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I am building a development server for a calculation-intensive application. We're using CUDA and maxing out our current CPU. Floating-point calculation speed is of most importance.

I have been searching here and elsewhere for sometime and the consensus seems to be that the difference used to be that the Xeons lacked the floating-point power of their i7 counterparts, but they were better at multi-threading (multiprocessor communication, more cores, etc).

Is this still the case? Or can a Xeon keep up with an i7 with regards to floating-point calculations? I'm speaking generally here, assuming the two processors are of the same generation, roughly same specs, etc.

I am debating between a system with a single Core i7 or two Xeons (our code can take advantage of however many CPU cores are available).

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Shouldn't you be getting a GPU? –  Michael Hampton Feb 19 '13 at 21:17
    
Not all functionality can be put in parallel. Some of the code needs to be run on a full CPU. –  r_robotics Feb 20 '13 at 19:28

1 Answer 1

Generally Xeon's have more cores than the 'i' range - i.e. the most cores on an i7 you can get today is 6, whereas you can get 10 core Xeon's. That said clock for clock there won't be much if any FP difference between matching families, and two Xeon's will almost certainly kick a single i7's backside, unless you consciously went out of your way to reverse that.

Oh and it's Xeon not Xenon - and can you read our FAQ too please, I think you'd benefit from it.

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I thought they were almost the same except xeons had much larger caches and more cores? –  Matt Feb 19 '13 at 20:08
    
Thanks for the info. Also, thanks for the edit, I'm running low on sleep and just screwed the name up...every time :) –  r_robotics Feb 19 '13 at 20:08
    
@Matt - much of the ALU is very similar but there's HUGE amounts of RAS features built throughout Xeons that is the real focus of their design - basically to keep the show on the road in the event of minor or even major failures that would halt say an i7 or AMD. Have a look here if you're interested; intel.co.uk/content/www/us/en/servers/… –  Chopper3 Feb 19 '13 at 20:11
    
@Chopper3, sorry don't really know why you reference me to the faq. I realize that the post title seems like a buying recommendation. But the heart of the issue was a question about server hardware. Is this a problem? Perhaps next time I will frame the question better. –  r_robotics Feb 19 '13 at 20:13
    
@r_robotics - well yeah, the buying thing is one issue, also this site's for professional sysadmins, there are better places for coders and people who do that kind of thing, also generally, and don't take this too badly please - but pro sysadmins know they're called 'Xeons' :) –  Chopper3 Feb 19 '13 at 20:15

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