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How do you build a dual xeon system?

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June 15, 2008 1:37:00 AM

I'm considering a dual Xeon system, but I'm not familiar with all the little differences from desktop, single chip computers. Can some help me with this? There's alot to learn, and I don't wan't to order wrong. Some of the things, I'll probably research after I post this.

The questions are at the end; but, first, here's the system I have in mind:
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...
Rosewill R222-P-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$19.99
ASUS DSBV-DX Dual LGA 771 Intel 5000V SSI CEB 1.1 Server Motherboard - Retail
$224.99
Rosewill RX850-S-B ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91 850W Power Supply - Retail
$118.99
2x Intel Xeon E5405 Harpertown 2.0GHz LGA 771 80W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80574E5405P - Retail
$459.98
2x Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) ECC Unbuffered Server Memory Model KVR800D2E5/1G - Retail
Model #:KVR800D2E5/1G
$49.98
Turtle Beach RIVIERA 5.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - OEM
$23.99

2x Dynatron H17G CPU Cooler - Retail

Subtotal: $945.90
That's:
Case
Power
Mobo
2 CPU
2 Heatsink
RAM
Sound card
and I already have...
Hard Drive
2 120mm case fans
OS (XP Retail)
Arctic Silver 5
99% Isopropyl alcohol

Questions
Feel free to give a yes/no answer.... However, if you can explain how to calculate some of the things myself, I will know what to do later
  • Are any items not compatable?
  • Did I forget anything?
  • Do I need heasinks with fans instead?
  • Do I need to use a 2U case for these heatsinks?
  • Case fans?
  • Is this mobo slow?
  • Will the two hatsinks even fit side by side on this mobo layout?
  • Will the case hold this mobo correctly
  • Will this power supply work (the rails) at full cpu load 24/7 assuming I might add 1 gamer video card?
  • Will just one 24 and one 8 pin psu connector work for dual cpu?
  • Must I use ECC?
  • Any actual tests/ hard info on ECC's benefits?
  • More about : build dual xeon system

    June 15, 2008 2:19:45 AM

    Found some answers...

    Do I need heasinks with fans instead?
    Do I need to use a 2U case for these heatsinks?

    The heatsinks are for 1U :( 
  • So, what heatsink do I use that won't sound like a leafblower and isn't too costly? Any Zalman or Dynatron models? (I don't know how to tell and could use some help.)

    Will this power supply work (the rails) at full cpu load 24/7 assuming I might add 1 gamer video card?
    It seems xeon quads each use under 100W (~8A@12V+) or 16A for 2 CPUs and a high end Geforce needs 30A@12V+ (though I don't plan on getting quite so high end a card). The power supply has 3 20A +12V rails.... Might work?
    June 15, 2008 2:27:00 AM

    I have a Dual XEON Setup using an ASUS MB. I love the MB. It is a different model but love the quality. First off your case will not fit that motherbord. The XEON boards are either SSI CEB or EATX (Extended ATX). So you will need to fork out more for a case. I am using the Thermaltake Armor which fits them nicely. I belive the Antec P190 also fits EATX but I hate that it comes with it's own power supply.

    The RAM is also not correct, you need FB-DIMMs. Also I think the machine is probably an overkill if you are only loading it with 2GB of ram. FB-DIMM's get hot and I mean real hot. You need to get something to cool them or have good airflow over them at least. Mine with very little airflow are hat 84 and 77 celcius. Here is a link to some FB-DIMMs
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134649

    I am using the 5355's so I believe my CPU's would be hotter then yours. With the 5355 passive cooling is not enough. I used the dynatron's active coolde with the fan on the side and it cooled the CPU nicely. It also cooled the memory more and everything was running great. The price to pay was they were loud as hell. I eventually took them out and put on a water loop.

    I definately recomend some case fans although the number and speed may vary depending on how you decide to cool the CPU and memory.

    I don't see a PSU listed. but these boards require 2- separate 12 v/4pin connectors. My PSU didnot have them but I got a cable that makes them from the standard non sata power connector.
    Related resources
    a b à CPUs
    June 15, 2008 3:29:26 AM

    http://www.dansdata.com/askdan00032.htm

    Dan has some good advice here for you.

    I guess it depends what you want it for at the end of the day.

    Since you haven't mentioned anything about graphics then I am assuming you want a real server ... in that case you need a lot more ram.

    Hope the link helps.
    June 15, 2008 3:56:54 AM

    Here's what I have in mind:
    6 cores + 40KB RAM == used by 6 copies of a special calculation app (always running and using a full core if available)
    2 cores + remaining 2008KB RAM + video card == internet, os, gaming, etc...

