View Full Version : ? about Xeon core type and compatability

10 October 2004, 09:03 AM
I'm about to get me a dual xeon workstation from dell, because they've done right by me so far and have the lowest prices i've found overall, but they still overcharge for extras. New egg has a 3.2 (i think) xeon for 475 where dell charges 6 or 700 for the second processor.
I noticed on new egg the product descriptions have "core type" prestonia or nocona.
A) what does this mean?
B) can i just plug in a second processor aftermarket or do i have to worry about the core types and socket types of the processors for them to work together? All the Newegg xeons are socket 604, but are there other types as well? Dell doesn't have any of this info available on their site.

anyone know any of this stuff?

10 October 2004, 09:51 AM
The socket type is VERY important, a cpu with socket XXX needs a motherboard designed for that socket.

You should be able to look up the processor you were going to get, and see what socket it is, then you just have to get another cpu of the same socket. However, don't assume that the proceesor just above the Dell one will be the same socket. Look at the Athlon64's, the 3400 is socket 754, the 3500 939, the 3600 just watch that, no good buying a processor you can't use, unless you plan to ship it to me of course :)

- Colin Lynch

10 October 2004, 02:26 PM
You also need to really make sure that the second cpu is the same stepping number which means basicly that it is the same revision, if you stick two cpus in a dual that are identical model wise but are a different steppings from each other they dont always get along together and can cause an unstable system. The problem is you cant make sure what the stepping is until you get the cpu as most online suppliers will not bother to check that info for you. To find out the stepping of the cpu that you have now you need to run cpuz.exe and it will tell you the revision and stepping info etc.
Then you can go to intels site and look up the part numbers for the different steppings, with that info you can go to different stores and check out there stock until you find one with the same revision. Its not that hard unless a supplier has old stock, but it something to consider its usually best to buy both cpus at the same time as it will make your life a lot easier.

10 October 2004, 07:10 PM
thanks for the info folks.. I'm guessing i dont want to hassle too much and i want to be sure everything is compatible. I'm willing to do the research to get the best deal, but as you said, most of the time vendors don't provide information down to the small but very important details that will help me make a really educated decision. I've spent about 2 months researching and when I average out all of the opinions and "facts" i've read I get what amounts to no information. all the yes's and no's balance out to a big ol maybe, which does me little good. One thing I'd like to ask anyone out there... is the performance jump from say 2.8 to 3 Ghz or 3 to 3.2 really noticeable? It's 400 extra megahertz in a dual processor system for 4 or 500 bucks extra. that's steep. And about the cores? Is that just the manufacturer of the processor? prescott, nocona.. what have you?

10 October 2004, 07:54 PM
Just to clearify things..

CPU Core: The CPU core, can be thought of as a specific version of a CPU series (the Pentium 4 for example, or the Athlon 64). For example, there are a few versions of the Athlon 64. The first core (ClawHammer), was the introduction of the Athlon64 series. The core that followed (NewCastle) had a reduced L2 cache and improved logic, which debuted on the Socket 939 platform. In the coming months AMD will release the Winchester core, which is merely a die shrink to 90nm (down from 130nm). So a CPU core can be thought of as a specific version of whichever CPU you are referring to.

CPU Stepping: This is how a CPU manufacturer will differentiate between different refinements in the manufacturing process for specific Cores. Generally, the more recent the stepping, the better the process of creating the CPU was, and, hopefully, the more stable and refined the chip is. This doesnt equal faster. It just means the company was able to make the chip more stable, or maybe improve the manufacturing process to make more chips per waffer without reducing the size of the chip. Note: this is just GENERALLY what should happen, doesnt happen all the time ;) (NOTE: Waffers are pretty much the materials on which modern CPUs are "printed" on. They are disks of about 200mm to 300mm in size. Obviously you can only make a certain ammount of CPU cores per waffer, and some of the waffer goes to waste. So revised steppings also try and use up as much waffer as possible.)

The CPU Socket: This is where the CPU will plug into the motherboard. Different CPUs will plug into different sockets. Ocasionally the same core of the CPU will also plug into different sockets (In the case of the Athlon64 for socket 754 and Socket 939). The socket number indicates the number of pins the socket can take. In the case of Socket 940 (the socket for the Opteron), there are 940 holes in the socket for the 940 pins on the Opteron. The same can be said for Socket 939, 754, etc.

So when you build a dual CPU system, its best to make sure you have two nearly identical chips. Obviously you will need the 2 CPUs to be of the same generation and series, so they fit in the same socket. Next you will also want them to be of the same core. Different cores do things slightly differently from other cores. Then, not as important as the others, it is also good to have the same stepping. This can affect stability, so if they are the same exact stepping your chances of having a pretty stable system should be improved.

EDIT: I've said alot about different AMD cores and such, but to clearify, this applies to Pentium4s and Xeons as well. Different P4 Cores: Willamette, Northwood, Prescott. Some different Xeon cores are: Foster, Prestonia, Nocona.

10 October 2004, 08:42 PM
ONce again, thanks. All that info, and you never once hassled me to buy anthing. That's more than i can say for any website i've been on ever. So is there a way to garner the stepping information out of a cpu vendor? Would they pay attention to a detail like that? I for one have never been able to get anywhere in intel's website. today was a landmark in that the front page managed to load entirely. beyond that, I've never seen what's going on in there.

10 October 2004, 08:55 PM
In my experience, the places like Dell dont like to give out that kind of information, and what not. Don't really know why.. but whatever *shrug*

However once you have the actual system, you can do what was suggested by lightman, and install CPUZ or something similar, which will read the ID information off of the cpu and display all that info on the screen. This will have stepping info and core. Once you've got that kind of info its pretty easy to figure out the socket (google) At which point you can go to place like newegg and see if they have the specific chip listed on their parts list. The problem here is generally speaking, vendors dont give out the stepping information (they do give out core and socket info though). But, you can check the stepping when the chip arrives at your door. Thats actually printed directly on the chip. There are a few sites around the web that deal with dissecting the random letters and numbers on the chip to get out core stepping and when and where it was made. Google is your friend :)

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