Why did you say six months?
He's coming.
This matters. This is important. Why did you say six months?
Why did you say five minutes?

Sunday, April 29


Benchmarks: E3, E5, 6200

Comparing Kurumi (Xeon E3 1230), Midori (Opteron 6272) and A12 at my day job (dual E5 2620)

Threads Kurumi (E3 1230) Midori (6272) A12 (E5 2620 x2)
1 385 289 241
2 771 564 477
4 1216 1085 958
8 1627 1819 1930
16 1629 2116 3032
32 1626 2178 3126

The E5 2620 is the only dual-socket system, and is the most expensive of the three.  It also offers the best performance under heavy load - not surprising given the greater CPU resources - but as expected, lags behind under lighter loads due to the slower clock speed.

My performance model predicted a peak score of 3055; it actually outperformed that slightly, but I was pretty close.

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Saturday, April 28


Hadn't Thought Of That

If time travel is possible but causality still holds, then P = NP.

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Monday, April 23


Fringe Logic

So, we have 2009 Universe 1, 2009 Universe 2, 1985, Post-Ppocalypse, and now Post-Opocalypse timelines.

Has anyone done a flowchart of cause and effect in this show?  A good detailed one, including the dinosaur wormhole and the white tulip timeloop?  I suspect it would end up looking like a map of the London Underground.

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Saturday, April 21


Kurumi And Midori

Midori has now been set up.  Benchmarky time!

Kurumi is a 3.2GHz Xeon E3 1230; 4 cores with hyper-threading for 8 logical cores, and turbo mode up to 3.6GHz.

Midori is a 2.1GHz Opteron 6272; two dies on a single package, each with 4 modules with 2 cores each but with some shared resources, for 16 physical cores, and turbo mode up to 3GHz.

The Xeon E3 core is more efficient than the Opteron core, as well as running at higher clock speeds.  But the Opteron gives four times as many cores at a very modest price.

Let's see how they run for single-threaded applications, moderately-threaded ones, and then huge horrible messes of applications.  These scores are aggregate throughput on my little Python benchmark.

Threads Kurumi Midori
1 385 289
2 771 564
4 1216 1085
8 1627 1819
16 1629 2116
32 1626 2178


Things are pretty much as expected up to four threads; the higher clocks and stronger cores on the Xeons outrun the Opteron.  At eight threads, the Xeon delivers a better than expected result from hyperthreading, but the Opteron delivers an 80% scaling factor and outstrips the Xeon.

At 16 threads there's no improvement for the Xeon...  But there's not much from the Opteron either.  At 32 threads there's little change.


The Opteron is 25% slower for single-threaded applications, and 30% faster for multi-threaded ones.  The performance at 16 threads is disappointing; that's probably due to a combination of the lower clock speed when all cores are active and the shared resources between core pairs.  In fact, the performance gained by the extra cores in the Opteron is less than the gain from hyperthreading in the Xeon.  That's a surprise, and one I hope AMD can address in future versions of the chip.

But it supports four times as much memory, so it's a much better chip for large servers.

A dual Xeon E5 2620 (the other option I was looking at) would be as much as 40% faster, based on these benchmarks, but it would also be about 40% more expensive (for the same amount of memory and storage). And - here's the tricky part - up through 8 threads it would offer no advantage at all.  A dual E5 2620 would offer 12 full cores vs. 8 dual-core modules, but its lower maximum clock speed would offset the stronger architecture, and it would offer no performance advantage until you get beyond eight threads.

A dual Opteron 6272 would be about 40% faster again - at least, for heavily threaded workloads - and at the same price as the dual E5 2620.  But I've decided to go for dual servers once we get to that point.

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Friday, April 13


Midori And Kurumi

Just placed orders for two servers with ReliableSite.Net:

  • Opteron 6272 (16 cores, 2.1-3.0GHz)
  • 64 GB RAM
  • 2 x 2TB disks, RAID-1
  • 2 x 240GB SSDs, RAID-1 (Intel 520-series)
  • Xeon E3 1230 (4 cores x 2 threads, 3.4-3.8GHz)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 4 x 1TB disks, RAID-5
Midori will be main server, with Kurumi handling backup, logging, and monitoring tasks.  Depending on how things go, I might end up adding more small servers like Kurumi to act as the web servers while Midori handles databases and applications.  Everything is virtualised, so it will be easy to migrate tasks between boxes.

