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Best CPU Chart to reference for VM hardware

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October 14, 2008 1:58:38 PM

What would be the best cpu chart to look at for figuring virtual machine performance. I'm getting ready to upgrade my system and its main use is to run VMWare virtual machines. I'm not looking to spend a ton of cash, but I do want to pick the best cpu that I can afford.

Thanks!
October 14, 2008 2:12:02 PM

My honest opinion is to go for any quad core. Don't get any dual core. Especially no single core processors. As virtualization software will simply tax a single processor core to it's knees.
a b à CPUs
October 14, 2008 3:00:56 PM

Also, lots of RAM!
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a c 117 à CPUs
October 14, 2008 3:11:07 PM

What will your VMs be used for? What VMware product will you be using?

In a production environment, VMware recommend that your systems have as many or more cores than the number of VMs, but I find that the main performance bottleneck often is disk I/O. For testing purposes, even a P4 541 works fine if you only run a couple VMs that are not too busy. My server with the Q6600 is obviously faster than the one with the 541, but the difference isn't as large as one might expect. The main benefit of the Q6600 is that it runs 64-bit VMs and the CPU utilization never reaches 100%. Depending on what your VMs will be used for, you might consider spending a bit less on the CPU and a lot more on very fast hard disks and dedicate one per VM (or use high performance disk arrays). Also consider buying enough memory to prevent swapping.
October 14, 2008 3:40:24 PM

I plan on running 4 vm's. I've been using VMPlayer with some different linux distros for various testing reasons but after the upgrade I plan on loading a full vmware server or MS Virtual Server. Yet, it will still be no more than 4 vm's at a time. I'm think 8gb of ram, any reason to go higher? Intel Quads over Amd's?
October 14, 2008 3:41:10 PM

Failed to mention I run a stripe of 80gb 7200rpm hard drives.
October 14, 2008 3:41:34 PM

high FSB speeds as well
a c 117 à CPUs
October 14, 2008 4:00:42 PM

Either an Intel or an AMD Quad will work. I chose an Intel Q6600 and an Asus P5Q Deluxe because it supports up to 16 GB of memory (though I might never need that much memory) and it is a stable motherboard. I'm running Windows Server 2008 64-bit and VMware Server 2.0. Since you will run VMware Server, what Windows Server version will you load on that system?
October 14, 2008 4:42:33 PM

A quad will do well.
a c 117 à CPUs
October 14, 2008 5:21:13 PM

It's very difficult to predict the performance of VMs, but you should look at benchmarks that use disk I/O like AVG Anti-Virus, Linux GZIP, Linux Kernel Compilation, WinRAR, etc. You can safely ignore all benchmarks that measure CPU, GPU or memory performance only as they are not relevant to a VM server.

An Intel or AMD Quad that costs ~$200 should meet your requirements. The CPU The best CPU for VMs is the Intel Xeon 7400 Series, but building a system based on that CPU is very expensive.

You'll probably find out that your stripe of 80gb 7200rpm hard drives is a bottleneck with a very fast server. In a test environment, one fast SATA disk per VM, e.g., a WD6400AAKS, works quite well and it isn't that expensive. Using them in a RAID configuration (4 disks or more) to run several VMs should also be a good solution.
October 14, 2008 5:41:10 PM

any vmware (client/server) software died on my system completely. q6600 w/ 3gb of RAM. ive checked their forums out to no avail. interestingly though i've seen someone having the same problem like me, thing is he had an AMD machine to compare it too. he was able to install it on the amd, but not on the q6600. my gut feel tells me that it has something to do with my cpu.
October 14, 2008 6:22:34 PM

Ok cool, thanks for all the input. Here's my picks so far, let me know if I've made a wrong choice somewhere, or if you just hate one of the companies, ha. I've selected 8gb of DDR2 800 instead of 4gb of DDR2 1066, either choice stays in my budget; I opted for capacity over speed, any argument there? Thanks again!

GIGABYTE GA-MA78G-DS3H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor

GeIL Black Dragon 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Channel Kit Desktop Memory - timing is 5-5-5-15
a c 117 à CPUs
October 14, 2008 7:16:50 PM

Stehlen, I agree with your CPU and memory selection, but I'm not so sure that I'd use that motherboard. Have you considered using the newer GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H AM2+/AM2 that supports RAID 5?

wh3resmycar, can you create a new thread and post more info about your setup, e.g., motherboard, host O/S and version of VMware? The issue most likely isn't with your CPU.
October 14, 2008 7:38:08 PM

i did, nobody replied lol. that was like 2 months ago.
a c 117 à CPUs
October 14, 2008 8:03:30 PM

Can you provide the info again?
October 14, 2008 9:33:09 PM

I chose the GA-MA78G-DS3H because it would take 16gb of ram. I looked at some newer models that supprt 16gb as well but newegg only had one and it only took 4 SATAs. I do like Asus as well but the Gigabyte was cheaper.
November 3, 2008 7:20:23 PM

Well, I got the parts in and have everything built. I've been up and running for a couple weeks now and everything is great. I did end up dumping Server 2008 for Vista Ultimate though, I got irritated when I could load all my software on the server os. Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback and advice.

Thanks!
Stehlen
a c 117 à CPUs
November 3, 2008 10:45:52 PM

Are you now running VMware workstation on Vista Ultimate?
November 5, 2008 1:49:33 AM

No. Just VMPlayer. I use the convertor to create vm's from machines that I'm dealing with. I've been looking at buying the workstation, just haven't yet. Any signifcant preformance reason to use it? So far the convertor and vmplayer have covered my needs.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 5, 2008 2:51:57 AM

Workstation is great for testing because it allows for several snapshots of a VM and it's easy to go back to any of them. I use both Workstation and Server, but Workstation is better when testing system updates.
!