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Benefit of second CPU on IBM server

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September 27, 2011 8:40:54 PM

I was given two older IBM xSeries eServers (225 and 235) which both have Xeon 2.4 CPUs. I turned them into workstations, and I switched the OS to XP-Pro for driver and other compatibility reasons. I do basic PC stuff, plus film scanning and editing. I'm now only using the 235 (with IBM BIOS 1.14). I was thinking of putting the CPU and VRM from the 225 into the 235, but I don't want to mess with it unless I'll get a significant performance improvement. What's the verdict on such an the upgrade.

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a c 145 à CPUs
September 27, 2011 11:12:19 PM

Its like going upgrading to a multicore, performance increases but not quite doubles and is task dependant. CPU's must be of the same model xeon but can be different steppings, just be sure to put the lower stepping into the U9 socket and the higher one in the u13 or else the cpu mismatch will light up and you won't post.

ps - you'll need to reinstall XP if you didnt already know that. Dual processors would use a different Hal that what you loaded. You could try using uphal since you just installed xp. you really dont have anything to loose...
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309283/
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a b à CPUs
September 27, 2011 11:13:59 PM

If the 225 is collecting dust then go for it but you have to be more than sure that everything will go well. Both cpus must be of the same speed and would go further to say that the power vrm module is of the same spec as the one in the 235. If everything is the same give it a try. In muti threaded application there will be a boost but if the machine is idle most of the time or more than I doubt that it is worth your effort.
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September 28, 2011 1:08:03 AM

Thanks for these replies. The chips are identical, and therefore I assume that the VRMs are, too.

The support info on HAL was something I knew nothing about, and frankly, at first glance it's way above my head. On second glance, however, it says,

"On Windows XP and later versions, the ACPI Uniprocessor HAL and the MPS Uniprocessor HAL recognize the existence of more than one processor and report the MP ID. Plug and Play detects that the computer devnode's hardware ID list has changed and moves the devnode back through the "found new hardware" detection process. Therefore, when you add a second processor, the MP files (HAL and kernels) are automatically installed, and you do not have to manually update the driver in Device Manager."

Sysinfo32, under hardware resources, IRQ3 device is listed as "Microsoft ACPI-Compliant System." Is there another way to verify it?

Are you sure I'd have to reinstall XP? Am I missing something? It looks as if I choose the last listed HAL type. I don't understand the difference between UpdatUPHAL and UpdateHAL, but if the machine is ACPI going from uni to multi-processors, it looks as if the change is automatic.

As I said, I don't know how my applications would use the two processors. The most processor intensive stuff would probably be the Silverfast scanning software, plus whatever image editor editor I'm using on fairly large TIFF files. Other than that, I don't use a lot of power: some audio editing uses large files, perhaps, but it's because of the photo work that I'm thinking of adding the other Xeon, which is indeed collecting dust.

I've been using XP for a while on the 235, so I have a lot of programs installed, and it would be a bit of a bother to reinstall them (though the system probably would benefit from the maintenance). The 235 server has four smallish ultra-SCSI drives, and I can fairly easily have one remain for booting the current configuration if I have to go back. Or am I risking a total mess from which I won't be able to recover.
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a c 145 à CPUs
September 28, 2011 2:21:11 AM

just install the cpu and see if it detects the change then. If not, remove it and boot back up exactly like you were before . Two processors and photo editing play nice together though. I run an overclocked 6 core 1055T just because I do edit the pics and vids of my grandkids and photoshop really likes it. For gaming I could have gotten by with a dual core or a triple core.
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September 28, 2011 5:15:49 AM

I'll give it a shot, then. The HAL drivers are in my system32 subfolders. Please let me know if I'm wrong on the HAL option before I proceed. If the option comes up, I believe I should be choosing
"ACPI Multiprocessor PC," ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmacpi.dll)"
Right?
Apart from that, the boot should be automatic.
The scanner I just ordered is arriving on Thursday. For the sake of this discussion, I'll wait on installing the additional processor until I get a feeling for the performance with the single CPU, and then I'll do the upgrade and see what kind of difference there is. It might take a week or so. Please stay tuned.
Thanks again for your replies, and anyone else should please add whatever comments he or she thinks will be helpful.
PS. If this the upgrade doesn't go as expected, I'll be back with my questions!!
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a c 145 à CPUs
September 28, 2011 10:13:37 PM

"ACPI Multiprocessor PC," ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmacpi.dll)"
Right?

Right
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September 29, 2011 12:05:06 AM

Frankly I don't think it's worth it. Those are really old netburst era xeons. