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Buying Retail

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November 5, 2009 5:21:13 AM

When I saw core 2 quad systems with 8Gb for between 5 and 6 hundred dollars, I decided it was time to set up the virtual server I need for training/testing/emulation. Of course after shopping around that $500 budget system is now a $1,000 i7-920. So this server is for personal use, but I'll be doing thing like running virtual routers emulating an Enterprise WAN for CISCO/Juniper training; or Windows Server 2008, MS SQL Server, 2 MS Exchange, Communication, Sharepoint and virtual desktop. (Yes, I have the licenses.)

Am I crazy to spend $895 delivered for a:

HP Pavilion Elite e9280t PC
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-920 processor [2.66GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache]
9GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [5 DIMMs] - I thought there was only 4 slots in these. Does that mean there are 8 total?
640GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
1GB ATI Radeon HD 4650 [DVI, HDMI, VGA]
LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
Integrated 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet, No wireless LAN
15-in-1 memory card reader, 1 USB, 1394, audio
Integrated 7.1 channel sound with front audio ports

Is this the LGA1066 platform that's been haveing problems?

More about : buying retail

November 5, 2009 5:59:42 AM

PS. I don't have a problem with building a server, but I figure just the cpu, mobo and RAM alone will run $900.
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November 5, 2009 12:39:57 PM

It's LGA1366

There are 6 slots in a typical X58/LGA1366 motherboard, try to get matched RAM (3x2GB 6x2 3x4 etc.)

You could go for a much much cheaper graphics card since you're not gaming (unless you need lots of outputs).

The price doesn't look too bad at all, but it's probably worth pricing it up separately anyway.
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November 5, 2009 5:14:58 PM

Your options are limited when ordering HP packages. I already down graded the video, audio and harddrive (I'll depend on NAS) and tossed the TV tuner. Having Raid 1 for the OS would be nice, but there wasn't an option for it. If it's on the mobo when I get it I'll definately configure it, otherwise it will have to be a future upgrade.

Since I don't even need a graphics card for a server, I actually considered upgrading to the 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4850 to pull and sell, but at a $100 there's no room for profit.

As I said in my post script, I guesstimate just the CPU, MOBO and RAM will run me as much as what I'm paying for the HP. And I just recently had to dump my junk pile of cases, power supplies and everything else.

The only real question here is did HP manage to put in any bottlenecks or iffy components that it would make it worth building my own starting with a cheaper CPU?
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November 5, 2009 5:16:15 PM

Go self build option.... that way you know what components are going into your machine and also get to choose exactly what you want.
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November 5, 2009 9:34:57 PM

I don't think your crazy. Look at the cost of ram right now. Add the chip, the m/b, hd, video card, case and you get a warranty. You could not build it for that.
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Best solution

November 6, 2009 3:10:54 AM

Hrmm... Based on running virtualized systems you need to be sure and check if the hardware is properly supported. VMWare is picky. Hyper-V (Windows 2008) is not so picky.

Stay away from Broadcom network cards, go with Intel cards (cost more but virtualized networking support for VLANs etc is possible)

Dont be afraid to check out the servers either... You can get new Xeon 5500 dual socket systems for around that price too! Check out the Dell tower servers (T610). You can also check the refurb sites to save some cash and they will be covered.

Dell business support is great (there next day)... I hate their home support. You can negotiate a good chunk off the price of the servers too if you open an account and pay by check instead of credit card. You can ask your sales rep there to throw in gold support, they may throw it in for free.

Good luck!
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November 6, 2009 3:16:58 AM

A 4650 1GB is not very good (it can't even use anywhere close to 1GB of RAM).
Get a cheaper graphics card if you're not into gaming.
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November 7, 2009 6:19:51 PM

rbarone69 said:
Hrmm... Based on running virtualized systems you need to be sure and check if the hardware is properly supported. VMWare is picky. Hyper-V (Windows 2008) is not so picky.

Stay away from Broadcom network cards, go with Intel cards (cost more but virtualized networking support for VLANs etc is possible)

Dont be afraid to check out the servers either... You can get new Xeon 5500 dual socket systems for around that price too! Check out the Dell tower servers (T610). You can also check the refurb sites to save some cash and they will be covered.

Dell business support is great (there next day)... I hate their home support. You can negotiate a good chunk off the price of the servers too if you open an account and pay by check instead of credit card. You can ask your sales rep there to throw in gold support, they may throw it in for free.

Good luck!


I haven't been up on CPU performance since the 686 architecture. I was looking at the i7-920 because I thought it out performed any of the dual "server cpus" systems. Are you saying a dual Xeon 5500 will outpreform an i7?

This isn't going to be a 24/7 Server. My day to day computing needs are covered by my two laptops, an HP DV7 running Windows 7 and an old Toshiba Satelite running Ubuntu. This system is going to be whatever I need it to be at the time. Mostly that means an emulation of whatever I'm trying to get certfied in. MS datacenter, Cisco WAN, etc. But it could also serve as a Media Center or gaming machine. Not a serious gaming machine obviously or I'd be maxing out the A/V side.
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November 7, 2009 6:28:45 PM

Bluescreendeath said:
A 4650 1GB is not very good (it can't even use anywhere close to 1GB of RAM).
Get a cheaper graphics card if you're not into gaming.


If the 4650 isn't worh the space, anyone want to make me an offer for a 4850 pulled from the system when it arrives?, my only other choice is a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220.
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November 14, 2009 11:06:39 PM

Afrenci,

Sorry didnt respond sooner. The 5500's are the same arch as the i7. They allow for a dual processor setup (so total of 8 cores). What's nice is that you can always expand to another processor if you need more power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeon

Search for 5500 on the page

"Gainestown" based on same arch as i7 (Nehalem)
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November 16, 2009 12:58:49 AM

rbarone69 said:
Afrenci,

Sorry didnt respond sooner. The 5500's are the same arch as the i7. They allow for a dual processor setup (so total of 8 cores). What's nice is that you can always expand to another processor if you need more power.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeon

Search for 5500 on the page

"Gainestown" based on same arch as i7 (Nehalem)


Thanks rbarone69,

that's helpful information. As far as hardware goes, I've gone from "guru" to "has-been". I come to Tom's Hardware when I want to know how cpus stack up against each other, but there are so many architectures and benchmarks these days and no chart compares them all. It's gotten to be too much for me to keep up, time is too precious for me to spend the time reading the trades when it's not information I need every day. I feel like an interloper in these forums sometimes, but I count on people like you to spoon feed me the details I need.

BTW, does the 5500 share the same socket as well as the arch with the i7?
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