Built server

Hey all,

Looking to spend about 2.5 to 3 grand ( more if you convince me why ) on new virtual hosting "server(s)" for development and systems prototyping purposes. I'm ok with the case, PSU, and drives, but I'm having a little bit of trouble deciding whether to go with multiple i7 systems, or a single system with two quad core Xeon e5520s. What's going to give the biggest bang for the buck?

Going with i7s would allow me to do some pretty serious overclocking, but I would end up losing out on per box thread count and I can't shake the feeling that I'd lose out on something else too - not sure what though. I don't think I'd need a super powerful PSU either as I won't be running any GPUs or disks in the second, third, fourth, etc. i7 boxes. Just CPU, RAM, MOBO, and (maybe) water pumps. The aim is to use iscsi hosted on one box and a SAN network.

If I use dual e5520s, I'll get the highest thread count per system, but it'd end up being stuck at that performance without buying new CPUs.

I guess what it's coming down to might be ( ( <$> / ( <# of threads> ) ) / ( <CPU speed> ) )

Thoughts, suggestions?

Anyone know if there are some performance charts around here for overclocked i7s and e5520s?
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  1. Not /particularly/ helpful, but thanks for showing enough interest to reply...

    Since I started this thread, I've found an Intel based white box with a single xeon 5520 on a dual board chip, 6 bay hot-swap cage with 4x1TB 7200.12 Seagate SATAs, and 2x 80GB Seagates, dual 600W redundant power supplies , and Remote Management card. The only hickup is the 4 port raid card will only cover the 4 terrabyte drives - the OS units will be on software raid. *shrug* - such is life on a budget.

    So... 3100 can get you 8 threads (4 real, 4 hyperthreaded) @ 2.26ghz, 6GB DDR1333 RAM, hardware RAID card for 3 TB of RAID 5 storage, redundant 600W power supplies, Remote Management card, (software) raid 1 for the OS / startup drives - and a not-so-pretty case to put it all in. You might be able to talk sweet to your vendor and get a discount.

    ~550 == second 5520 processor.
    ~350 == 6GB more DDR1333

    It should be in by the end of next week. I'll be putting ESXi 4 on it.

    As stated initially, the intent for this machine is as a starter virtualization box with potential to both be upgradeable and act as a standalone data storage server should things go that way. It's not a workstation, so forget the comments about video cards, etc. - that wasn't the intent. Please also don't start with the "You could have got a Smell computer for 500 bux". The other unit I was considering is the i7 920 with 12 GB of ram. In the future, I may just put it to use, but as the Intel had the raid card and lights-out remote management, it was a more practical starter box and therefore won out.

    If anyone's interested in further details or an exact spec sheet, let me know.

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