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PowerEdge 4600 Server: Performance Report

By Ramesh Radhakrishnan, Ph.D.


This article takes a comprehensive look at the performance of the DellTM PowerEdgeTM 4600 server on different benchmarks. The results of the benchmark tests demonstrate the performance capabilities of the server's unique features, which include dual Intel® XeonTM processors, PC1600 double data rate (DDR) memory, and a ServerWorksTM Grand ChampionTM High-End (GC-HE) chipset.

he DellTM PowerEdgeTM 4600 server replaces the Dell PowerEdge 4400 as the dual-processor departmental server. It provides enterprise-class performance for server applications and introduces major technological transitions for the departmental server platform.


five-bus-segment architecture. It is also the industry's first platform to provide host PCI-X support. Processor The Intel Xeon processors and the technology they support are integral to the PowerEdge 4600 server's performance. Dual Intel Xeon processors. Based on the NetBurst microarchitecture, these processors offer speeds starting at 1.8 GHz with 512 KB full-speed level 2 (L2) integrated cache and 400 MHz FSB. Hyper-Threading functionality. This technology can improve performance of multithreaded code and multitasking operations through better use of processor execution resources. Rapid Execution Engine. This feature allows execution of certain instructions at twice the processor's core frequency. Memory The PowerEdge 4600 server includes powerful memory capabilities for higher performance. DDR SDRAM. DDR SDRAM doubles the data transfer rate to 1.6 GB/sec by transferring data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock.

Examining the features of the PowerEdge 4600

In a compact 6U chassis, the PowerEdge 4600 has dual Intel® XeonTM processors based on the Intel NetBurstTM architecture, a 400 MHz frontside bus (FSB), a ServerWorksTM Grand ChampionTM High-End (GC-HE) chipset, hot-plug PCI-X (Peripheral Component Interconnect Extended) slots, and 200 MHz double data rate memory (DDR200 or PC1600). Figure 1 compares the server's features with that of the PowerEdge 4400 server. Chipset The chipset used in the PowerEdge 4600 server helps to enable the server's high performance. ServerWorks GC-HE architecture for Intel-based multiprocessor platforms. The GC-HE chipset delivers 3.2 GB/sec of memory bandwidth and up to 3.4 GB/sec of I/O throughput on a



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DIMMs. Two memory cards offer combined support of up to 12 GB, four-way interleaved memory (dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) installed in sets of four), which provides a theoretical peak memory bandwidth of 3.2 GB/sec.

The PowerEdge 4600 server introduces major technological

Storage transitions for Support for RAID and high-bandwidth data transthe departmental fers enhance PowerEdge 4600 server performance. RAID controllers. A PowerEdge Expandable server platform. RAID Controller 3, Dual Channel Integrated The SPECweb99 benchmark (PERC 3/Di), supports an end-to-end Ultra3/LVD SPECweb99 is a software benchmark developed (low-voltage differential) RAID solution. by the Standard Performance Evaluation CorporaDrive controllers. An integrated dual-channel Adaptec® tion (SPEC), a nonprofit group of vendors, systems integrators, universities, research organizations, publishers, and consultants. AICTM-7899 Ultra3/LVD SCSI controller provides up to 160 MB/sec SPECweb99 is designed to gauge a system's ability to act as a Web bandwidth and can be used with the PERC 3/Di for a RAID-onserver for static and dynamic pages. The benchmark measures Motherboard (ROMB) implementation. the maximum number of simultaneous connections that a Web server can sustain while still meeting specific throughput and error Testing the PowerEdge 4600 performance rate requirements. To discover the performance capabilities of the PowerEdge 4600 ®99, Microsoft® Exchange 2000 In the SPECweb99 test, the PowerEdge 4600 outperformed all server, Dell tested it using SPECweb other two-way servers1 by sustaining 4460 connections running the MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface) Messaging Benchmark 2 (MMB2), SPEC® CPU2000, and Ziff DavisTM Red Hat® Content Accelerator application and by sustaining 4320 ® 7.0.2. The SPECweb99 benchmark measures Web NetBench

