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Intel I7-930/AMD X6 1090T/XEON W3520: for web&db server, 4 VMs, no games/Video edit

motanu44

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#1
I'm building a new computer, intended mainly for the follwing:
- developing/testing web applications;
- running 3-4 VM simultaneously (VMWare). Each VM with decent ram, Will run at least one browser, or will hold a web or db server.
- oracle server
- tomcat
- ftp server
- eclipse & other developer tools
- other tasks: i want to simulate database/application performance tests
- HD movies, music, etc
- heavy multitasking: all of the above to run simultaneously;
- NOT FOR GAMES
- NOT FOR VIDEO / PHOTO EDITING
- i want a quiet PC case, air cooling, a little overclocking (need stability for database/apps)
- budget: about 1000 EUR / 1500 USD


I want to decide a configuration for all above to run altogether smoothly, instantly, to start as quickly as notepad :)


I want to choose between Intel I7 930, Intel XEON W3520, AMD X6 1090T:
Budget: about 1000 EUR / 1300 USD only for the components below:
I do not want the cheapest, but the best of all three (or any other equivalent configuration). I've considered I7 980X but is out of budget.


Configuration #1:
CPU: Intel Core i7 930 2.80 GHz box
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7
RAM: Corsair 12GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 XMS3 Dominator triple channel kit
GPU: not important; e.g. SAPPHIRE HD5770


Configuration #2:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition 3.20/3.60 GHz skt AM3 box
MOBO: ASRock 890FX Deluxe3
RAM: 8GB : 2 x A-DATA 4GB DDR3 2000MHz CL9 X series v2.0 dual channel kit
GPU: not important;


Configuration #3:
CPU: Intel Xeon W3520
MOBO: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
RAM: 12GB DDR3 1600MHz
GPU: not important;


Which configuration would be more appropriate for the above described purposes ?

Thank you in advance!


P.S. This is what I already have:
- HDDs (2 WD RE3 250 GB, and 1 x WD CaviarBlack 1 TB), suspended with cables
- PSU : Cooler Master RS-850-ESBA 850 WATT
- Case: Aerocool RS9 / CoolerMaster Centurion Black 590 (to be decided, have not bought yet)
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
 

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#2
have you considered dual socket mobos? or will they not fit in your case
 

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#3
My pick goes to the 930 or W3520 (they are quite similar), the extra ram helps.
 

motanu44

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#5
have you considered dual socket mobos? or will they not fit in your case
yes, but they are more expensive. And noisy. I want it cool and silent.


My pick goes to the 930 or W3520 (they are quite similar), the extra ram helps.
I also wanted to choose Intel, but as far as I seen in some benchmarks, six real cores from 1090T sometimes is better than 4 real cores and 4 virtual ones.. especially in multitasking applications, and I wanted to be sure that I choose what's best for my type of work.

Also , if I choose AMD, there is the the possibility future upgrade to K11 octacore (it's a rumour, i dont's know for sure..)

So I cannot give a straight answer is it Intel or AMD...



Do we need Dominator for server PC?
Why not ? I'm not sure if there's any reason not to use dominator in this configuration.
 
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#6
Well I agree, a server build you will be fine with 8-12gb of standard ddr3 1333-1600 no need for the dominator ram as you will see no marked improvement. Tho why are you not looking at ECC ram for a server build?

Also I would go for the amd 1090T as your running vm's they will indeed benefit from the real cores over virtual ones.

No need for a gpu, onboard can take care of that very well, though depends if the board you are getting has onboard of course.

Aside from that looks ok, though I would be worried about it being a db server with those hdd's coonsider a raid setup or an SSD.
 
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#7
Well I agree, a server build you will be fine with 8-12gb of standard ddr3 1333-1600 no need for the dominator ram as you will see no marked improvement. Tho why are you not looking at ECC ram for a server build?

Also I would go for the amd 1090T as your running vm's they will indeed benefit from the real cores over virtual ones.

No need for a gpu, onboard can take care of that very well, though depends if the board you are getting has onboard of course.

