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web server shopping list

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March 31, 2006 1:29:12 PM

Many thanks to the community for providing such great resources. I'd appreciate if you could look over what I plan to purchase and offer up advice before I pull the trigger (probably today, at least for the drives b/c rebates).


Shopping List:
$O - OS - FreeBSD
$689.00 - CPU - AMD Opteron 275 Dual Core Processor
$25.62 - heatsink - Thermaltake K450 For AMD Opteron and Athlon 64 / Athlon 64 FX55
$342.14 - motherboard - Super Micro EATX MBD H8DAE IDE GETHX2- VGA AMD
$600.91 - 2U rackmount - Super Micro CHAS EATX SC823 DP 2U 6X1 SATA BAY REDUN 500W
$132.50 - memory - (2GB total) 2x Corsair 1GB PC3200 DDR DIMM Memory Kit (512MBx2)
$297.94 - SATA card - 3ware Escalade 9500S-4 - 4-port PCI Low-profile SATA RAID Card
$520.00 - drives - 4x Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB Hard Drive ($30 rebate each)

TOTAL: $2608.11

The prices are all pretty competitive but not necessarily rock bottom since I wanted to go with fairly reputable vendors and save on shipping by going with the same ones.





My Thoughts: (no reason to read if you don't have the time)

$O - OS - FreeBSD

Known for it's stability and performance as a web server. Also a personal favorite.



$689 - CPU - AMD Opteron 275 Dual Core Processor

2.4 Mhz, 2MB cache, 1Ghz bus

I'm getting one dual core for now on a motherboard that can support two dual cores. This leaves me plenty of room to grow.

Simply doing a little research shows how much AMD Opteron blows away Intel Xeon. The key is how the Xeon becomes memory starved in a multi processor environment due to bottle necking on the front side bus (FSB). All processors are allotted a portion of the 800Mhz bandwidth so instead of having up to 4 cores, each working at 800Mhz, they'd only have access to 200Mhz memory bandwidth each. Opteron has a faster FSB (1Ghz), but more importantly, each CPU can access the main memory of another processor, so I can have up to four cores working at 1Ghz each. The processor I'm getting has the same 2Mb of L2 cache as the Xeon.

Unfortunately I researched CPUs last instead of first... big mistake!


$342.14 - motherboard - Super Micro EATX MBD H8DAE IDE GETHX2- VGA AMD

I didn't research motherboards thoroughly since the price difference is relatively small amongst top end boards. Supremicro came extremely well recommended so that was enough for me. I'm sure there's deals to be had with other very capable boards, but I know I won't need to worry about this one.


$600.91 - chassis - Super Micro CHAS EATX SC823 DP 2U 6X1 SATA BAY REDUN 500W

2U
redundant 500W power supply
6 hot swapable drive bays
Pretty much the same as the motherboard. This product is well proven to be high performance, reliable, and robust. Exactly what I need. Hot swappable drives, redundant power supplies (420 min needed by motherboard).


$132.50 - memory - 2x Corsair 1GB PC3200 DDR DIMM Memory Kit (512MBx2)

2Gb total. I'm saving a little here. This Corsair is so cheap and so well recommended that if it doesn't pan out then it's practically disposable. I figure when I get another dual core processor I also do a big memory upgrade.


$297.94 - RAID controller - 3ware Escalade 9500S-4 - 4-port PCI Low-profile SATA RAID Card

I needed something know to work with FreeBSD and 3ware is very well proven for this. I'll be running RAID 10 (1+0). The advantage here being very good performance for read/write and can loose a drive without skipping a beat. A lost drive on RAID 5 will effect performance.


$520 - drives - four Western Digital 74GB SATA Raptors (after $30 rebates on each)

These SATA drives are freaking amazing. They out perform high end SCSI for many tasks. They've been out for a while and are clearly the disks of choice. It's actually way more storage than I need, but the performance difference between the 36Gb and 74Gb was too great. It is possible the 150Gb has even better performance, but marginally so and for twice the price.


