Dual Processors vs. Dual Core Processors

2015 pts.
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Hardware
I've seen a lot of talk about dual core processors, but no real benchmarks matching a dual core processors against a dual processor setup with processors rated the same speed and with matching caches, or at least as close as is possible to make a valid comparison between the two. Can anyone point me toward an unbiased test of this sort? We will shortly begin to spec out some new servers and are curious as to which path we should go--dual processor or dual core processor. Thanks. Steve

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Hi Steve,

For all intents and purposes a dual core is two processors with their own cache – so it can be seen as dual processors, the real advantage of this is that most software is currently licensed on a CPU basis – that is to say, physical CPU’s. So, you could save in licensing terms and as far as benchmarking goes – a dual core should perform just as well as a dual processor setup.

Cheers
Christo

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  • Rayne427
    I agree. From a licensing stand point, it is a no-brainer. The only thing that I would be cautious about is the fact that it is a sing processor with two cores. If part of that processor fails, the whole machine stops running whereas if you have dual processors, on can fail and that machine will keep running on the remaining processor. Since most of the time multiple processors and dual core processors are being considered for servers, you may have to weigh out what kind of downtime you could live with if a dual core processor were to fail on a server.
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  • PGHruby
    I/O bandwidth in current Opteron and next generation Xeon systems is better with two CPUs vs. dual core due to dedicated CPU channels. Current Xeon chipsets share I/O between all the processors, so there is no measureable difference in dual core vs. dual CPU systems. Compute intensive tasks that do not tax I/O will behave similarly between dual core and dual CPU. Given a choice between Opteron and Xeon systems, I would choose AMD over Intel but you are limited to server vendors.
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  • KerryK
    I am suprised that software is more commonly licensed on a per physical CPU basis. The experiences I have had are of licensing on a logical CPU i.e. we had to turn off HT on our database server because it saw this as dual processors.
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  • Craigatcare
    Just to clarify about the down time thing, not all platforms will stay up if say one processor fails, other than taking the secondary processor out and installing into the primary slot your still going to experience down time also some system boards do require you to install a dummy processor in any slot that isnt used by a processor so your not always able to run off just the one processor. Usually nowadays most modern server boards have a BMC which needs the firmware reprogramming if any changes such as a processor is removed, failing this the server will down itself as the BMC will detect a fatal error. Not to say that intel's xeon processors ever go wrong.
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  • Craigatcare
    Just to clarify about the down time thing, not all platforms will stay up if say one processor fails, other than taking the secondary processor out and installing into the primary slot your still going to experience down time also some system boards do require you to install a dummy processor in any slot that isnt used by a processor so your not always able to run off just the one processor. Usually nowadays most modern server boards have a BMC which needs the firmware reprogramming if any changes such as a processor is removed, failing this the server will down itself as the BMC will detect a fatal error. Not to say that intel's xeon processors ever go wrong.
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  • Fred555
    Here are the rule of thumb criteria that I am using. Remember perfect is each Core or Processor gets you n times the number of cores or processors you have in performance. Again this is the theoretical maximum you can expect. Multiprocessor the loss in adding processor power is generally a tenth. 2 processor single core will achieve approximately 1.9 processors of power due to overhead. From everything that I have read the multicore will only return you today aproximately 50% more or for a dual core 1.5 processors worth of power based on some of the information that was posted earlier. (shared buses and other parts.) So which do you pick? I just went through this debate for a desktop refresh. We need dual P or C because of the number of processes that need to be serviced. Many people get hung up on the fact that most applications are not written to take advantage of multiple processors because the applications are not written using threads which allows the program to split up work between the multiple CPUs. Poor mans multithreading of applications is to run multiple instances of the application. Obviously you have more overhead here but you do get to utilize the processors / cores because there are more processes that want CPU resources. If you take a quick look at what you have running on your machine may get a big win over single processor for desktop users. The feel of the system just tends to be more peppy because applications don't have to wait for processor resources. On my system there are 67 processes running and this doesn't include O/S drivers and stuff that also want CPU resources. So is Dual Core Better? You milage will vary. What it does get for you right now is more processors in less space. Same theory as blades. It also gets you a dual or quad box cheaper than today or last quarters alternative which was to buy a box that handled that many processors. You can today buy a dual processor mother board for your server (pick your vendor) that is much cheaper than a quad mother board or more. In my desktop refresh we were able to reduce the price in half by buying a single slot mother board with a dual core processor. Before our altenative was a dual slot mother board with single core processors. You also have to look at your applications. Do they need to have the fastest CPU on the block? If so then single core is still the way to go.
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  • Taney2000
    Fred I have seen you post that the dual cored procs are only .5 instead of the .9 on a dual proced system. Where are you basing that information? I have yet to see anything reputable that coralates any difference between dual core and dual proceded.
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  • Stevesz
    FWIW, we have decided to go with the dual processors. There is too much we don't know about the dual core processors right now to take a chance on that. When our PCs next come up for replacement, we will get them with dual cores to see how they work, and if it is worth it to use for a server. Thanks for your comments here. Steve
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