May 28, 2007

There Are Four Cores

At least, that is what Captain Picard might say about my new computer.

My new computer was built by CyberPower, Inc. and consists of:
Intel Quad Core Q6600 - 2.4 GHz
2 250 GB SATA II 7200 RPM w/ 8 MB cache hard drives
2 GB DDR PC6400 RAM
Intel DP965LT LGA775 motherboard
EVGA Geforce 8500 GT w/ 256 MB RAM (PCI Express)

Along with the case, keyboard, mouse, DVD drive and DVD burner, and other components.

I'm running Gentoo Linux 2007.0 with this, but it was not an easy install - the install CD had a version of the kernel that was one minor version away from recognizing the motherboard. I was surprised with this considering how long the motherboard has been out. I was able to get around this thanks to Small Gentoo that contained a newer kernel that detected the motherboard just fine.

Still, that wasn't the end of the problems. Gentoo has not gone stable yet with a version of Nvidia's drivers that supports the 8500 GT. It's not even available yet through Gentoo. I had to go with an unstable version of the open source Nvidia drivers (which don't provide 3d acceleration) to get X to work. I will eventually go to the closed source Nvidia drivers when it becomes available, as I want the 3d acceleration for games and to take advantage of TwinView so I can have dual monitor support for my Samsung 740 BX and NEC AccuSync LCD 72V.

As a simplistic way of looking at benchmarks for this system compared to my old system (a P4 2.4 GHz 533 MHz bus w/ 1 GB PC333 RAM) and my Mac Powerbook (1.67 GHz PowerPC G4 w/ 1 GB SDRAM), I've used distributed.net's OGR25 contest to see what kind of speed I was getting.

Old system: Approx. 9,000,000 nodes/sec.
Powerbook: Approx. 20,000,000 nodes/sec.
Quad core system: Approx. 35-39,000,000 nodes/sec. - and that is just per core - it works on 4 packets at once.
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