    Will this work?
    "Multicore personal computers may now have raw CPU power far in excess of that of serious supercomputers of not so many years ago, but they do not have full-processor-speed access to RAM. What they have instead is relatively large, multi-level processor caches, which work pretty well for desktop computer tasks but fail miserably when you're reading and writing all over a giant dataset."
    What does this mean? Will my plan not work?
    a b à CPUs
    June 15, 2008 4:12:39 AM

    No ... your better off buying two rigs - one for gaming, and one for crunching.

    Though the Skulltrail system with FB-Dimms looks goo the parts are horribly priced and the ram bandwidth is rubbish.

    Build a cheap gaming rig (something like a Core2 quad Q6600 or Q9450 with an 8800GT and a couple of gigs of ram.

    Build a cheap dual socket quad core (see Dan's advice) Zeon server system ... or possibly an Opteron dual socket Barcelona system. You don't need any graphics for this system or sound but you want a minumum of 4 to 8Gb of RAM and two HDD's in RAID0 to get the most out of it.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Someone else can give you plenty more advice.

    This way your much less likely to have the server system corrupted by some crappy application crashing the graphics, or a virus etc.

    Plus a gaming rig won't run well when it is churning any disk intensive operations in the background.


    June 15, 2008 8:44:21 AM

    Hi

    My experience with a server-type rig (dual- Opteron socket 940) is that you are a bit limited by not having overclocking abilities. Even when I rebuild with the Tyan K8WE (currently using the K8SE) you are held back by the server RAM (FB-DIMMs or ECC DDR RAM) and motherboard BIOS... Don't get me wrong the rig games OK. However a Core2 Wolfie @4Ghz with good RAM would blow a Xeon out of the water!!

    I would personally avoid Rosewill as a PSU brand. For a server you would need a PC Power & Cooling, Ultra X3 Series, Seasonic, Corsair. A server board will require a more stable PSU then a desktop setup.

    Also I have my rig running of 4x stripped U320 SCSI drives (with a 256Mbyte RAID controller). But you are implying you are just going to be doing number crunching which should be OK (not too I/O intensive I presume).

    You will need a minimum of 4Gb of RAM for the server machine, perhaps even more. Depends on the memory footprint of that crunching app.!! You will therefore need a 64-bit OS (GNU/Linux, Windows XP x64, Windows 2003 Server, etc.).

    You could wait for the octi-core Nahalem CPU (sweet)!!

    Bob
    a b à CPUs
    June 15, 2008 12:04:20 PM

    Reynod said:
    No ... your better off buying two rigs - one for gaming, and one for crunching.

    Though the Skulltrail system with FB-Dimms looks goo the parts are horribly priced and the ram bandwidth is rubbish.

    Build a cheap gaming rig (something like a Core2 quad Q6600 or Q9450 with an 8800GT and a couple of gigs of ram.

    Build a cheap dual socket quad core (see Dan's advice) Zeon server system ... or possibly an Opteron dual socket Barcelona system. You don't need any graphics for this system or sound but you want a minumum of 4 to 8Gb of RAM and two HDD's in RAID0 to get the most out of it.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Someone else can give you plenty more advice.

    This way your much less likely to have the server system corrupted by some crappy application crashing the graphics, or a virus etc.

    Plus a gaming rig won't run well when it is churning any disk intensive operations in the background.


    This is good advice. Your reasoning for having an 8 cores system is flawed.
    8 cores is not 8 times faster, or mean 8 times more work is being done. It doesn't work that way.
    You will need a huge amount RAM, and more than even the 2 drives in RAID reynod said, and even then look back to my first statements again. If you need a system crunching numbers in the background all the time, that can use up to 6 cores, you need a dedicated system for that application which can be built very inexpensively. Build another for gaming and everyday use.


    June 15, 2008 10:02:44 PM

    jitpublisher said:
    This is good advice. Your reasoning for having an 8 cores system is flawed.
    8 cores is not 8 times faster, or mean 8 times more work is being done. It doesn't work that way.
    You will need a huge amount RAM, and more than even the 2 drives in RAID reynod said, and even then look back to my first statements again. If you need a system crunching numbers in the background all the time, that can use up to 6 cores, you need a dedicated system for that application which can be built very inexpensively. Build another for gaming and everyday use.


    You don't need a "huge amount" of RAM. The amount of RAM depends on the target application... It could be anything from 8Gb (not so huge) to 32Gb depending on the "type of crunching" being done. You won't get a linear speed up with the Xeons as the FSB is a big limitation... This is the reason why I suggested waiting for the Nehalem CPU+chipset.

