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- QUAD Core or Dual Core for Servers?
December 6, 2006, 4:50 pm
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I need a bit of advice. I am looking into replacing the current server
that I am using. I think I am going to purchase the HP ML350 series
However, when it comes to the processor to get I don't know which would
be better. A fast Dual Core Xeon 5160 (3.00GHz, 1333FSB), or a lower
clock speed Quad-Core Xeon E5320 (1.86Ghz, 1066FSB)? Also, think I
would be better off with two processors?
The server I am replacing is kindof an everything server. Instead of
having two DC's, and a File and Print server and an application server,
we are just using one server to do everything. On that server there
would be about 20 concurrent connections at the most. It also runs
Terminal Services. All the data is stored in it and shared through a
domain name. People also get data from it from programs like quickbooks
and office management software. They also run Office through remote
I need it to access data very fast. I think RAID 5, which we currently
are using would be best. No?
Would it be better with the information I provided to have faster clock
speed, or more cores? I don't know if the programs that we would use
you benefit from Quad-Core, but maybe I am wrong.
Let me know if you need any more info.
Re: QUAD Core or Dual Core for Servers?
These are the quads for that socket. There are slightly faster ones.
(processorfinder.intel.com in the Xeon section).
sSpec# Core Part# PCG Bus Speed Tech Stepping Cache Pkg
SL9YM 2.66 GHz X5355 N/A 1333 MHz 65 nm B3 8 MB 771 pin
SL9YL 2.33 GHz E5345 N/A 1333 MHz 65 nm B3 8 MB 771 pin
SL9MV 1.86 GHz E5320 N/A 1066 MHz 65 nm B3 8 MB 771 pin
SL9XR 1.60 GHz E5310 N/A 1066 MHz 65 nm B3 8 MB 771 pin
As a non-IT guy, I'd say the decision might hinge on how annoyed your
Terminal Services users are now. Performance during the busy times
can make the person buying the server, a "hero" or a "zero". If you have
a lot of users, I would think the total power of the quad would exceed
that offered by the dual, and would make more sense.
If only one user was using Terminal Services, on a lightly loaded dual core
server, he would have one core all to himself. If three users hopped
on the server, two users would be sharing one core. Each "gets 1.5GHz"
of that dual core.
With the quad, a single user gets to see only 1.86GHz when by himself.
If three users hop on the server, they each get a core to themselves.
All three users are pretty happy. (We're pretending here, that the
rest of the server tasks are magically segregated to one core.)
So, if the degree of multitasking is great enough, simply multiplying
the number of cores by the clock speed, for a given IPC technology
(and the tech is all Core2 type), predicts how useful the processor
will be. If the server is not really that heavily used, then the dual
would offer one Terminal Services user, better performance. But that
defeats the whole purpose of using Terminal Services.
So I'd be buying the quad.
The other thing you'd want to analyse, is the memory technology used.
For FBDIMMs, the writing may be on the wall. I don't know how much
longer FBDIMM technology will last at Intel. As I understand it,
FBDIMM production currently is subsidized by Intel. The end user is
not seeing the true cost. If I was buying a server today, I'd try to
put the "final memory config" on the thing, while the price is
still comparable to conventional memory.
FBDIMMs come in channels and sockets. The more channels on a motherboard
and chipset, the more total bandwidth that is available from the
memory subsystem. But on an individual channel, a motherboard may have
multiple memory sockets on the same channel. As I understand it, the
memory DIMMs are daisy chained on a channel, which means the latency to
reach the second stick on the chain, is longer than to reach the memory
on the first stick. You would need to see some benchmarks for FBDIMM
based systems, to see what impact this might have. This is different
than conventional memory, where with say registered memory, you might
be able to fill all the sockets, with little relative impact on the
performance. You can learn more here:
If the motherboard has four channels, you put one DIMM per channel,
so you can take advantage of all the channels. If you had a choice
between, say 8 * 1GB modules and 4 * 2GB modules, and they all
had the same speed rating, then the 4 * 2GB would be a better
choice, from the perspective of not going through a daisy chain
hop for the memory. That could be part of the tough decision you
have to make, when buying the memory.
Comparing the prices here, there doesn't seem to be too much of a
penalty for using a higher capacity FBDIMM.
Kingston 2GB (2x1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 FB-DIMM ECC Fully Buffered DDR2 667 $330
Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 FB-DIMM ECC Fully Buffered DDR2 667 $700
FBDIMMs also get pretty hot, so another advantage of the "4 DIMMs on
4 channels" may be the ability for cooling air to get to the modules.
I expect the modules that ship with the server, will be staying in
the packing material. Your final memory config should come from a
third party source, to get best pricing.
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