Total System Price:
$2608.11 (plus shipping)



Server Use:
SpellingCow.com provides a free web checking service. Last year it spelled check nearly a half billion words from over 700k unique IPs. In about 2 months I will launching a very slick update and I think a ten fold increase in-use is very possible. While I do have a strategy for failing over to other servers, it would be best if the main server just never went down. I'd gladly pay extra for boosts in reliability and stability.

The box will be primarily doing small but frequent database read/writes. The process of spell checking can require a significant amount of CPU and memory. The server will be generating output with PHP and returning output similar to XML (though it's actually a blob of javascript).

I would also like the service to be able to hold up to a "slashdotting". The actual website is moving to a server that has already survived a slashdotting for another domain. So I just need this box to be able to handle the large influx of one-day of spell checks.

Thanks!
-Nuttzy :cool:
March 31, 2006 4:49:51 PM

Looks good.

if you only put one cpu into a dual proc mobo, you will lose some mobo fuctionality

is that corsair registered memory? I didn't see ECC on there.

Why all raptors? get SATA2 drives for bigger cache and more storage space. Since you are going RAID you probably won't need that extra speed of raptors

where are you getting the rebates from? if you say tigerdirect or onrebate.com you should shoot yourself.
March 31, 2006 5:04:54 PM

Hey, thanks for the help!

Quote:
Looks good.

if you only put one cpu into a dual proc mobo, you will lose some mobo fuctionality
Interesting. What kind of losses might there be? For instance I know that the mobo says "For Single CPU: Memory must be populated in CPU I DIMMs only". I can live with that.

Quote:
is that corsair registered memory? I didn't see ECC on there.
It is non-ECC. I'm more than willing to spend the money on something that will make a big difference. Any recommendations welcome.

Quote:
Why all raptors? get SATA2 drives for bigger cache and more storage space. Since you are going RAID you probably won't need that extra speed of raptors
It's already way more space than I need so it's purely performance based. Caching is not going to be very helpful b/c there's so many unique users reading/writing so many little bits of data. This is one area I didn't want to skimp too much on so I even went for the 74Gb drives instead of the 36Gb drives despite not needing the extra space.


Quote:
where are you getting the rebates from? if you say tigerdirect or onrebate.com you should shoot yourself.
Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Thanks for the tip on those other vendors though, I didn't know they were problematic!

Thanks again,
-Nuttzy :cool:
Related resources
March 31, 2006 5:15:02 PM



Ah crud. That rebate is one per customer so I'll rethink where I'm ordering from. There were definitely place with a lower before rebate price.

-Nuttzy :cool:


EDIT: yikes! Looks like I do infact need/want ECC memory.

Quote:
Memory Type
* DDR 400/333/266MHz buffered (registered) ECC SDRAM 72-bit, 184-pin gold-plated DIMMs


...I don't know if that means it won't work with non-ECC but I'd rather not risk it. I'm thinking something like this instead....

http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid...
March 31, 2006 7:25:56 PM

Nutty:

I think the Opteron 2xx series CPU requires registered DIMMs for memory. I think only the 1xx series can use non-registered memory. Besides for a server ECC/Registered memory is much perfered anyway.
March 31, 2006 7:42:30 PM

Quote:
Nutty:

I think the Opteron 2xx series CPU requires registered DIMMs for memory. I think only the 1xx series can use non-registered memory. Besides for a server ECC/Registered memory is much perfered anyway.


Thanks shadowduck, I think you're right. Looks like this should do the trick...
http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid...

Corsair 512MB PC3200 ECC REG LP 64MX72 32MX8 DRAMS CL3

...registered and ECC.

-Nuttzy :cool:
April 1, 2006 4:19:16 PM

Could I ask what kind of traffic load you're looking at on a daily basis?
April 1, 2006 9:14:41 PM

Quote:
Could I ask what kind of traffic load you're looking at on a daily basis?
I'm doing about a Gig of transfer per day right now. It's hard for me to estimate how much bandwidth I'll be using after my next release since the software has a radically different architecture. The new architecture is likely to be more demanding on all of the server's resources. Plus I very much expect a large uptick in popularity (but we'll have to see first ;) ).

Thanks,
-Nuttzy :cool:
!