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1 Vs 2 CPU's in a Server

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December 13, 2010 3:15:33 PM

I am configuring a new file server for my office and i am wondering if 1 or 2 CPU's would be better? The processors in question are 2 Intel Xeon E5640 2.66Mhz, 12M Cache, Turbo, HT 1066Mhz Max Mem, or 1 Intel Xeon X5680 3.33Ghz, 12M Cache, Turbo, HT 1333Mhz Max Mem. Thanks

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December 13, 2010 3:35:36 PM

"It all depends." Don't you love that answer? :-)

If you are hosting virtual environments, databases, process intensive appliations, etc... then you would be better off with more cores (dual processor). If doing light work (file server like you had said) then stick with a single CPU.

The E5640 is no slouch... My recommendation would be to go with a single CPU for now and monitor your resource consumption. If your CPU utilization is high, then pick up the second CPU and go from there.
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December 13, 2010 3:42:12 PM

I would go with the E5640, many cores will help in keeping the workload flowing.

Also in the event of a cpu failure, you can still keep going, have you checked if server has redundant psu's, disaster recovery and backup solution, these can be overlooked.

How you setting up the drives, o/s on Raid-1 and data on a single or dual raid-5?
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December 13, 2010 3:50:00 PM

Ok thank you. It is an engineering company and more than anything we use our server simply to store all of our data, drawings, 3D models, HMI software etc. It sounds like for our uses the single cpu is the way to go. We do have redundant psu's and a backup solution. Thanks
December 13, 2010 4:06:08 PM

How many users will be accessing the server? This is something that we haven't really taken into account. It would take a lot of traffic to bog down an E5640, but the question is still valid IMO.

But unless you're having several thousand users access this server I think you'll be ok. More importantly, are you running gigabit to this server? What kind of drives and RAID array(s)?
December 13, 2010 4:31:56 PM

Let me give you the current configuration we have in mind, one with the single processor, and one with dual processors.

1. Intel Xeon X5680 3.33 Ghz 12M Cache, Turbo, Ht, 1333Mhz Max Mem
6GB Memory 1333Mhz Single Ranked UDimm for 1 Processor (Is it worth it to upgrade to 12Gb of ram?)
PERC H700 Integrated Raid Controller 512Mb Cache
RAID 1 for SAS 6/iR, PERC6/i, H200, or H700 Cntrl (Non-Mixed Drives)
2 X 600Gb 15k RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 6Gbps 3.5in Hotplug Hard Drive (Would it be worth it to get another drive and go to Raid 2, 3, 4, or 5?)
Embedded Broadcom, GB Ethernet NICS with TOE

2. 2 X Intel Xeon E5640 2.66Ghz, 12M Cache, Turbo, HT, 1066Mhz Max Mem
12Gb Memory 1333Mhz Single Ranked UDimm for 2 Processor
PERC H700 Integrated Raid Controller 512Mb Cache
RAID 1 for SAS 6/iR, PERC6/i, H200, or H700 Cntrl (Non-Mixed Drives)
2 X 600Gb 15k RPM Serial-Attach SCSI 6Gbps 3.5in Hotplug Hard Drive (Would it be worth it to get another drive and go to Raid 2, 3, 4, or 5?)
Embedded Broadcom, GB Ethernet NICS with TOE

Realistically the most users we would probably ever have on the server at a time would be 15, maybe 20. It's a small network and both of these configurations are probably overkill but we want to get something that will last a few years. I am very new to server setups as i am sure you can tell so any advice or help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

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a b à CPUs
December 13, 2010 4:42:01 PM
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That is a light workload and both could be considered overkill as you mentioned. Planning ahead, just make sure you have upgrade options down the road. You never know when it will be decided that this server will add a new role and need more memory / CPU to fulfill it.

Is it worth it to upgrade to 12Gb of ram? => Not in my opinion. 6GB for now and upgrade later if memory utilization dictates.

Would it be worth it to get another drive and go to Raid 2, 3, 4, or 5? => If you need the storage then yes. Read rates will also increase when upping the RAID level (in most cases).
December 20, 2010 1:16:57 PM

Best answer selected by twlawrence.
December 20, 2010 6:10:07 PM

sadams04 said:
That is a light workload and both could be considered overkill as you mentioned. Planning ahead, just make sure you have upgrade options down the road. You never know when it will be decided that this server will add a new role and need more memory / CPU to fulfill it.

Is it worth it to upgrade to 12Gb of ram? => Not in my opinion. 6GB for now and upgrade later if memory utilization dictates.

Would it be worth it to get another drive and go to Raid 2, 3, 4, or 5? => If you need the storage then yes. Read rates will also increase when upping the RAID level (in most cases).


Actually RAID arrays become more complex and cumbersome with higher levels of RAID. RAID 0 is the absolute fastest RAID available, at the expense of data backup capability. RAID 1 does not affect performance as it is simple mirroring across two separate drives. RAID 5 is striping with parity bits. RAID 5 uses some write time to compute parity bits so it is much slower than RAID 0 or 1, but has extensive recovery capability. RAID 6 has double parity, making write times even more slow, but increasing recoverability that much more.
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