Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

upgrade this, or upgrade that?

Last response: in CPUs
Share
October 1, 2006 4:36:25 PM

i'm a noob, not an idiot...
environment:
small office, W2K SA server and ~8 workstations running various v.Windows.
server hosts SQL for external website, and a specific app that is -very- SQL intensive. so, mostly access to very large db files.
right now, the server is a P4 1.7 400FSB on an ASUS P4S533 with only 512mb of RAM.
i need a lot more out of this machine.
if i fill it full of RAM, and maybe drop in a P4 2.8 533 FSB, should i expect that much of a performance gain?
if i blow it all out and upgrade the motherboard and put in a core 2 duo, is all that money going to waste on simple little db access cycles?

what would you do if it was -your- money?

Thanks in advance.

More about : upgrade upgrade

October 1, 2006 5:25:27 PM

Your system is very low-spec for a modern business db server.

In your case, the cpu doesn't make as much difference as the ram and I/O speed. In fact the cpu upgrade you propose is such a small gain it will be a waste of money.

512mb is tiny for running windws, sql server, a big db, and a business app. It's probably paging out to disk so hard every time you run a query that it hardly responds at all so you should at least upgrade the ram.

The real question is, do you bite the bullet and upgrade the motherboard( +new cpu, new ram), or invest more money in a dead-end outdated tech. for example, your system probably takes pretty slow DDR memory, whereas most systems these days use much faster memory speeds and DDR2 which is not pin compatable with DDR so you couldn't move your memory over later. So if you buy DDR now, you're stuck with it.

What I would do is stop being such a tightwad, build a new bottom-end-core2 based system(say an E6400), 2 GB of RAM, and a mobo that also supports raid and gigabit ethernet. Also get a couple of 150MB raptor drives, put them in raid 0 and move everything onto them.

OK all the cost is up-front (say $1500?), but a system like that is MUCH faster, multi-core, will last for several years with no more investment, and is extensible so when your business and database grows you can just add more hard drives into the raid array. Also if you follow the latest trend which is running stuff in virtual machines your hardware will support it as core2 has the VT extensions, and if you are driven to run 64 bit apps the new hardware will support it whereas your existing one wont.

Otherwise, you'll find yourself repeately spending chunks of money on a dead-end architecture as you have to grow and improve your biz, and at some point you'll need to throw all that away and move to something like I suggested or bigger anyway.

Anyway, its a business expense right? tax-deductable etc...
October 1, 2006 10:21:32 PM

Thanks for the response, NIZ. i appreciate your input.

here's what i came up with from newegg

processor
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz 2M sharing L2 Cache LGA 775

motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-965G-DS3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel G965 Express ATX Intel

RAM
Patriot eXtreme Performance 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Hardrive
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150

RAID controller
HighPoint RocketRAID1520 PCI SATA Controller Card RAID 0/1 JBOD

this breaks the $1k line, and will be a very hard sell to "The Accountant".

i know i still need a power supply, but will i need a cooling unit as well? doesn't Conroe run cool anyway?

are there any other special needs for running multiple accesses of separate db's?

thanks again.
Related resources
October 1, 2006 11:09:21 PM

just a suggestion but instead of going for a raptor hd. why not look into one with more disk space. such as the Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s. it might be a slower hd but it was 3 times as much space.
October 2, 2006 1:12:05 AM

i agree also update to a dual core more memory and a bigger hd
October 2, 2006 1:49:20 AM

you won't need a mammoth power supply considering you won't be doing sli and whatever. you can get an antec truepower 480w for ~80 dollars. from my limited experience a processor should come with a heatsink/fan that should be more than enough. mobos should come with a heatpipe or something on them but don't quote me on that becuz im not sure about intel boards only amds. probably no difference. just take meh advice with a grain of salt.
October 2, 2006 1:51:44 AM

correct he wont need a super psu so to say
but a good quality one though
October 2, 2006 1:56:34 AM

i think theres still a little bit of life left in the old girl for a small office with only 8 machines. Dropping more ram in would do the job and not bust the bank (im assuming your not using ECC registered ram)

if all goes well that'll keep your workplace (including your accountant) relatively happy until you've scraped every last drop out of your current server before an upgrade is really necessary.

and if you do go for a machine, don't bother getting raptors in raid zero, if your machines are as old as your server 10ms longer response time wont make a difference.

:wink:
October 2, 2006 7:13:05 AM

If space is not a concern, then stick to the raptors as they will improve speed by a lot. The raptors are a must for a business server. Also try to get 2GB DDR2 ram. DDR2 ram and a raptor should solve ur problem.
October 2, 2006 7:36:04 AM

I would be a little weary of builing any type of server on a platform as new as the 965G. It still has a few bugs to work out.
Your present setup is certainly good enough for your office needs, but a lot would depend on the # of hits your SQL gets.
More ram is a definit requirement.
October 2, 2006 8:10:20 AM

Quote:
Also get a couple of 150MB raptor drives, put them in raid 0 and move everything onto them.


Raid-0 on a database server? If only the rest of the world followed this guys advice. Maybe the banks would get my account confused with some multimillionaire's account and I wouldn't need to try and follow those ezmoney schemes. :wink:
a b à CPUs
October 2, 2006 9:00:57 AM

Memory, Memory, Memory!!!! If you only want to spend a little $, than just upgrade to the max memory that you get put on the motherboard. If you can wait to buy it, than I would wait until after the holidays. Memory right now is expensive, compared to other times of the year. Like others have stated, you can go and upgrade to the newer setup, if $ is available. It would definately improve all aspects of your job. You can also build an AMD system also, which might save you some $. The AMD currently isn't the top dog right now (Intel holds that with the C2D), but things might change later. We'll see how things pan out for the AMD/Intel fight:) 

My 2cp
October 2, 2006 2:13:20 PM

Quote:
i think theres still a little bit of life left in the old girl for a small office with only 8 machines. Dropping more ram in would do the job and not bust the bank (im assuming your not using ECC registered ram)

if all goes well that'll keep your workplace (including your accountant) relatively happy until you've scraped every last drop out of your current server before an upgrade is really necessary.

and if you do go for a machine, don't bother getting raptors in raid zero, if your machines are as old as your server 10ms longer response time wont make a difference.