Aside from that looks ok, though I would be worried about it being a db server with those hdd's coonsider a raid setup or an SSD.
Yeh id be looking at finding some ECC ram, There would be a less chance of your server randomly bsod'ing because you have ram with ECC, its basically on-board protection and correction if some how a random radiation wave from the sun hit your ram and messed up data by a 1 bit or 2, which could cause a bsod. The ECC finds that error in the page of the ram and corrects it :).

Meaning its good for servers running 5 years + without even being touched.

Depending on the SSD's Id rather go launch myself at getting like 5-10 Hardrives right, 1tb-500gb each and have a raid 10 mirror setup. So that means if a couple of your hard drives fail your server will still be up, and all you would need to do is go buy replacements and the minute you boot up with the new drives, the data will be automatically mirror'ed to the new drives and itll be back to normal with the new drives just taking the place of the failed ones and having the data they used to have.

Really cool stuff :D

Its epic protection
 

motanu44

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#8
You're right about ECC, dominator is more expensive and a 12 GB Kningston HyperX would be better. Besides, the Dominator does not fit well with the cpu cooler ( Noctua NH-D14) because of the ram module is too tall with the radiators.

And about the drives, I would setup some raid array, but at this point I want to decide between the processors: Intel or AMD. I have a pair of WD RE3 250GB and i think i could get another pair, but setting the raid is not that much a problem (at this moment).
 
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#9
For the CPU, I would definately pick one of the Intel ones. I'm not sure what the difference between the two you've chosen is, but it seems like the Xeon is a binned version of the i7 you picked out. Either way, both will do very nicely.

Why not get the 6 core 1090T? Well, it simply isn't as fast as the Core i7. Sure, it has 6 cores, but the extra cores only give the 1090T and advantage when the task is extremely parallel. For example, video encoding. But even then, the advantage isn't huge.

Running VMs isn't very parallel. So the advantage that the 1090T provides isn't really apparent. Sure, in theory, 6 cores are better than 4. But that assumes that the cores are all identical. AMD and Intel have very different architectures, which makes a core count comparison (alliteration!) not very useful.

I think the bottom line is that the 1090T simply isn't as fast as a Core i7 except for a few specialized situations, which you won't be seeing.
 

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#11
I'd take door #3. Using all that VM, I would believe 8 threads would be better than 6 cores and clock for clock the Intel chip is faster.
 
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#12
I have 2 VM servers at home, one prod and one dev. For prod i went with X3 440 to conserve energy and its undervolted. The server is running 4 vms (80W average consumption), domain controller, WHS, 2008 Storage server and another 2003 instance for crap downloads etc. Both servers are running with regular ram and never had a crash. I am using VMWare windows version and for each vm, based on the memory allocated to the vm it needs extra for overhead. Say if the vm is assigned 512MB ram, that vm on the physical host will utilise 768MB ram. So plan accordingly.

I would say if you have 4 slots on the mobo of choice, max out on the ram if you can afford. VMWare needs loads of ram.

And oh if you go with host W2K3 like me then its not a memory hog, if you go with 2K8 then it will eat loads of ram.

Are you going to use ESXi (VSphere)?

And oh more cores merrier. Core speed doesn't matter. Loads of L3 cache matters. My dev box has 8GB ram and running with a Phenom 9550 @2.4 undervolted too and its much faster than my prod box even tho the cores on the prod are running at 3 ghz.

Another important thing is HDD - need faster disks. RAID is absolute must. If you can get a 8X RAID card the vms will be happy.

I have my WHS on a single disk and its still ok.

And oh I am working on a W2K8 R2 Cluster Server with SQL 2008 on it. Once I get it all done, the X3 440 might be replaced with my spare X4 810 and 16GB ram.

my 2 cents.
 

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#13
you could run a dual X6 AMD server for pretty cheap (ebay CPU's) and the noise difference will be minimal if you use he stock coolers they are quite silent
 

motanu44

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#14
I would say if you have 4 slots on the mobo of choice, max out on the ram if you can afford. VMWare needs loads of ram.

