 3 degrees warmer.
    Still well under max specs.

    Right now, (uptime > 22 days) prtdiag tells me:

    Temperature sensors:
    Location Sensor Temperature Lo LoWarn HiWarn Hi Status
    +em-board/cpu0 Die 62C -10C 0C 85C 90C okay
    +em-board/cpu0 Ambient 36C -10C 0C 40C 60C okay

    Bottom line here is that most hardware makers (even Sun) really skimp on
    fans (among other things, keyboards for example) in order to hit some
    magical price point. Note that this magical price point was set by
    marketing NOT by engineering.

    Much higher quality fans are available that run quiet and still move
    plenty of CFM. But, they typically cost 10 bucks instead of 59 cents.

    A workstation is part of a system and the most important peripheral in
    that system is the Pitiful Human Unit (PHU). In my view, the PHU needs
    to be just as happy, if not more happy, than the CPU. Certainly, the
    CPU is easier to replace, goes obsolete more quickly, etc.. ;-)
    Doug Smith, Sep 18, 2004
  14. John D Groenveld

    Tao Chen Guest

    Yes, I can take CPU fan off the heatsink:


    However, I don't know if I will find a better 70mm fan, 'better'
    means at least the same CFM, but with lower dBA.

    The model number is 2806-04W-B89.
    It's made by NMB(MINEBEA) for sure, but I can't find this
    specific part# on their website.


    Looking at product catalog online, the number 89 after 'B' should
    represent the performance.
    The closest one I can find is '2806KL-04W-B60', which has spec:
    AirFlow: 1.080 m3/min
    Noise: 39.0 dB

    Since the Opteron chip obviously generate lots of heat,
    I cannot just replace the fan with a quiet one, because
    quieter usally means lower airflow.

    The heatsink is the most important part IMO.
    Larger/copper/Better_designed heaksink should emanate
    heat much better than this one, with the same fan,
    which means the fan speed can be tuned lower.

    Water cooling will be even better.

    Same for the 120mm Fan, I can find a quieter one, but hardly
    with the same power.
    I know. However, you cannot compare the heat in SB100 to
    W2100z, which has TWO Opteron CPUs.
    I cannot just take out the fans and hope it survive.

    Tao Chen, Sep 18, 2004
  15. John D Groenveld

    Tao Chen Guest

    Very nice output.

    I wonder if 'prtdiag' can give this data on W2100z (my box is dismantled
    right now :).
    Tao Chen, Sep 18, 2004
  16. John D Groenveld

    Tao Chen Guest

    Never mind. Just installed the 1st CPU back and tried:

    # prtdiag
    prtdiag: not implemented on i86pc
    Tao Chen, Sep 18, 2004
  17. John D Groenveld

    GreyCloud Guest

    Looks like reasonable temp measurements to me.
    GreyCloud, Sep 18, 2004
  18. John D Groenveld

    Juhan Leemet Guest

    Physics, I guess, they get quieter with lower RPM => lower airflow.
    Once you have decent bearings, then most of the noise comes from
    cavitation (?) around edges the prop blades, I think?
    Bigger heatsink should also allow bigger fan, which should also move
    more air at a lower RPM, and probably have more silent blade shape.
    Hmm, I have wondered about that and Googled around. I have also had fish
    tanks with water pumps and recall that they do produce some low pitched
    hum, though not as bad as air pumps for fish tanks. Haven't actually gone
    to spend any money on this technology, but it looks cute.

    Has anyone used water cooling for any Sun gear?
    ....or is that just "disco racer" customization cram?
    If one has the space, I suppose one could use a bigger fan, lower RPMs and
    a baffle to channel/collect the airflow and direct it against the CPU
    heatsink. I have some machines that sort of do that but they are noisy,
    probably because they don't use much bigger fans.

    FWIW, I did some research on sound levels, and it is really, really HARD
    to get things quiet (sound studio quiet), esp. in an urban environment.
    Juhan Leemet, Sep 18, 2004
  19. John D Groenveld

    Doug Smith Guest

    I agree. However, I have performed the same procedures on a dual CPU
    Athlon box with good results.

    Agreed. I would want to see CPU temp data before and after any
    modifications. I see in another posting that prtdiag does not exist in
    x86 Solaris -- bummer.. Is there any way to find your CPU temps? Is
    there a BIOS embedded in firmware like on PC x86 boxes? If so, maybe
    there is a mechanism in that firmware to examine CPU temps.
    Doug Smith, Sep 18, 2004
  20. John D Groenveld

    Tao Chen Guest

    This is temp provided by BIOS, before any modification
    ( room temp is around 84F ):


    It only reads the second CPU's temp, don't ask me why.

    What I have done so far is applying 'Arctic Silver 5' between
    CPU and heatsink, as many people recommended, and add two
    types of fans to the system:


    The 120mm fan on top seems to help cooling down CPU
    quite a bit, now it normally shows
    Mem: 40, CPU: 51-54, Sys: 40.

    Howerver, those two CPU fans are still very loud under workload.
    I suppose it will be better when summer is over :)

    Tao Chen, Sep 18, 2004
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