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Ron_Jeremy

Current Opteron chipset status quo

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I have a baby Opteron (240) & am looking for a single cpu board. Reading reviews over here shows that VIA is the top performing chipset, with Nvidia trailing some memory intensive benches due to the way the Opty interfaces with ram.

I have a VIA free home & would like to keep it that way. No flames please, it's just that I like to hold grudges.

Anyhow, my question is simple: ;)

Do you feel the Nvidia "deficiency" can be corrected with future BIOS revisions, or is a board redesign the only way?

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I have not found anything yet that talks about *exactly* how NVidia restricted the downlink bus.

I have read a couple references to a missing SATA RAID controller (like the Tom's article). But does this mean the board *physically* dedicates "8-bits" to the SATA chip and the other "8-bits" to the AGP handler? :unsure:

If they *could* fix it via firmware, I would have expected an anouncement about it. :blink:

********

I have to love the irony of *the* premiere graphics company producing a chipset with sub-par AGP performance.

Can you imagine? "Uh, well, our FX2000 will perform better if you *don't* use our chipset..."

Man that's gotta hurt!

I also wonder if people that have NForce3 boards will hold a grudge regarding graphic perfomance?

The VIA 133A[ whatever the dual PIII chipset is/was] was my first departure from Intel chipsets. HA! I'm not sure who to be more mad at: Asus or VIA.

Fortunately Tyan lets me avoid both companies. :)

I really like the look of that Tiger board.

DogEared

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Ron,

You...hoo hoo...are relying...ha ha ha...on a..{gasp}...Tom's Hardware review...hee hee...for serious information? Ho ho ho ho...

Seriously, their conclusions were probably the biggest piece of stinker reporting I have read recently - the Via chipset ONLY LEAD ON ARTIFICIAL GRAPHICS BENCHMARKS (SPECviewperf)! On all the REAL-WORLD games they benchmarked, the results were so close as to be indistinguishable. Meanwhile, the nForce chipsets lead on the processing intensive benchmarks, such as encoding (as well by an indistinguishable amount though). And on THAT basis, Tom's went ahead and declared the Via the conclusive winner...ho ho ho, hee hee hee...my sides hurt. Someone take them out and shoot them so I can stop laughing so hard...

Now as a veteran of SR, you KNOW that artificial benchmarks are fairly shitty - look at the "esteem" that Sandra and HDTach are held in here. If nVidia decided to slow the Hypertransport bus (what Tom's calls "secure mode"), there are probably real stability issues that they found in their testing - and since the Opteron is primarily a server chipset, they erred on the side of caution. So should you...and ignore the artificial benchies and enjoy a hell of a fast, stable machine. With an nForce chipset, of course...

Future Shock

N.B. - I haven't read too many other Opteron chipset benchies, so if others come out that show significant REAL-WORLD speed advantages for the Via, I am prepared to review my position, but I haven't seen any myself...

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i was about to say the same thing Honold.. the 755 I believe... I'm a new found believer in SiS chipsets after my good experiences with their 651 chipset.

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I would go with one of the TYAN boards.
Great board, but like I said I am looking for a single cpu solution to get my feet wet with Opteron (i.e., cheap).

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Asus SK8N

Yes, that is a good choice for single CPU configurations. Like it was said above if you want 64 bit PCI now you will have to get a dual board. For me I was looking at Opterons and priced a fully loaded 240 system for just under $1800 at newegg 14 bay case + 550W PS + 4 * 512MB PC3200 ECC DDR CL2 + K8W + 2 * Opteron 240 + Copper haetsink / fans. However when I thought about it for $570 I could get a dual processor MP 2400 with a Thunder K7 Pro (with dual gigabit ethernet) and upgrade a current system instead. The K7 Pro with 2 2400 Athlon MPs would be signifigantly faster the the dual 240 Opteron system in most apps but it will have less than 1/2 of the memory bandwith and no upgrade path.

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Assuming all other variables are equal, how do you think a 240/SK8N would compare to a 2500+/Nforce2 combo? I mostly do "general" things like converting wavs to mp3's, MS Office, & light user stuff like that.

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The 2500+/Nforce2 combo would be faster in most apps. The following, although highly oversimplified, is my reasoning: The Opteron X40 CPU is 1.4GHz which is stated to have a -5 to 30% improvement over the Athlon XP in IPC in most benchmarks. At 30% this is as if it was a 1.82GHz Athlon XP. The Athlon XP 2500 happens to be 1.83GHz so the Opteron can match the 2500 performance but it will only when it can achieve the 30% IPC improvement.

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tyan makes stable boards

Yes. This is my primary reason why all the dual proc boards I have purchased (for my department) in the past were TYAN. I like supermicro but they are Intel only. I have not bought an Intel processor for years because I am always interested in getting the most performance for the buck and you will certainly not do that with Intel processors.

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Tyan doesn't ALWAYS make stable boards. I (and many others) went through 3 Tiger 133 dual PIII mobos before I simply gave up and asked for an older Tiger 100 in return. Of course, the Tiger 133 had a Via chipset, the Tiger 100 was an Intel BX...

That Tiger 100 has been running 7x24 for the last 4 years without a hitch though...

Future Shock

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I agree the Tiger 133 sucked.  I returned it after 45 days of use.  I have not had problems with Thunder series boards of Tyan.

This is of course due to the "famous stability" of Via chipsets.

The funny thing is, Via can claim all of the performance they want, in terms of specs, but in terms of real-world stability, once whatever bugs are found in the chipset, six months after already being on the market, then they will implement workarounds in the BIOS and their "Hyperion" drivers, and then performance will be overall lower than the alternatives. (For example, consider my MSI KT4V-L mobo with Via KT400/8235 chipset. The onboard mobo IDE channels can only do 22MB/s, with a UDMA-33 device. My old i430TX/PIIX4E Socket7 board was worlds faster. I hypothesize that this is due to the 1.8 firmware upgrade slowing down the "V-Link" inter-chipset bus, to fixed data-corruption issues. Remember, the KT400/8235 was the first implemenation of the then-new Via "8x" V-Link bus.)

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