New build suggestions

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So I'm planning on building a new rig and turning my old Quad Core
into a headless ESXi host. I'd like to get as many cores/threads as
possible and keep it under 2K. My goals are to be running the new
machine as my main computer (office/gaming/internet) while running
multiple VMs on top of it (probably full time, except maybe during
gaming). The new FX-8150 is appealing because it has 8 physical cores
vs the i7-2600K's 4 (8HT), which I assume would mean better VM
performance distribution. Unfortunately, the benchmarks look like
shit. It performs lower than the year old 2600k, and isn't quite up to
par with the 3 year old 980X. Given the disappointing benchmarks, I've
done some more research and found out about the upcomming i7-3830K,
with 6 Cores/12 threads. This processor looks good , but I'm wondering
if anyone has any suggestions as to whether it's "twice the cost" good
vs the Bulldozer or 2600k? Opinions?

Re: New build suggestions

Evan wrote:
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The projected price of the 3930K is listed here. It's $583. You
should be able to build a desktop system for under $2K using that.
It might really depend, on how much of your computing relies on
video cards/GPUs, as to the final price, size of PSU, case, cooling, and so on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGA_2011

It would be about twice the price, for roughly 1.5x performance, compared
to 2600K. The launch price on 980X was probably $1000, so $583 is a
"bargain".

You wouldn't want to underestimate the impact of the motherboard though.
I expect there will be a premium there as well. The majority of new
LGA2011 motherboards will be quad channel, one DIMM per channel. And
using cheap 4GB modules, that gives a 16GB limit as of today. I
don't know if 8GB modules, running at decent speeds, are on the
horizon or not.

It is also not clear, exactly what benefit quad channels will give.
On LGA1366, triple channels didn't really add to performance that much.
It just made room for more modules.

This motherboard, offered by Intel, shows 8 DIMM slots. You would
want to check the dimensions of this motherboard carefully, because
it may break the bounds of ATX and stray into EATX territory.

http://wccftech.com/intel-displays-dx79si-lga-2011-motherboard-rts2011lc-cpu-water-cooler-sandy-brdigee-idf-2011 /

According to this site...

http://www.techpowerup.com/152043/Intel-Desktop-Board-DX79SI-Pictured.html

    "Despite its large memory area, the DX79SI sticks to standard ATX board
     dimensions. This is thanks to some smart engineering."

As long as there is no speed penalty for using all eight slots, then
a board like that gives room for 32GB of cheap modules. You'd want
to make sure the DIMM slot spacing, allows room for the heat spreaders
used on some of the modules. Modules without spreaders, might work better
in such a situation.

So that one might be a candidate. As long as the Intel BIOS design
doesn't stink. (I guess I'm just not a fan of Intel's approach.
Occasionally, one of the other manufacturers turns out a better
all-round motherboard.)

*******

The Bulldozer FX-8150 is a bit of an anomaly, in that some of the
features, may in the future work better than they do today.
It's a four core processor, with "enhanced Hyperthreading" of a
sort (8 threads, 4 cores, with the threads being able to do a bit
more than Intel Hyperthreading). The thing is, if it takes better
compiler technology, better OS scheduling policies, to squeeze
another 5% out of it, it might take a few years to realize the
full potential.

Compiler designers have already complained about the ~1000 different
instructions available on x86/x64 arch, being virtually impossible to keep up
with (only a fraction of all possible instructions are used, and
new instructions must be vetted as being actually usable). Imagine
if you're a lowly application designer, like the developer working
on FFMPEG, discovering the AMD FPU has a new 256 bit instruction.
How long will it take you to write additional code plus assembler
code, to detect a FX-8150 and start using that instruction when
decoding a movie or the like ? The "feature dribble" takes forever.

I wouldn't waste my time even thinking about that, because
by the time the compiler/tools/apps come along that might
take advantage of it, a better designed, ready to go solution
will have come from the other camp to surpass it. Trust the
existing benchmarks to predict what it's worth to you.

So, yeah, for $2K, you can build a nice computer :-)

Before buying into LGA 2011, you might want to read up on
chipset issues. That may be one factor in the rollout. The thing
is, Intel, by forcing out all competing chipsets, is dependent on
its own team to deliver, and that is a dangerous situation if
you're trying to hit rollout dates. All it takes is a slip,
a respin, to slow down the rollout. Look what happened to Sandy
Bridge, and imagine the pressure the Intel management are applying
to their X79 team. Before buying, you may want to count SATA connectors
on the motherboard :-)

    Paul

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