AMD64 Opteron Released Today
We performed one test with the Icarus Verilog compiler. Icarus Verilog is a GPLed Verilog HDL compiler for electronic design automation (EDA), especially HDL simulation and synthesis. Linux Journal has interviewed Steve Williams, the author of Icarus, two times now. Over time, we have documented the steadily increasing advances this compiler has made as a serious industrial-strength EDA tool for logic and FPGA design. Because Steve has been building Icarus as 64-bit clean code for the last five years under Linux for Alpha, compiling the compiler was relative easy. What was of interest was learning how fast Icarus is on the Opteron, how well it responds to large workloads and many more cycles of operation in terms of runtime it completes.
We tested a large multiplier logic model and testbench from the Icarus test suite, and it was almost twice as fast as a 1.5GHz Athlon processor running the same binary. For the large workload test, a Verilog model consisting of 1,720,648 lines of HDL code was compiled. This process also was breathtaking. In 61 minutes, the machine compiled a model with a memory footprint larger than the largest user space in 32-bit Linux--3.6GB. Opteron clearly is well-suited to be an excellent server technology for engineering work.
One major proprietary EDA vendor, Cadence Design Systems, already has announced that it has ported its design for test (DFT) software, which had been used in designing Opteron, to Opteron.
The last major test we compiled was for the Linux Test Project (LTP). The LTP is a GPLed test environment for Linux, available for download at SourceForge. The version tested was ltp-full-20030404, from early April 2003. It compiled and ran the default tests.
64-bit SuSE Enterprise Linux is squeaky clean. Although the LTP is well geared to testing Linux, some other more quantitative data about Opteron is necessary to understand it's capabilities. We turn now to some preliminary benchmarks.
Some pre-release industry standard benchmarks available at press time are listed in Tables 1 and 2. These are for a dual-processor SMP Opteron 244 with PC2700 memory configuration, for 32-bit applications.
In the near future, the upside for 64-bit "long mode" applications running on Linux seems very high indeed, because eight-way SMP processors are coming. Linux Journal will be covering this emergent technology with additional articles in the future.
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