Re: Nehalem

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I don't think you will have the problem with one socket. The problem I am seeing deals with two sockets where balancing the process load across both sockets (for cache usage) and across the physical cores is a bit more than the current scheduler can deal with. I run hyper-threading on a dual PIV and the thing does great, making sure that each physical processor gets a load comparable to the other one.

Nehalem looks pretty good, and with hyper-threading turned off all looks good. Whether hyper-threading will be of any benefit or not is unknown. We are going to buy another cluster from dell with this dual-socket i7 type of node so we can probably do just fine with hyperthreading off...

Robert M. Hyatt, Ph.D.          Computer and Information Sciences
hyatt@xxxxxxx                   University of Alabama at Birmingham
(205) 934-2213                  136A Campbell Hall
(205) 934-5473 FAX              Birmingham, AL 35294-1170

On Wed, 25 Mar 2009, Bill Davidsen wrote:

Robert Hyatt wrote:

I ran into an issue that may or may not be on the radar.  Here goes:

1. The old hyperthreading fix works well for an old PIV with hyperthreading, so that with two sockets, and 4 logical processors, the compute-bound processes get balanced across the sockets, which fixed the original hyper-threading bug everyone talked about.

2. I now have a dual-socket Nehalem box, 4 cores per socket. Someone wanted to test hyper-threading, which I had disabled, and I found an issue.

It appears that the current process scheduling works fine for balancing compute-bound processes across the two sockets to optimize cache usage. But with hyper-threading, things go wrong. If I run 4 compute-bound processes on this box, they will run two per socket just fine. But on any one chip, it is probable that the two processes will land on the same core, which is not good.

My first thought was this needs a hiararchical approach. one big run queue per socket, then N run queues per socket, one per physical core.

Now the load can be balanced across the two sockets / chips using the "high-level" pair of queues, and then balanced across the physical cores on each socket using the low-level queues, to avoid running two processes on one physical core, and none on another.

Is a fix already in the works for this, or is this a new issue? I am running on this box. I am also not so happy with turbo-boost either as it is giving some erratic timing data which I don't like for my benchmark and tweak software development. But that's another issue. not kernel-related.

This might be an issue for me as well, I've just ordered parts to build several servers based on the i7 architecture, so I will have four cores + HT although they will all be in a single socket. I don't have any idea how well this will work, I suppose the HT can be turned off if needed, and it will run as well as the Q6600 system these will replace.

bill davidsen <davidsen@xxxxxxx>
CTO TMR Associates, Inc

"You are disgraced professional losers. And by the way, give us our money back."
  - Representative Earl Pomeroy,  Democrat of North Dakota
on the A.I.G. executives who were paid bonuses  after a federal bailout.

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