And oh if you go with host W2K3 like me then its not a memory hog, if you go with 2K8 then it will eat loads of ram.
If i go with Intel, i have 6 RAM slots, and X58 can use up to 24 GB RAM. Though, would 12 GB be enough for my configuration ?
At the begining I thought that moving from 6 GB RAM to 12 GB RAM would be more than enough, but now I'm starting to think if even more ram would be needed ? I wish 12 GB RAM were enough..



===============
Are you going to use ESXi (VSphere)?
For the begining I won't go with ESXi (i dont even know if I can install it on this configuration). I would try both Windows 7 then win 2k3, I want to see how they are working.



===============
Another important thing is HDD - need faster disks. RAID is absolute must. If you can get a 8X RAID card the vms will be happy.
you mean something like this Areca ARC-1220 8-channel PCI-e 8x RAID card ?
And yet, RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 offered by the GA-X58-U7 would not be enough ?


===============
you could run a dual X6 AMD server for pretty cheap (ebay CPU's) and the noise difference will be minimal if you use he stock coolers they are quite silent
You say, there are motherboards dual cpu for amd x6 ? I don't think so, dual socket for AMD is reserved for Opteron series



===============
I'd take door #3. Using all that VM, I would believe 8 threads would be better than 6 cores and clock for clock the Intel chip is faster.
#3 is xeon W3520... I'll consider this option, i'll carrefully take a look at the motherboard, i'm not sure what (dis)advantages i have (as opposite to Gigabyte X58-UD7).


===============
 
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#15
Istanbul is x6 for opterons
 
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#16
Actually you can get a 8x and 12x core AMD chip if you get an actual server board.

I can't say much as I have not built a server or worked with VMware enough to know if more cores or more threads help. If clock speed is not the most important thing, you may want to get an actual server mobo and get say this instead:

AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 C...

It is about the same price as the 6x core Phenom, but it is 8 cores at 2.0 Ghz each with 12MB L3 cache and Quad channel support built to do exactly what you are trying to do. Hell a nice cooler maybe able to get it up to 2.5 Ghz or better.

Like I said, I am not the one to be giving advise on this subject but 8 real cores with 8 threads for a server has to be better than less cores or virtual cores, right?

The reason most people recommend the RAID cards instead of the built-in RAID features on standard boards is because they are run with multiple controls which drastically increases parallel access. Most Server boards have 2 to 6 of these controllers build-in like the RAID cards so you would not need to worry about that piece.
 
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#17
If i go with Intel, i have 6 RAM slots, and X58 can use up to 24 GB RAM. Though, would 12 GB be enough for my configuration ?
At the begining I thought that moving from 6 GB RAM to 12 GB RAM would be more than enough, but now I'm starting to think if even more ram would be needed ? I wish 12 GB RAM were enough..

--12GB ram is more than enough, but I don't know what kind of load your VMs will be under. So if you have an estimate post it here, that will give us an idea.

===============

For the begining I won't go with ESXi (i dont even know if I can install it on this configuration). I would try both Windows 7 then win 2k3, I want to see how they are working.

--I vote w2k3 64bit Enterprise or standard for Host OS, don't go with W7. Actually W2K8 R2 is not bad either if you know to tweak it well. Actually 2K8 will give more thru put on Disks and network than 2K3. See if you can get the SBS version.

ESXi needs Intel based network cards and few marvel chipset based. So if you are thinking of going ESXi go with intel or AMD server board with onboard intel NIC (Asus and Tyan makes like that).


===============

you mean something like this Areca ARC-1220 8-channel PCI-e 8x RAID card ?
And yet, RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 offered by the GA-X58-U7 would not be enough ?

--Usually if its used for real production purposes a standalone card is better since it has built in parity calculation processor and is dedicated to the card as against the CPU doing the work for mobo raid. Once again you don't need to spend $400 on a card, there are few people who sell similar cards for damn cheap price. Another reason is portability, you are not stuck to a mobo.

