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Re: Alpha performance/cost numbers?

On Thu, 12 Nov 1998, Chris Albertson wrote:

> I have what one would think an easy question.  I have a large
> on-going computational task.  Processing many images
> a day.  I need the lowest cost hardware solution.  I define
> cost as
>        (specFP+specINT)/( 2.0 * (Cost of the box))
> Which is an average of integer and FP performance over cost.
> Remember that image processing is inherently parallel.  If I
> have 100 images I could use 100 computers and be done in a
> few minutes.  One image (2K x 2K x 16-bit) requires about
> two minutes on a 400Mhz 128MB RAM.Pentium II
> Could anyone prove me wrong when I say a 350Mhz Pentium II
> based PC wins when you look at performance/cost.  A few of
> these machines would do my job.  Maybe one of the Alpha
> hardware vendors on the list could show me that an Alpha
> is more cost effective.  For the compute server application
> we don't need fancy graphics cards or monitor.  (Remember
> that we are talking about the gcc compiler so it is not
> fair to quote spec numbers derived from the DEC compiler.)

It depends on what type of image processing you're doing.  Alphas excel in
floating point operations, and therefore will give much higher performance
if your code involves lots of floating point operations.  21164's beat Intel
in integer by a reasonable margin, but are double in floating point.  Of
course, the 21264 beats the pants off everything...if you can afford it.  

It is comparing apples and oranges to ask if your application will perform
better by looking at SpecINT numbers, and as you say, the compilers may be
different too.  The best way is to actually run time trials on the
application itself.  If you have code already written I'd be happy to
compile it and run a few tests on my LX164 (533MHz), which can be obtained
for a comparable price to a high end (400-450MHz) Intel.

This sounds like a good job for a linux Beowolf cluster...

-- Bob

 / Rube Goldberg? Bah! Amateur! I give you..Windows 98! Linux everywhere \ 
| Linux, because everyone's work is mission critical.   ANYTHING inside.  |
|_Bob McElrath (mcelrath@wisconsin.cern.ch) Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison_|

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