Company/system Dell PowerEdge 4600 Features Processors PowerEdge 4400 Dual Intel Pentium III Xeon processors (up to 1 GHz at 133 MHz FSB) 256 KB L2 (full-speed) ServerWorks ServerSet III LE 3.0 128 MB/4 GB PC133 SDRAM Eight: DIMMs inserted in pairs, two-way interleaved memory 7200 rpm and 10,000 rpm, hot swap, Ultra160 1" and 1.6" drives Dual channel Ultra3 SCSI, one Ultra/Narrow SCSI Seven PCI slots: Two hot-pluggable (HP) 64-bit/ 66 MHz, two HP 64-bit/33 MHz, two non-HP 64-bit/33 MHz, one non-HP 32-bit/33 MHz PERC 3/Di Intel PRO/100 PowerEdge 4600 Dual Intel Xeon processors (1.8 GHz to 2.2 GHz at 400 MHz FSB) 512 KB L2 (on-die) ServerWorks GC-HE 512 MB/12 GB PC1600 DDR Twelve: DIMMs inserted in sets of four, four-way interleaved memory 10,000 rpm and 15,000 rpm, hot swap, Ultra160 1" drives Dual channel Ultra3 SCSI, one single-channel Ultra2 SCSI for internal tape Seven PCI slots: Six HP PCI-X, one non-HP 32-bit/33 MHz Dell PowerEdge 2500 IBM eServer xSeries 343 Compaq® ProLiant ML370 G2 IBM eServer xSeries 232 IBM eServer xSeries 342 Dell PowerEdge 2500 Compaq ProLiant DL380 G2 HPTM Netserver LT 6000r Dell PowerEdge 1500/1000 Dell PowerEdge 4600 IBM® eServerTM xSeriesTM 370 Dell PowerEdge 1650 HTTP version Processor L2 cache Result 4460 4320 3999 Red Hat Content Intel Xeon at 2.2 GHz 512 KB Accelerator 2 IIS 5.0 and SWC 3.0 Intel Xeon at 2.2 GHz 512 KB 2 MB 512 KB 512 KB 512 KB

server performance with demands on memory, network, and processor subsystems. Microsoft Exchange 2000 MMB2 simulates a messaging environment with demands on processor and I/O resources. SPEC CPU2000 is a compute-intensive benchmark that measures the processor, memory, and compiler performance of a computer system. NetBench 7.0.2 measures the performance of application servers in a client-server environment.

Cache Chipset RAM (min/max) DIMM sockets

Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 Xeon at 900 MHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.4 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.13 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.26 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.13 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.13 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.13 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1 GHz Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1.13 GHz Chromium X15 Intel Pentium III Xeon at 900 MHz





512 KB


Integrated storage controller I/O

512 KB


512 KB 256 KB 512 KB




RAID Embedded network interface card

PERC 3/Di Intel PRO/100 and Broadcom® Gigabit

2 MB 256 KB


Red Hat Content Intel Pentium III Accelerator 2 at 1 GHz


Figure 1. Comparing the features of the PowerEdge 4400 and the PowerEdge 4600 servers

1 For

Figure 2. Top two-way servers in SPECweb99 benchmark, as of May 10, 2002

the latest results, visit







connections running Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0 and the Scalable Web Cache (SWC) 3.0 application (see Figure 2). These results represent a significant performance improvement over the PowerEdge 4400 server with dual Intel Pentium® III Xeon processors at 800 MHz: 102.7 percent improvement running the Red Hat Content Accelerator under the Linux® operating system, and 307.5 percent improvement running IIS 5.0 and SWC 3.0 under the Microsoft Windows® 2000 operating system. The results of this benchmark test also illustrate the performance and scalability of the PowerEdge 4600 server--it can deliver

