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AMD Opteron vs Intel Itanium

By MirrorMirror ·
My network admin has asked me about the possibility of using AMD Opteron Dual-Core processors instead of Intel Itanium for the cost savings of the AMD's. We are thinking about going to 64-bit but have not been given the thumbs up yet. Is anyone currently using the AMD Opteron processors in their database server? I found several articles that give their blessing for the AMD but wanted to know how someone's real life experience has been.

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Don't use Itanium

by stress junkie In reply to AMD Opteron vs Intel Itan ...

If you want Intel then use their 64 bit Pentium or Xeon. The Itanium has been considered a white elephant for a long time.

Word on the street is that the Opteron is better than any Intel processor. It's like ATI vs. Nvidia. AMD will take the lead for a year then Intel will come out with something and take the lead for a year or so. I think that as long as you avoid the Itanium you will be okay.

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one amd issue..

by Jaqui In reply to AMD Opteron vs Intel Itan ...

the opteron actually has a wired in limit of 51 bits. it is not functioning as a 64 bit processor.

intel's 64 bit processors do use 64 bits in them.

will that 13 bit difference make a huge difference?
only if every single application on your system is coded and built for 64 bit systems, which is not going to be the case with most commercial applications for another year or more.

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You are right

by MirrorMirror In reply to one amd issue..

I just found out from another DBA that the Opteron can not operate with SQL 2000 64-bit but can with SQL 2005. Go figure. We are not going to upgrade to 2005 anytime soon. I think that 64-bit is just being thrown around as an idea. I think that we will be sticking with 32 bit for the forseeable future.

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Are you sure?

by stress junkie In reply to one amd issue..

I just checked AMD documentation at the following URL:,,30_182_739_9003,00.html

I looked at "AMD Opteron Processor Data Sheet" and "BIOS and Kernel Developer's Guide for AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Opteron Processors".

According to the "Opteron Processor Data Sheet" the Opteron processors have 16 registers for integer data that are 64 bits wide and 16 registers for SSE/SSE2 that are 128 bits wide. It goes on to say that the address registers are limited to 48 bit virtual addresses and 40 bit physical addresses. The "BIOS ..." document is full of references to registers. They range in function from integer ALU to system management functions. The registers that I read about are all 64 bits wide except as noted above for the SSE registers and the size of the address space.

The data sheet did not specifically mention the floating point unit. The "BIOS ..." document always referenced SSE operations when it talked about floating point operations.

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I heard

by Jaqui In reply to Are you sure?

it from a hard core assembly programmer, it showed in his tests of an opteron cpu.
I'll see if he has logs of his testing.
I know he told me he had contacted amd about this, but had never heard back from them.

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by MirrorMirror In reply to AMD Opteron vs Intel Itan ...

I really appreciated your input. I did check out the AMD specs...actually I let my network admin check them out...and it looks like we are going with the AMD's. I also checked with other SQL Server DBA's and I had a few shops confirm that they are running 32-bit SQL Server on AMD's in production and they are performing well.

Just wanted to say thank you.

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