RE: [squid-users] Xeon / P3 / Dual decision

From: <>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 12:51:47 -0800

My company is also looking into an Athlon MP solution; the Appro 1124
configured with internal RAID, Ultra160 drives, and lots of DDR memory looks
to be one possibility my company is looking into for a pair of 2
high-traffic Squid accelerator boxes for next year. We rely heavily on a
redirector, which is taxing, so high-system speed is going to be important
to us. Right now we use Sun Enterprise servers (running Linux), which
aren't exactly great in the CPU department, but are nice in the overall
hardware design department, this isn't beneficial to us in our heavy use of
redirectors. My best educated guess is that Athlon MP systems will do this
fastest, based upon benchmarks I have seen. We use a python-based
redirector, and the new Athlons really excel at running Python fast (not to
mention improve communication between Squid and the redirectors); also, the
advantage of using 266MHz DDR RAM is quite nice, I imagine, for
frequently-used in-memory cached objects.

There is, AFAICT, only one server-grade dual Athlon MB right now (Tyan
thunder K7), which may be a drawback, but it has received a lot of excellent
review, though it does have fairly serious power and cooling requirements
(the Appro box that my company is strongly considering, according to the
AnandTech review I read, is designed to deal with this from the start The other
disadvantage to the Tyan board is that it doesn't have 64-bit PCI support,
at least in its current revision. Hopefully once I eventually get my hands
on these boxes, I'll be able to do a few informal benchmarks and

I imagine, though, for raw latency, and not using helpers such as auth,
redirectors, or dnsserver processes, your biggest issue is not CPU speed or
quantity, but system bus (FSB and peripheral) bandwidth, memory speed, and
storage throughput. Still, the Athlon MP platform may excel at this better
than any Xeon offering (AnandTech's database benchmarks might reflect its
potential advantages in a small-read-io-intensive situation where the CPU
speed is not that big of a deal -

Also, dual CPU with respect to either the MP Xeon and Athlon MP systems
should buy you at least some better overall system performance including raw
IO on a heavily saturated system. Gbit ethernet may be overkill though for
8Mb of IP traffic, though supposedly it often has a marginal latency
improvement over 100Mb ethernet.

Again, these stats are purely hearsay, and I haven't personally had a chance
to play around with this hardware, but I think its a smart guess that this
is the way to go - at least the way I plan to go when I buy replacement
servers for my outdated Sun equipment. If nothing else, from a
performance/value standpoint, it makes good sense. I agree with Andrew: for
the price (I think about $3500-4000 each, loaded), you could likely get 2
boxes like this for the price of a dual-Xeon box, though that might be


-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew []
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 11:23 PM
To: Ahsan Ali;
Subject: Re: [squid-users] Xeon / P3 / Dual decision

Seriously if you want performance you should be looking
at a dual Athlon MP system. In most benchmarks these
wipe the floor against dual Xeon systems.

Or you could save yourself some $$ and just get a single
Athlon XP 1800+ with 1.5gig DDR ram and then with the
$$ you save you could prolly have a hot backup machine
just using IDE drives.

Linux and Reiser FS would be the OS and filesystem
of choice.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ahsan Ali" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 4:46 PM
Subject: [squid-users] Xeon / P3 / Dual decision

> Hello guys,
> I'm building a Squid proxy to handle approximately 8Mbit/sec of bandwidth.
> I've decided to use the following:
> 3 x 36GB SCSI hard drives
> 1 x 18GB (OS + logging etc - logging only when needed)
> 2 GB RAM [may use 3]
> GBIT Ethernet (may end up using Fast Ethernet only)
> I need to maximize bandwidth on this box without completely sacrificing
> latency. I will not be running any content/url/regex checking for blocking
> sites on this proxy - so I think a dual processor system would be a waste.
> But I have the following choices with respect to the processor(s):
> 1 x P3 - 1.26GHz w/ 256K cache
> 2 x P3 - 1.26GHz w/ 256K cache
> 1 x P3-Xeon-700MHz w/ 2MB cache
> 2 x P3-Xeon-700MHz w/ 2MB cache
> Which one should I go for?
> Also, when its time to upgrade this box, shall I add more ram and disk or
> just add another identical proxy and peer it with this one?
> Thanks in advance!
> -Ahsan Ali
Received on Wed Nov 07 2001 - 13:52:23 MST

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