Server Intel Boards

Hi,

I'm interested in building my 1st custom machine in few months and was wondering what you guys/gals think about starting off with the server mobo instead of the desktop mobo?

I had this mobo in mind: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151193

I'm in wedding photography industry and will be using the machine for large file edits/exports. I also like to run multiple programs at once and I feel I would benefit from 8-core system. Currently using Adobe CS4-64bit, Lightroom 2.0-64bit, Nikon Capture, ETC...

My current system is Dell Precision 690 Workstation, with (2) x 2.66CPU's, 10GB-RAM, I know I have a bottleneck with my HD's was looking to purchase (2) Western Digital VelociRaptor's and set them up in RAID0 to boost performance.

I should say that I'm very happy with the current system, just editing larger files is a b*&^CH, by larger files i mean in the range of 15MB+...

I am contemplating possibly getting some HD's or save the money for the new build.

Any ideas, suggestions welcomed. Thank you.

And yes Hi, my name is Alen and I'm new here...

:)
21 answers Last reply
More about server intel boards
  1. As long as you understand that you can't install a video card that requires a PCIe x16 slot (not an issue for a server), then it's a fine motherboard. If you need a fast video card, then you should consider a motherboard like the ASUS Z8PE-D12X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131374, the TYAN S7010AGM2NRF http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151190 or any other server motherboard that's appropriate for a workstation.
  2. GhislainG said:
    As long as you understand that you can't install a video card that requires a PCIe x16 slot (not an issue for a server), then it's a fine motherboard. If you need a fast video card, then you should consider a motherboard like the ASUS Z8PE-D12X http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131374, the TYAN S7010AGM2NRF http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151190 or any other server motherboard that's appropriate for a workstation.


    Thanks for the quick reply.

    In you opinion, is it worth trying to get some juice out of my current system or invest in better, more versatile mobo, you mentioned?
  3. From what I have seen so far, a single Core i7 system with 12GB of ram and a good hard drive setup would be the best.

    The best HD setup is to have the Windows swap file and Photoshop scratch files on different HDs, rather than setting them up in RAID 0.
  4. DXRick said:
    From what I have seen so far, a single Core i7 system with 12GB of ram and a good hard drive setup would be the best.

    The best HD setup is to have the Windows swap file and Photoshop scratch files on different HDs, rather than setting them up in RAID 0.


    Thanks for your input Rick.

    I guess what I'm interested in is building a system that is "future proof", or at least good enough system that can last 5-7 years without doing any major upgrading. With my current system I'm left with little to no options on how to increase the performance. Fully Buffered RAM is killing me, I still have the OEM HD that came with the Dell, I believe 160 16MB cache, recent HDTune test resulted in 58MB/s average bandwidth. Pathetic I know.

    Might go with the VelociRaptor as boot drive and get a 500GB's/32MB HD for some scratch room for Photoshop.

    -Alen
  5. Rather than a server board you should be looking at a high end workstation board, they are designed for the type of application you want.
  6. If maximum memory is your main issue, why not upgrade it to 16 GB or even 32 GB? Same with the hard disks. A few 15K SAS drives would significantly improve disk performance. What OS are you using? Building a high-end workstation is somewhat expensive.
  7. GhislainG said:
    If maximum memory is your main issue, why not upgrade it to 16 GB or even 32 GB? Same with the hard disks. A few 15K SAS drives would significantly improve disk performance. What OS are you using? Building a high-end workstation is somewhat expensive.


    Here is a list of what I have just to give you a better idea.

    Dell Precision Workstation 690
    2 x Intel Xeon's 5150 at 2.66GHz (Woodcrest)
    10GB's FB-RAM 240-Pin DDR2 (For best performance Dell recommends populating all slots with same memory) I only have, 2 x 4GB and 2 x 1GB, so i know my system is not performing to the fullest there...
    OEM - 160GB 16MB cache drive, no RAID
    Vista Business 64bit

    My system can handle 64GB's of memory with optional memory riser, without it, 32 GB's max.

    -Alen
  8. I doubt that faster CPUs would help a lot (it's easy to check if your CPUs are too busy or not). Since your hard disk is so small and relatively slow, why not go ahead and follow your own recommendation to buy a couple 300 GB Velociraptor drives? Unlike memory, new drives could be used in a new system. VelociRaptor drives should make a big difference when loading or writing large files.

    Before buying more memory, you have to determine how much you need. I would presume that 4 GB plus the largest file should probably be enough. Adobe and other software vendors can certainly make appropriate recommendations.
  9. GhislainG said:
    I doubt that faster CPUs would help a lot (it's easy to check if your CPUs are too busy or not). Since your hard disk is so small and relatively slow, why not go ahead and follow your own recommendation to buy a couple 300 GB Velociraptor drives? Unlike memory, new drives could be used in a new system. VelociRaptor drives should make a big difference when loading or writing large files.

    Before buying more memory, you have to determine how much you need. I would presume that 4 GB plus the largest file should probably be enough. Adobe and other software vendors can certainly make appropriate recommendations.


    Yes, I went ahead and got some new faster drives VelociRaptor from new egg today, I'm hoping to improve the performance and if I need to move to new build, I can reuse the drive. I also got some memory to be able to use the quad channel support.

    As for the CPU I'm maxed out on that, my mobo doesn't support anything faster (according to Dell), well the next step up would be 3.0Ghz but i doubt it would make significant difference.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed.