high levels of performance for memory-intensive, high-bandwidth applications. It is also the first Dell platform to use the ServerWorks GC-HE chipset, which provides high memory bandwidth and I/O throughput. Microsoft Exchange 2000 MMB2 MMB2 is a benchmark from Microsoft that uses the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server application to test mail server performance. The Microsoft LoadSim tool simulates user workloads on the system being tested, which runs the Exchange Server software. The MMB2 workload employs greater message sizes and more diverse actions than that of its predecessor, MMB (Medium Messaging Benchmark), which was used with versions of Exchange prior to Exchange 2000. MMB2 more accurately reflects the increased workload of messaging services deployed in today's demanding corporate e-mail environments. Configured with dual Intel Xeon processors at 2.0 GHz, 4 GB of DDR memory, and two-way direct-attached SCSI storage, the PowerEdge 4600 server ran the Exchange 2000 Server Enterprise Edition application under the Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system. The MMB2 test was performed using the LoadSim tool and the canonical MMB2 profile that represents a typical corporate e-mail user. The results of the test showed that the PowerEdge 4600 server supported a benchmark load of 7,000 MMB2s (Figure 3). During four hours of steady test running, the server provided a weighted 95th percentile response time of 159 milliseconds (ms) for 7,000 Exchange (MAPI) users, with an overall processor utilization of 74 percent. In the Exchange Server MMB2 environment, the PowerEdge 4600 showed a 37.3 percent improvement over the PowerEdge 4400. The dramatic change in Exchange-related performance results from the high memory and I/O bandwidth provided by the ServerWorks GC-HE chipset and the processing power provided by the NetBurst microarchitecture of the Intel Xeon processors. The SPEC CPU2000 benchmark SPEC CPU2000 is a collection of industry-standard, CPU-intensive benchmarks developed by SPEC. The CPU2000 benchmarks are designed to compare compute-intensive performance across different hardware platforms. The benchmarks were developed from real user applications and measure performance of the processor, memory, and compiler on the tested system. Figures 4 and 5 show how the SPEC CPU2000 benchmark performance of the PowerEdge 4600 server compares to the performance of other PowerEdge servers. In these tests, the PowerEdge 4600 server was configured with one Intel Xeon processor at 2.0 GHz and 4 GB of DDR memory.

PowerEdge 4400 Summary of test parameters Supported benchmark load Benchmark profile Protocol Length of steady state Length of test Transaction load (hourly) Messages submitted Message recipients delivered Messages sent Transaction load Message opens/second Folder opens/second Remote Procedure Call (RPC) read bytes/second RPC write bytes/second Transaction queues IS send queue: Average length Processor utilization System processor utilization System processor queue length System context switches/second Process CPU time--Store Process CPU time--Inetinfo Process CPU time--LSASS Memory utilization Available bytes Pages/second Process working set bytes--Store Process virtual bytes--Store Logical drive utilization IS database: Disk reads/second IS database: Disk writes/second IS database: Average disk queue length IS log: Disk reads/second IS log: Disk writes/second IS log: Average disk queue length 667.0 471.0 2.96 0 495.00 0.110 2.03 GB 1.404 1.13 GB 2.03 GB 90.3% 10.580 4,897 147.7% 7.05% 11.02% 84 47 24 113,864 813,905 19,448 75,063 19,427 5100 MMB2s MMB2 Exchange MAPI 4 hours 8 hours

PowerEdge 4600

7000 MMB2s MMB2 Exchange MAPI 4 hours 8 hours

24,895 94,029 24,888

64 32 158,348 119,916


74.0% 6.255 6,768 239.9% 13.3% 19.4%

1.88 GB 1.555 1.29 GB 2.02 GB

1067.7 618.3 2.41 0 458.08 0.121

Figure 3. Exchange 2000 MMB2 results



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and up to 119 percent improvement in the The SPEC CPU2000 benchmarks can be floating-point suite, as shown in Figure 6. divided into two suites: CINT2000 for measuring The PowerEdge 4600 compute-intensive integer performance and The NetBench 7.0.2 benchmark CFP2000 for measuring compute-intensive server performed 25 to To test file-serving capabilities, the Ziff Davis floating-point performance. The CINT2000 suite 300 percent better than NetBench 7.0.2 benchmark stresses and comprises 12 application-based benchmarks measures a server's throughput in megabits written in the C and C++ languages; the CFP2000 its predecessor, the per second (Mbps). Eighteen different I/O suite comprises 14 CPU-intensive benchmarks PowerEdge 4400 server, requests represent the file-serving workload. written in Fortran (77 and 90) and C. when tested by NetBench uses a standard test suite to define the The speed metrics, SPECint®2000 and think times, ramp times, and number of clients SPECfp®2000, measure the ability of a computer Web-server, mail-server, and engines for each run. Clients represent to complete single tasks. The rate metrics, compute-intensive, and physical machines; engines represent processes SPECint_rate2000 and SPECfp_rate2000, measure that execute multiple, simultaneous instances of the throughput, or rate, of a machine carrying out file-server benchmarks. the test suite on a physical client. The disk and a number of similar tasks. The rate metrics have network I/O subsystems are critical for obtaintraditionally been used to demonstrate the perforing optimum NetBench scores. mance of multiprocessor systems. For the enterprise-level test suite of NetBench 7.0.2, a When compared with the performance of the PowerEdge 4400 PowerEdge 4600 server with dual Intel Xeon processors at 2.2 GHz server, the PowerEdge 4600 server shows an impressive 55 percent improvement in the integer suite of the CPU2000 benchmark suite