    You have to think of the whole memory hierachy when designing/ laying out a system. Your system will be very RAM/CPU heavy with a huge I/O bottleneck back to much slower HD storage...
    I would say the system would benefit from a 3.5" 15K SAS drive and/ or an SSD drive/array!! Get that wallet out... etc, etc. Seriously putting your data set on a small, fast 32Gb ("working storage") SSD drive would be just the ticket to avoid an I/O bottleneck. Booting your OS of a 15K SAS drive/array would also help. Additionally Host Controllers for U320 SCSI are much cheaper now than they used to be and U320 SCSI drives can be had on E-bay/on-line for the "right price" i.e. matching WD Raptor pricing but at 15K rpm speeds.

    Bob
    June 16, 2008 5:25:34 PM

    The app consumes 6MB RAM each and uses next to no I/O.
    So, for 8 copies of the app, that is 48MB RAM (and I/O once every few hours).
    The app can be spread over many machines. I may run a copy or two on a notebook.

    So I don't need RAID.
    I don't need lots of RAM.
    I also want to use as much CPU as I can... so even if I got two Dell systems, I'd run it on both and game on one.



    BTW, here's a new list:
    http://app.blist.com/#/blist/kevin%20ar18/dual-cpu-1
    I still don't know what heatsink.
    I don't understand why the psu needs dual connectors.
    June 16, 2008 5:56:30 PM

    Like they say in the Army. Cluster f*ck.

    Or just cluster. Have a friend that can fiddle with Linux. Mounting a cluster can be quite simple.
    Check if the crunching App you run is Ghz limited, or it just likes loads of core.

    If not, but 4 E2180 machines with 512 Ram Each. Ive seen them go about 250€ each !!
    Or less if you mounted it your self , and use Used HDDs.

    I have mounted clusters for specific Structural Calculations using old PCs. Some still work. They were just trash because the TIC was renewing the hardware (every 2 years). Why trash 32 perfectly good machines ? Those AMD 2200+ Barton Core still pack a nice punch. Of Course we are talking about 32 of them. The problem might be the watts under full load. A SETi Farm is not what i advice to have in your room, but hey.

    There are several ways to make a omelet, it need eggs, but hey the rest we can be creative.
    June 16, 2008 6:51:08 PM

    I thought about multiple old machines, but don't have any. :) 
    I don't need a special cluster app either. If the machine has a network card, it will work.

    The app is single threaded and runs constantly. Every few hours it gets a new set to work on. so... I/O is near 0 ... and you have 1 app = 1 thread = 1 cpu/core.
    More cpus or cores simply means another copy that I can run (at 99.9% scaling) whether it be the same machine or different ones.

    .... except what is all of this about ram and fsb limit on dual systems?
    June 16, 2008 11:44:19 PM

    KevinAr18 said:
    I thought about multiple old machines, but don't have any. :) 
    I don't need a special cluster app either. If the machine has a network card, it will work.

    The app is single threaded and runs constantly. Every few hours it gets a new set to work on. so... I/O is near 0 ... and you have 1 app = 1 thread = 1 cpu/core.
    More cpus or cores simply means another copy that I can run (at 99.9% scaling) whether it be the same machine or different ones.

    .... except what is all of this about ram and fsb limit on dual systems?



    I think a couple of quad systems would be the sweet spot. Sure E2160's are v. cheap but you need all the other clobber to run 'em and electricity isn't free...

    So I would say 2x Q6600 (EE) @3.0Ghz+Kingston HyperX 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 PC2-9200C5+motherboard (Gigabyte/ASUS?) with on-board GPU+Samsung F1 500Gb+Corsair HX520 systems (or whatever floats your boat). The Q6600 will rush you the same as the Xeon but run at 3.0Ghz (OC) instead of 2.0Ghz. No overclock on a server board!!

    But of course this is not within the original (unrealistic) budget... So build one system as a trial run... The equipment is old tech and therefore should be more stable/ well supported. You can run an (easier to manage) 32-bit OS on these systems.

    Unless you get free electricity the overheads of running multiple systems will add up... I don't think 4x dual core systems is such a good idea in this day and age!!

    Bob

    P.S. Don't worry about the whole CPU/FSB issue if your processes are going to be CPU bound and perform little I/O.
    I am sure the 4Mb / (dual-core) wafer in the Q6600 will help iron out any problems in this respect!!

    June 17, 2008 8:54:46 AM

    KevinAr18 said:
    Is the power supply gonna be ok?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Do I need dual mobo connectors? Why?
    Do I need some kind of SSI/CEB certifiction?


    Uhhhmmm, I for one won't be posting on this thread any more... Since you are asking for advice and then not listening to it...

    IMHO you aren't ready to built a server rig and should stick to the multiple desktop systems idea...