This is a very cost-effective solution too; it's about the same price as one Xeon E5 server, but gives me more CPUs (on the Opteron), faster CPUs (on the Xeon E3), more total memory, and a lot more disk space.

Really looking forward to getting these up and running. smile

Update: Kurumi is online!

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Thursday, April 12



I regularly buy games on Steam and GOG, and I'm ashamed to say I've even bought a game on Origin, but I've only used GamersGate a couple of times, for things that were either drastically cheaper that way or that I couldn't find elsewhere.

I just changed that in a significant way: I bought the 1C pack, the IndieFort bundle, and A-Train 9.  About 100 games in total for less than $60.

It's a very mixed bag, but the 1C pack offers more than 80 games for $20, including the well regarded King's Bounty, Men of War, and Space Rangers series.  Along with what I'm sure are some real stinkers, but given that the first King's Bounty game alone would set you back $15 on Steam, $5 for another 80 games is pretty amazing value.

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Monday, April 09



Talking to the hosting company in New Jersey, and it looks like mee.nu might be migrating eastwards in the coming months.  We have been there before, from late 2005 to 2006.  As best as I can recall:

2003 Miami
2004 Lansing, Michigan
2005 Houston
2006 New Jersey
2007-now Dallas

I'm looking for a suitable provider in San Francisco / San Jose to replicate services to the opposite coast, but our main hardware will likely be in New Jersey.

I've got the money to spend on this, but I wasn't eager to upgrade our current systems because it didn't feel like I was getting good value.  With this move, we'd be getting more hardware for less money - or a lot more hardware for the same money - which will give me scope to roll out lots of goodies.

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Sunday, April 08



CouchDB 1.2 is out.

I tried out 1.1 but ran into problems with database size and performance.  There were new features in the pre-release code to address both of those - specifically, a native JSON library and built-in database compression - but it was such a pain trying to build it* that I gave up and went elsewhere.

But now I can just download it and throw it on a server (or indeed, my notebook) and give it a whirl.  So I'll do that.

My attention is on MongoDB at the moment, but CouchDB has some nice features, such as its incredibly robust storage mechanism (it's practically indestructible; you can copy a database while it is being updated and just fire it up on a new server) and its incredibly flexible indexing (anything that you can define in a piece of Javascript code can be an index).  And multi-master replication.  The problems I ran into were (1) it was seriously slow at transferring large numbers of records, and (2) the database files were really, really huge.  So an update that specifically tackles those problems is of considerable interest.

* Erlang with embedded Javascript.  Eh.

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Friday, April 06


Comparison Shopping

I'm looking around at pricing on a newer, shinier server for the newer, shinier mee.nu I'm working on.  The baseline config I'm using is this:
  • Dual Xeon E5-2620 (2 x 6 cores, 2GHz)
  • 64GB RAM
  • 2 x 2TB disks
  • 2 x ~200GB SSDs
  • Hardware RAID-1
  • 10TB bandwidth on 100Mbps port
  • Remote access over IPMI
Let's see what I get from five different vendors, taking list price off the website of each:
  1. $615/month (but only 160GB SSDs)
  2. $655/month (240GB SSDs)
  3. $698/month (256GB SSDs)
  4. $764/month (240GB SSDs)
  5. $2,979/month (200GB SSDs)
Guess who's the odd one out?

Update: Sent out a couple of emails, got a reply back from number 3 who kindly pointed me to their latest specials.  I might be getting a smaller server with them to try things out, and if it all works well, get two more.  

And when I say "smaller" I mean 16 CPUs and 32GB of RAM, which is one-third more of each than have at the moment.  And then three of those.  I expect we can get four times our current capacity for the same price.

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Wednesday, April 04


Greatest Turn-Based Tactical RPG Of The Day

It's getting that way, isn't it? And isn't it wonderful?

Anyway, today it's Shadowrun, for PC, iOS thingies, and Android thingies.  They've only got 1.5% 4.5% 58% 79% of funding so far - but then, the project launched about an hour two eleven sixteen hours ago.*

* I checked, and at the time I spotted it, it had been active for an hour and had raised nearly $4000.  In the following hour, it's raised another $14,000, and is still accelerating.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:43 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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