Performance improvement (percent)

140 120 119% 100 80 60 55% 40 20 0 SPECint2000 0 SPECint_rate2000 SPECfp2000 SPECfp_rate2000 57% 114%


SPEC CPU2000 speed results

700 600 500 400 300 200 100

PowerEdge 4600 PowerEdge 1500SC PowerEdge 4400

Integer performance SPECint2000

Floating-point performance SPECfp2000

Figure 4. SPEC CPU2000 benchmark: Speed results

Figure 6. Performance improvement of the PowerEdge 4600 over the PowerEdge 4400 on the CPU2000 benchmark

9.0 8.5 8.0 7.5 7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0

Performance improvement (percent)


2.2 GHz/3 GB 2.0 GHz/3 GB 1.8 GHz/3 GB 1.8 GHz/2 GB 2.2 GHz/1 GB 2.0 GHz/1 GB 33.9% 33.5% 33.8% 1.8 GHz/1 GB 33.1% 33.4% 33.0% 33.3% 32.9% 38.5%

38 36 34

SPEC CPU2000 rate results

PowerEdge 4600 PowerEdge 1500SC PowerEdge 4400

2.2 GHz/2 GB

32 30


2.0 GHz/2 GB

28 26 24 22 20







Average Integer performance SPECint_rate2000 Floating-point performance SPECfp_rate2000




Figure 5. SPEC CPU2000 benchmark: Rate results

Figure 7. NetBench 7.0.2 performance improvement achieved by various configurations of the PowerEdge 4600 over the PowerEdge 4400



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Benchmark SPECweb99

Operating system Windows 2000 Advanced Server Linux

Application IIS 5.0 and SWC 3.0 Red Hat Content Accelerator 2 Exchange 2000 Intel C++ Compiler 5.01 and Fortran Compiler 5.0.1

CPUs 2 2 2 1

Results 4,320 connections 4,460 connections 7,000 users SPECint2000 SPECint_rate2000 SPECfp2000 SPECfp_rate2000 : 701 : 8.19 : 693 : 8.17

Microsoft Exchange 2000 MMB2 SPEC CPU2000

Windows 2000 Advanced Server Windows 2000 Advanced Server

NetBench 7.0.2

Windows 2000 Server

Not applicable


533.47 MB/sec (peak)

Figure 8. PowerEdge 4600 performance summary

and 3 GB of RAM performed 28.4 percent faster than a PowerEdge 4400 server with dual Intel Pentium III Xeon processors at 1.0 GHz. Likewise, the peak throughput of the PowerEdge 4600 server was 38.5 percent higher than that of the PowerEdge 4400 server. Figure 7 shows the performance improvement that various configurations of the PowerEdge 4600 server achieved over the PowerEdge 4400 server. These configurations include three processor frequencies--1.8, 2.0, and 2.2 GHz--and three memory configurations--1, 2, and 3 GB. Performance improvements over the PowerEdge 4400 server occurred for all configurations of the PowerEdge 4600 server, illustrating the superior performance capability of its chipset, processor frequency, and memory. Improvements in average performance ranged from 24.7 to 28.4 percent and improvements in peak performance ranged from 32.9 to 38.5 percent.


Dell PowerEdge 4600 benchmark studies SPECweb99: pedge/pwrnote_4600_specweb.doc MMB2: pwrnote_4600_mmb2.doc SPEC CPU2000: pedge/pwrnote_4600_cpu2000.doc NetBench: pwrnote_4600_netbench.doc Benchmark Web sites Microsoft Exchange 2000 MMB2: planning/2000/PerfScal.asp Microsoft LoadSim: exchange/downloads/2000/LoadSim.asp Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC): SPEC CPU2000: SPECweb99: NetBench: netbench/netbench.asp

Upgrading to a more powerful departmental server

The PowerEdge 4600 server performed 25 to 300 percent better than its predecessor, the PowerEdge 4400 server, when tested by Webserver, mail-server, compute-intensive, and file-server benchmarks. Figure 8 summarizes the results of these benchmark tests. The powerful NetBurst-based Intel Xeon processors, faster FSB (400 MHz), DDR memory technology, and ServerWorks GC-HE chipset enable the Dell PowerEdge 4600 server to provide the compute horsepower required by server applications. Ramesh Radhakrishnan, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a design engineer consultant with the Dell System Performance and Analysis Lab. His responsibilities include performance analysis of Dell servers and characterization of enterprise-level benchmarks. Ramesh received a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.




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