    If you really want to go down the server route then get a suitably stable PSU. Just having lots of watts is not enough...
    A Rosewill will let you down "maybe not today bu some day soon"...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16817182072

    Please refer to:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
    Some powersupplies are placed wrongly on this (Enermax slightly too high etc.) but overall it will point you in the right direction for efficiency, stability and longterm reliability... Please note that Rosewill is at the bottom of the pile (tier 5). This link is only a guide to quality/stability but I personally stick to PSUs from Tiers 1 & 2.

    Bob
    June 17, 2008 9:55:44 AM

    bobwya said:
    Uhhhmmm, I for one won't be posting on this thread any more... Since you are asking for advice and then not listening to it...

    IMHO you aren't ready to built a server rig and should stick to the multiple desktop systems idea...

    If you really want to go down the server route then get a suitably stable PSU. Just having lots of watts is not enough...
    A Rosewill will let you down "maybe not today bu some day soon"...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16817182072

    Please refer to:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088
    Some powersupplies are placed wrongly on this (Enermax slightly too high etc.) but overall it will point you in the right direction for efficiency, stability and longterm reliability... Please note that Rosewill is at the bottom of the pile (tier 5). This link is only a guide to quality/stability but I personally stick to PSUs from Tiers 1 & 2.

    Bob


    Right on the mark, about the PSU and the multiple systems. Bang/Buck ratio, in your case, screams that.
    So you say its single threaded. Very well. Im having a really slow day at work (again) so.....lets start with a little caroling.

    "I sold my soul to the devil and the devil came back for more
    He was in need of some cash, but i couldn't have it any more"

    Alright. lets spend....500 bucks on your crunching system. Or on several of them.

    CPU

    AMD 64 1600 2.2Ghz 34$


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    - Cheap, can be overclocked nicely to 2.6Ghz and its power consumptions are freaking low. Check Toms Charts to verify my claims. Its a 64 Bit CPU, so if you app gets an update or already works on 64 bits, well, it is a nice bump. WINE can be a wonderful thing. or a cedega plataform. Cheaper than a Celeron, and faster aswell.

    Motherboard
    BIOSTAR NF61S Micro AM2 SE AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 49$

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    - Nvidia Chipset, everything on board. Biostar isn't a Tier 1 Brand but hey its cheap. It should work flawless for crunching numbers. You should find cheaper if you want, or a little better if you want as well. This you can tinker a bit. This mobo is just a good suggestion. NVIDIA drivers usually work pretty nice with Linux if you go that way. If your going Linux, stick with Nvidia and Intel. Ati, Via, SIS and other chipsets are problematic.

    RAM
    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 44.99$

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    - Again im just checking newegg and seeing whats in stock. You will probably find cheaper. I remind you this is just a suggestion and i remind you can break this in 2 (its 2x1GB). So its 22,50$ per machine in ram. We now just need PSU.

    PSU
    Sunbeam PSU-BKS-480-US 480W ATX12V Power Supply 100 - 240 V - OEM 15$

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    - yes, its a **** PSU. Yes you wont need more. Everything is on board and that CPU has a ridiculous low power consumption. It should do perfectly. This OEM PSUs aren't great when we are talking performance machine, but they work real nice when they aren't too much pushed to the limit. And this system will use less than 100 watts in full load.

    This means per machine

    CPU = 34$
    MOBO= 49$
    RAM = 22,50$ (1Gb, you will prolly find less and cheaper, 256mb or 512mb are enough)
    PSU = 15$
    --------------------
    Total = 120$ before rebates and shipping.


    Noticed i didnt use any HDD ? Because you got 2 choices, first you might not need, second you can ebay a batch of 10GB or 20GB really cheap on Ebay. With a bit of juggling i think you can set up a machine for abotu 100$. You wont need so much ram so the Ebay argument sticks here. You can buy a batch of used 256MB DDR2 533Mhz for much less.

    Casing

    Here is where we are going to see if you are really an enthusiast , or you are low on enthusiasm. It is a Linux approach. Make it yourself. The TDP of this cpus are low, nothing else on the machine generates any heat. Ive made frames for those 32 (well, i have ordered them, 32 it is a bit exaggerated, but its doable until 12 units, done it before, its fun,, ill do it again). With some real searching ( not posting on a forum while I'm working ) you could easily squeeze 6 PCs on 500$.

    6 of those CPUs, 64 bits would pack a really good punch. would a dual Xeon pack more punch ? Probably not. Multi-Threading and Hyper-Threading don't work too well on single thread apps. And you would keep another 500$ for you gaming machine.

    Its my 2 cents, and i believe the community would agree with this approach. Faster, cheaper, optimized.
    !