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I5 Server Advice Needed

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October 16, 2010 5:59:38 PM

Hi
I have already posted in servers but think i got the wrong forum. I would like to build a basic home server. I am considering using a Gigabyte GA-Q57M-S2H motherboard and a Core i5 6xx for the main components. I chose these components because i would like to have AMT functionality as this is a server that will not have a kb/mouse or screen attached. I think the i5-650 should work fine but for a little more £ i can get a i5-655k with unlocked multiplier (for some oc'ing.) Has anyone gone down a similar route/ can anyone spot any problems with this plan? thank you for your help.
/Mark

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a c 131 à CPUs
October 16, 2010 6:51:17 PM

I'm not familiar with AMT but a quick search informs me that the core 2 processors also support this.

The main question here is what will the server be used for? More than likely, you don't need to spend the money you are looking to spend on it because you probably don't need the power.

All I know is I use my home server as a center for all computer to connect to download from the internet. It also serves as a file storage and place where we can all access the files on the server. It also occasionally serves as a COD4 server. This is not very intensive at all. I'm running a Pentium 4 2.2GHz with 384MB of ram and running windows XP. Those specs are even higher than requirements. My friend's home server is a pentium III system. The only issue he has is it isn't powerful enough to run a minecraft server.
After my initial setup using a keyboard, mouse and monitor, I set up the bios to turn the computer on at 2pm every day (in case of power failure so it will boot back up). Now I connect to it using window remote desktop. I have another computer I am considering replacing this one with that has the option of "turn back on if power failure" in the bios.
The only issue I have with my server is power consumption for our bill. I have two laptops potentially headed my way and intend to use one to replace the server. The server draws 80W while the laptop would draw only 20W.

So unless there is something more intensive, I recommend a cheap core 2 duo setup and instead of overclocking, undervolting.
October 16, 2010 7:18:49 PM

These components will be replacing my aging Athlon X2 (which doesnt have AMD-V) as i want to run citrix xenserver (-something very cool and free to check out if you havent heard of it.) On top of this platform will be running a variety of virtual machines. This upgrade is not so costly overall as I already have a case/psu/raid card so i only need the mobo/cpu/ram. I am 99.99% sure the i5-650 and this motherboard will support AMT but i am not sure about the i5-655k because even though it is based on the 650 i think it has certain features like TXT and VT-d turned off.
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a c 131 à CPUs
October 16, 2010 9:19:18 PM

xenserver sounds pretty cool from what I read so far.

So yeah, keep in mind also that most people have a rule of "1 VM per core"

I guess I can't say 100% that the 655k would have AMT but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't. I've never heard of them removing features. To my knowledge, the only difference is the unlocked multiplier.

So from what I understand of your uses, I like the new setup, provided you don't use more than 3 virtual machines at the same time. I'd think a large amount of ram should be in order, at least 8GB but it depends on what you are virtualizing.
October 16, 2010 9:44:44 PM

Yeah i am planning on starting off with 8GB. Mostly this box will be a file server but as I work in It support having a virtual environment is handy for testing/experimenting. I could get a cheap HP Proliant with an iLO but i want to build something. I think i will probably go for the 650 anyway as this machine has to be stable. overclocking and stability don't really fit the same category of machine.
a c 131 à CPUs
October 19, 2010 12:13:16 AM

If "starting" with 8GB and plan to upgrade, get 2x4GB sticks if you can, leaving 2 slots open.

Most stability testing programs overclockers use can get the machine extremely stable, but still not as stable as with whatever AMD and intel use to test. Most people experience no issues ever after a proper overclock but in critical applications, I would never recommend overclocking. The same reason why most businesses use ECC ram in their servers. ECC checks for errors, unlike desktop memory. The chances of an error are extremely small though.
October 19, 2010 12:26:59 AM

After digging a bit more i think i have found the reason to go 650 rather than 655k:

655k loses VT-d and Trusted Execution. (this wasnt clear in the wikipedia article i checked) I think both of these features help with Virtualisation so better to have these than slightly more Mhz considering the machine is for xen.

However do you know if there is any point going for a K0 stepping over a C2 stepping? K0 was just released a few days ago but it will be impossible to tell when purchasing online what stepping i will receive. What do you think? should i just pull the trigger on this purchase and stop being fussy?
a c 131 à CPUs
October 19, 2010 1:39:01 AM

Advantages of stepping: minor changes that result in errors that were in the CPU no longer being present, possibly less power consumption by a very very minor amount and possibly some better overclocking potential.

Any of this noticable to the customer? No. These errors or "errata" are in every processor and are minor little things that no normal day or even critical server use would notice. The only two cases where I have heard of issues with regards to them being a problem, is where they are called bugs. The original phenom (9x00 series. fixed in the 9x50 series) TLB bug, and a bug in one of the higher clocked pentium IIIs.

So basically, I see no point in waiting. Although, A different letter does make it sound like they make more changes than normal. Regardless, waiting for the next stepping is for the really picky people only. I don't recommend it.

I'd like to correct an earlier mistake I made:
So from what I understand of your uses, I like the new setup, provided you don't use more than 3 virtual machines at the same time. I'd think a large amount of ram should be in order, at least 8GB but it depends on what you are virtualizing.
I meant one VM at a time. Since the i5 650 is a 2 core. I confused it with the 750.
October 19, 2010 5:16:00 AM

enzo matrix said:
So unless there is something more intensive, I recommend a cheap core 2 duo setup and instead of overclocking, undervolting.


Except i5s seem to have very low idle consumption, and a home server will spend most of its time idle.
October 19, 2010 10:16:37 AM

For me it is not good to overclock a core i5 and use it as a server. I have done this - 8Gb RAM is minimum. VM is one thing, you should also consider RAID 5 or 10. And pretty decent case to cool the server.
October 19, 2010 5:35:22 PM

All very good points. Personally i prefer double redundancy with RAID 6 or atleast a hot-spare and automatic rebuild. I have seen a few controllers out there but that will have to wait a few months and a few more pay cheques ;-) I like the Highpoint RocketRAID 3530 LF. Intel based 12 port SATA/SAS RAID6 and my favourite -outside ethernet access to monitor RAID health. Good/Bad?
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