I was in hopes of sharing some power and benchmark data with you on an advanced AMC processor card that we are developing using the Penryn SFF processor and the small form factor Intel GS45 Express chipset in this blog. However, that will have to wait until next time. Implementing some IPMI-related code specified in the MicroTCA PICMG specification is giving us fits and a less than cooperative vendor isn’t helping our product release schedule one little bit. Ah well that’s life in processor board development land! We now have the situation under control so I should be able to share the test and product qualification data with you in my next blog.
In this blog I would like to share with some interesting information that compares a single board computer with two single core processors to an SBC using one quad-core CPU. We’re finding that more of our customers are asking questions such as; “Does a single quad-core CPU outperform an SBC with two, single core processors?” Of course we all know the correct answer is “It Depends…” but the following data tells an interesting story.
Benchmark Parameters & Board Specifications
First let me set the stage. This OEM customer has used our dual processor NLT board for a number of years and their end-user customers are very happy with the performance results in their specific application. The Trenton NLT board uses the Nocona-Lindenhurst platform. The OEM was looking for a way to increase performance, reduce cost while increasing the cooling and power efficiency of the system design. The Trenton MCXI board has a single processor with the Intel 5000P (i.e. Blackford) chipset and supports a variety of multi-core processor options. Here are the specifics of each board and the benchmark test parameters used in the performance comparison:
Board & Test Specs.
Trenton NLT, PICMG 1.3 SBC/SHB
Trenton MCXI, PICMG 1.3 SBC/SHB
Single Core, 64-bit Intel Xeon (Nocona)
Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processor E5440 (Harpertown)
3.4GHz used in testing, customer actually uses the embedded 3.2GHz/1MB L2 Cache CPU in the application
2.83GHz (embedded CPU)
12MB (2x6MB shared)
TDP / Tcase (max)
110W / 72° C
85W / 67° C
Windows XP, SP2
Windows XP, SP3
HDD & Interface
Maxtor D70 X / UltraATA 100
WD800 / SATA II 300
2GB / DDR2-400 DIMMs
4GB / FB-DIMMs DDR2-667
Benchmark Test Data
Here is a table with the raw data numbers obtained in our benchmark comparison tests:
Trenton NLT SBC
MCXI with ONE Intel Quad Xeon Harpertown 2.83GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 12GB L2 Cache (E5440), 4-1GB DDR2-667 FB DIMMs
Business Suite Benchmark
Of course benchmark data is very subjective and can vary from system-to-system and application-to-application. System memory, HDD type and software can be modified to change the benchmark test results; however, this basic set of data confirms that a single board computer using a more recent quad-core processor should be able to out perform a legacy dual processor board with two single core processors in most applications.
System Design Savings
Intel has done a great job in recent years of improving the thermal efficiency of high-performance processors while increasing computing performance capabilities with the introduction of multi-core processors. In this application the customer saves in a variety of ways:
>> Lower CPU thermal design power (TDPs) results in less costly system fans
>> Tcase ratings are maintained in order to take advantage of these lower TDPs
>> Changing to a single, quad-core processor on a single board computer will result in the customer saving about 16.5\% in SBC costs
>> Power supply simplification will also lead to additional system cost savings
Next time look for some design information and benchmark data on the upcoming Trenton MCP6792 AMC Processor card featuring the Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 processor and the card’s SFF Intel GS45 Express chipset.