> Does anyone have any good/bad experiences/recommendations for a 4-way
> Opteron from Sun (v40z, 6 internal drives) or HP (DL585 5 internal
> drives) models?

Last I checked, the v40z only takes 5 drives, unless you yank the cd-rom and 
get an extra disk tray.   That's the main defect of the model, the second 
being its truly phenominal noise level.   Other than that (and price) and 
excellent Opteron machine.

The HPs are at root pretty good machines -- and take 6 drives, so I expect 
you're mixed up there.  However, they use HP's proprietary RAID controller 
which is seriously defective.   So you need to factor replacing the RAID 
controller into the cost.

> This is in comparison with the new Dell 6850 (it has PCIexpress, faster
> FSB 667MHz, which doesn't match up with AMD's total IO bandwidth, but
> much better than previous 6650s).

Yes, but you can still expect the 6650 to have 1/2 the performance ... or 
less ... of the above-name models.   It:
1) is Xeon 32-bit
2) uses a cheap northbridge which makes the Xeon's cache contention even worse
3) depending on the model and options, may ship with a cheap Adaptec raid card 
instead of an LSI or other good card

If all you *need* is 1/2 the performance of an Opteron box, and you can get a 
good deal, then go for it.  But don't be under the illusion that Dell is 
competitive with Sun, IBM, HP, Penguin or Microway on servers.


Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

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