If you are a hardcore techy, nothing really gets you more excited than walking into a datacenter with the opportunity to play with tens of thousands of dollars of high-end gear. This is exactly how the owners of XCPUs feel anytime we get wind of a new shipment of cloud servers coming our way or a new chip, such as AMD’s long-awaited Interlagos. For those of us that not only enjoy playing with this type of equipment but also have to make a living off of it, there are key factors that go into deciding what to buy and eventually deploy for our business. All these factors generally boil down to three words: Bang for Buck. Our friends at SuperMicro, who also happen to make most of the gear we deploy for our cloud servers, were kind enough to overnight us a pair of wonderful, shiny, new AMD Opteron 6276 CPUs. By design, these CPUs are supposed to be drop-in upgrades for any Socket G34 server out there, provided your manufacturer has released a BIOS updated to support them. The key elements we want to cover in this review are:
- Ease of Upgradeability
- Performance compared to the prior generation Magny Cours, in this case a pair of Opteron 6128 CPUs
Factors that desktop users rarely or never consider are paramount in datacenters. The big tow are power and rackspace costs. Power costs are two fold: first is how much power it takes to run your server, and second is how much power it takes to keep your server cool. CPUs, motherboards, HDDs and power supplies that suck down power and pump it back out as heat always get the thumbs down from us. Rackspace costs are generally pretty fixed. You pay for the space you occupy. So if you can serve up more clients from the same space, that is a big win. This is generally accomplished with either faster servers, or more density (more servers in the same rackspace). An additional cost, especially for companies providing or running licensed software such as various Cloud operating systems are the cost to pay for those licenses. Not all, but many licenses today are tied to the number of sockets you use, so any upgrade that reduces the number of licenses you pay for quickly pays for itself. Higher core counts here are worth their weight in gold.