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Home Server CPU Question - Intel Xeon vs AMD FX-83xx

Tags:
  • CPUs
  • Virtualization
  • Systems
  • Servers
Last response: in Systems
August 27, 2013 12:36:02 AM

Hi CPU and Server gurus,

I come to you today with a question concerning building a home server with virtualization.

I'd like to add a server to host some servers for my home and for my gaming community. These could include: Domain controller, web server, mail server, mumble/murmur server, dedicated gaming servers. All virtualized for modularity.

My initial plan was to buy a cheap multi-cored processor with great reviews and to use that to run several virtual dedicated gaming servers using level-1 virtualization with EXSi or some similar program. Of course, once I started doing my research for a good product, things started to get confusing and complicated.

During my search I came across the AMD FX-8320 which looked well suited for the task with 8 cores and 4.0GHz. It has bad energy efficiency for a server at around 125W TDP. However, I read a lot of forum posts saying that it was good at virtualization but many were recommending the i5 and i7 series instead for some reason.
($160) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


While looking into these suggestions, I ended up considering Xeon chips as options too. The 3.3GHz Xeon e3-1230v2 looked like a well-suited chip but only had 4 cores (8 threads?). It has better energy efficiency at 65W TDP (which is nice for a dedicated server!). It is also actually a server chip. From my understanding these Xeons are the same as the i5/i7's but without integrated graphics and some other unnecessary bells and whistles.

($235) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


My question: FX-83xx or e3-12xx for my task?

Can you help me make a decision on this?

Factors being considered: energy efficiency, maximum number of virtual servers (can 8 cores have more VM's than 4 cores?), hardware cost (preferably close/under $600 for CPU, MB, RAM, Case, and PSU). How much heat will the Xeon put out? I would just like to put the processor in a non-server-rack case. I dont have IT infrastructe like air conditioning to support an enterprise setup. I just would like a hobbyist home performance server for random machines like gaming and basic internet services. Am I overkilling this?


Thank you for your time and responses!

More about : home server cpu question intel xeon amd 83xx

August 27, 2013 1:02:53 AM

Depends on your budget. The FX is better and quicker on paper, with twice the cache, however the Xeon uses less power, and can handle the same loads fine.

The Xeon is aimed at being a server processor, so I'd go for the Xeon in this scenario.

However, the FX will do fine.

Hope this helps!
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Best solution

August 27, 2013 1:29:14 AM

Both are probably up to the task. The E3 xeons are nice. The FX-8320 would be nice for virtualisation i guess but it has less single thread performance. as i assume this server will be running 24/7 i would go for an Intel build as it will use less power. Also i would go for a haswell E3 v3 due to the better platform power efficiency unless you can get a good deal on a E3 v2. This is all dependent on getting a server mobo too.

All in all unless you need features like ECC & IPMI i doubt you need a xeon really. A haswell i7 with a non-server motherboard would get the same job done. Plus you get an IGP.

In terms of heat, it'll be dependent on the CPU's TDP, usage, PSU efficiency, hard drives & ram.

If you plan on getting more heavily into this i'd suggest going server hardware. Another option is to buy a cheap pedestal server from HP, but DIY seems to be similar and you get more performance. The other concern about enterprise hardware is that it can be loud.

Newegg has a E3 1240 v3 for $265, a 1150 server mobo is $130-180, ECC DDR3 (non-rdimm) is $69 for 8gb (i assume you're maxing the RAM for virtualisation), but for 16gb you'd end up having $67 for a case + PSU. i would recommend spending more on a better PSU as running a server 24/7 you can get a short payback time. However $67 doesn't get you a platinum PSU & a case, so you'd run over budget. The cheapest platinum PSU on pcpartpicker.com is ~95, and then you could put that into an ATX/mATX case. that comes to $700.

Going haswell i7, maxing RAM, motherboard that takes your expansion requirements + platinum PSU will be fine as a server as long as you don't need unattended access to IPMI features and ECC, however i just checked pricing and it's actually quite similar to non-server except you can't overclock. An i5 overclocked could exceed the performance of a xeon, but you pay in electricity.
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