    -Alen
  10. Well i think that it is a bit l;ate but if you wanted future proof.

    This mobo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131374
    CPU's two of these
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117213
    Some memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226066

    If you really want to go nuts
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133252

    plus your hard drives and possibly some ssd drives and you set for multiple years
  11. that would be very nice build
  12. alenabdula said:
    that would be very nice build
    Unfortunately the W3520 is incompatible with that motherboard. That's the motherboard that I also suggested and it requires 5500 series Xeon processors (Nehalem).

    Intel Xeon E5520 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117185
    Intel Xeon X5560 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117181 (very powerful)
    Or get two Xeon W5580 ($1,600 each).

    Good info about the Nehalem: http://techreport.com/articles.x/16656

    If I were you, I would also double-check the suggested memory to make sure that it's compatible if you fill all 12 slots. If you're going to spend that much money, you probably should stick to modules on the QVL. You have to buy 4 GB modules to max it out to 48 GB (or 8 GB registered modules if you need more memory).
  13. GhislainG said:
    Unfortunately the W3520 is incompatible with that motherboard. That's the motherboard that I also suggested and it requires 5500 series Xeon processors (Nehalem).

    Intel Xeon E5520 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117185
    Intel Xeon X5560 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117181 (very powerful)
    Or get two Xeon W5580 ($1,600 each).

    Good info about the Nehalem: http://techreport.com/articles.x/16656

    If I were you, I would also double-check the suggested memory to make sure that it's compatible if you fill all 12 slots. If you're going to spend that much money, you probably should stick to modules on the QVL. You have to buy 4 GB modules to max it out to 48 GB (or 8 GB registered modules if you need more memory).


    Great read about the Nehalem.

    I've had Kingston memory before and it has failed on me many times, since I've been using Super Talent Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609453

    My system has 8 slots each can take up to 4Gb's of Fully Buffered Memory for total of 32GB's. Dell also offers memory risers which basically adds 8 more slots for total of 64GB's.

    -Alen
  14. Before getting additional memory, you should do some research to make sure that it will significantly improve performance.
  15. and if you want hd's that aren't going to slow you down much think about ssd's
  16. kg4icg said:
    and if you want hd's that aren't going to slow you down much think about ssd's


    They are still kinda of pricey. What would be the real word performance benefit that relates to my work. As I mentioned before, my HD bench marked at 58MB/s and still my system does the job i need it to do. I just want it to do it little bit faster.

    It takes me about 7/8 hour to complete the editing after the wedding. I want to shave some time off and bring my editing time to 5/6hrs...

    And I think better HD outta do it.

    My original thought about what to get was the dilemma between spending money on the old system or investing into never more versatile one.

    -Alen
  17. I think you're right to consider upgrades to your existing system--especially those that can be reused if you decide on a new build later. Both disk and GPU come to mind:

    - Adobe CS-4 can use the GPU to accelerate some functions; you might investigate whether that can beneficit your type of work.

    - Disk vs. SSD... I assume the 2x RAID-0 Velociraptors (600GB total) would be for temporary/work-in-progress data only? You might get by with a smaller SSD at an equivalent price. That said, I'd question whether an SSD would get you much (if anything); e.g., see:
    http://download.intel.com/design/flash/nand/extreme/Photoshop_CS4_Performance_Comparison.pdf
    While that's not remotely comparable to what you're considering, the performance improvement using SSDs was much less than I'd expect and of dubious benefit, especially given their added cost.

    You also might consider a server (dual-socket mobo) as you originally suggested, except:

    - A PCI-E x16 slot to allow for a GPU. Even if it doesn't benefit you greatly today, I expect Asobe will be making more use of GPU capabilities as time goes on.

    - At least 12 memory slots (6 for each CPU socket)...

    Then populate only one of the CPU sockets and associated memory slots. A single E5520 should give you a significant boost vs. the 2x 5150 you have now (if you can afford the E5530, by all means, but it carries a hefty premium). Also, 4GB DDR3 is still a bit rare and carries a premium, thus more memory slots is better if you're stuck using 2GB sticks (at least for the time being).

    Obviously there's a premium for having that potential and not using it immediately (I'd guess ~$300-400), but it might provide an incremental upgrade path that doesn't break the bank today.


    NOTE: Obviously, don't forget you're going to need a case that can accept SSI/EEB or EATX for most mobo's that fit the description above.
  18. jrst said:
    I assume the 2x RAID-0 Velociraptors (600GB total) would be for temporary/work-in-progress data only?


    NOTE: Obviously, don't forget you're going to need a case that can accept SSI/EEB or EATX for most mobo's that fit the description above.


    Yes, for now.

    Can you suggest good SSI/EEB case?

    -Alen
  19. I'd be very careful putting anything other than temporary/work-in-progress on a RAID-0 array, unless you have a good backup system.

    As far as a case, sorry but I haven't shopped for a big case for quite a while (still using a couple ancient Chenbro/Intel server cases :). If I was buying today, it would probably be a Lian-li (e.g, PC-A77) or Supermicro, but that's because I want lots of externally accessible drive bays/racks; unless you're building a file server, there are probably better choices.
  20. 2 x Intel Xeon's 5150 at 2.66GHz (Woodcrest)

    SkullTrail.
  21. It buys the OP nothing since his Dell Precision 690 Workstation already has those processors and it probably is more stable than the SkullTrail.
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