:wink:


Uhh.. if you're running multpile complex sql queries then it soon makes a big differenceas the delays compound up.
October 2, 2006 2:24:34 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the response, NIZ. i appreciate your input.

here's what i came up with from newegg

processor
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz 2M sharing L2 Cache LGA 775

motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-965G-DS3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel G965 Express ATX Intel

RAM
Patriot eXtreme Performance 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Hardrive
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150

RAID controller
HighPoint RocketRAID1520 PCI SATA Controller Card RAID 0/1 JBOD

this breaks the $1k line, and will be a very hard sell to "The Accountant".

i know i still need a power supply, but will i need a cooling unit as well? doesn't Conroe run cool anyway?

are there any other special needs for running multiple accesses of separate db's?

thanks again.



Conroe runs cooler than the CPU you have. IT should come with its own heatsink/fan (unless you buy an OEM chip, so don't). You can't/shouldn't re-use your old P1.7 heatsink on the conroe either.

Just get a motherboard with raid already on it to save the money of a raid card. (you just need sata not scsi unless you wanna spend more money for extra performance).

Also, for a raid array you're gonna need 2 drives, you don't make it clear if you're getting 1 or 2 on your list. Just putting 1 drive on a raid card doesn't do anything for you.

Any reason why you're not going with the 150mb raptors? they're bigger and significanytly faster than the 74's and are only about $50 more ($220 from new egg). For your application, this is the real bottleneck of your system so don't cheap-out here.

You might wanna double up on your ram too. Get 2GB. You want to try and avoid your system paging out memory to disk as much as possible, so that your drives are just servicing sql requests.
October 2, 2006 2:36:22 PM

Quote:
Also get a couple of 150MB raptor drives, put them in raid 0 and move everything onto them.


Raid-0 on a database server? If only the rest of the world followed this guys advice. Maybe the banks would get my account confused with some multimillionaire's account and I wouldn't need to try and follow those ezmoney schemes. :wink:

This guy is currently running off 1 drive and has a tight budget. He'd better already be doing regular backups, I presumed that much.

If he was a bank I'd reccomend something different.
October 2, 2006 3:17:23 PM

Why is everyone insisting on a Core2Duo? He's on a budget. Go with an Athlon64 X2, like the 3800+. You can build a great system and save money on the CPU and mobo. I bet you could do it for $700 or less (integrated graphics).
October 2, 2006 7:36:47 PM

thanks again to all for the input. obviously i left out some crucial info on my spec for the new system.

yes, 2GB RAM
yes, 2 drives for the RAID array (may go to 0+1 (with 4 drives) in the future to simplify backups, but for now i'll do manually)

as far as the mobo goes, what recomendations with onboard RAID setup for 0+1?
1G Nic would be nice, but i already have a 1G card in the current box, so i could just put it on the new board~.

about the drives, i guess i missed something in the spec about the seek times of the 74G vs the 150G. i don't need 300G of storage, but if it's that much of an improvement...

k, now comes the sh*tty question...

to get this past "The Accountant", thoughts on improvement %'s??

~$200 to up the RAM to 2G gets ? % over current? +un-upgradeable
~$1300 to push it all the way gets ? % over current? +room with a view
...for this type of implementation.

i know nobody will want to speculate, but....

hey, thanks again. really.
October 2, 2006 7:38:15 PM

Quote:
Why is everyone insisting on a Core2Duo? He's on a budget. Go with an Athlon64 X2, like the 3800+. You can build a great system and save money on the CPU and mobo. I bet you could do it for $700 or less (integrated graphics).


Thanks I needed a laugh. You AMD fanbois are funny.

single core Athlon 3800 @ newegg cost: $175
dual Core2 e6300 @ newegg cost: $180

Business performance gain of core2 over athlon: stellar

difference between cost of mobo and memory for amd or intel: same

My asrock core2 motherboard cost $55.
October 2, 2006 8:38:03 PM

im not a fanboy or anythin but a single core athlon 3800 @ newegg cost: 110. even a dual core x2 3800 is about 160. its all nickels and dimes because a core2 is faster than a x2 3800 for the cost. just tryin to put out the right numbers.
October 3, 2006 4:07:57 AM

Newer Seagate 7200rpm drives w/ perpendicular writing are said to be faster than typical 7200 drives, and you'll get way more room for the money.
October 3, 2006 5:55:30 PM

I'm guessing none of you n00bs work in a server environment. It's never about having the best server or having the best deal at the time when you're in a small server-client environment - the mission is to use what you have until it no longer supports your business size and then upgrade it as necessary. You only replace a server when it meets its end of life cycle in 10 years or if it breaks to a point it's not feasible to repair it anymore.

I guaruntee that you will see a recognizable gain in performance with SQL quiries and in your Apps just by upgrading your memory to even 1 GB. Upgrading your proc to a 2.8 as opposed to your current 1.7 will likely gain you better load-balancing, and you might bring down your CPU usage by a fair percentage (If your processor is continually above even 50% usage, you have a problem. 30% is ideal in a server environment)

Trust in Air Force Comm to give you the answer you seek :p 
October 7, 2006 3:10:05 AM

kill the troll, kill the troll
October 7, 2006 3:52:59 AM

Quote:
W2K SA server


Does he have to get some other kind of OS to run the C2D system?
!