===============

You say, there are motherboards dual cpu for amd x6 ? I don't think so, dual socket for AMD is reserved for Opteron series



===============

#3 is xeon W3520... I'll consider this option, i'll carrefully take a look at the motherboard, i'm not sure what (dis)advantages i have (as opposite to Gigabyte X58-UD7).

--Xeons are built for server purposes and are designed to with stand high heat, load and keep on working (not to say the regular versions will not work).

===============
Once again it all comes to Cost to performance and affordability.

On my newegg wishlist I have configured 12 core server with 32GB ram and 24TB of space for $7000. Can I afford - NO. Can I atleast wish or dream of it - BIG YES:D.
 

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#18
Actually you can get a 8x and 12x core AMD chip if you get an actual server board.

I can't say much as I have not built a server or worked with VMware enough to know if more cores or more threads help. If clock speed is not the most important thing, you may want to get an actual server mobo and get say this instead:

AMD Opteron 6128 Magny-Cours 2.0GHz 8 x 512KB L2 C...

It is about the same price as the 6x core Phenom, but it is 8 cores at 2.0 Ghz each with 12MB L3 cache and Quad channel support built to do exactly what you are trying to do. Hell a nice cooler maybe able to get it up to 2.5 Ghz or better.

Like I said, I am not the one to be giving advise on this subject but 8 real cores with 8 threads for a server has to be better than less cores or virtual cores, right?

The reason most people recommend the RAID cards instead of the built-in RAID features on standard boards is because they are run with multiple controls which drastically increases parallel access. Most Server boards have 2 to 6 of these controllers build-in like the RAID cards so you would not need to worry about that piece.

You are killing me... actually, i'm gonna kill me .. :D i've seen some monsters here:

TYAN S8812 - mobo for 48 REAL Cores system

http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?high=&m=270365&mpage=1


and a review: AMD Opteron 6174 vs Intel Xeon X5650 Review

I've never considered AMD OPTERON. Do you know some configuration that wouldn't be too expensive ?
 

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#19
Another question: what is it about the batch number ? How can I know that I choose the processor from a good batch ?
 
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#20
Another question: what is it about the batch number ? How can I know that I choose the processor from a good batch ?
it shouldn't matter unless your doing hardcore overclocking
 

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#21
it shouldn't matter unless your doing hardcore overclocking
For your needs a 920/930/Xeon would be more than enough, and would all overclock slightly. IMO those motherboards are even a little too robust for your application. I know you want quality, but all x58 motherboards from Gigabyte have the exact same CPU clocking ability. There are a number of lower end x58 boards that will do what you need. The only thing you should be looking for out of x58 motherboards is features for raid, SAS, USB & SATA 3, and the correct number of ports/jacks for all of your peripherals.
 
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#22
I've never considered AMD OPTERON. Do you know some configuration that wouldn't be too expensive ?
Newegg has very few boards for the G34 socket. This one is only $250 with single socket and works with ECC/none-ECC, Registered and unregistered RAM. So you can still use standard DDR3 RAM (Up to 32 GB standard DDR3) for it.

SUPERMICRO MBD-H8SGL-F-O Socket G34 AMD SR5650 ATX...

Tyan and Supermicro are the only brands I personally have every known for Servers, so I don't know what is out there and what is available right now as these are fairly new CPU's.

But that board, the 8-core Opteron, and like 16GB of DDR3 is only about $1000 US. You can spend the last $500 building your array, wireless adapter for it, the case, etc. I think that would be totally doable in your budget, just my two cents.
 
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Audio Device(s) Fischer HA-02->Fischer FA-002W High edition/FA-003/Jubilate/FA-011 depending on my mood
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#24

motanu44

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#25
Which is the (approximative) maximum amount of UN-registered RAM that is safe to work with ?

I mean, initially I thought about 12 GB UDIMM, but would I reduce any risk of system crash if I choose RDIMM ? Sometimes I will leave the system running for several days with 2 VMs running, app server and db server..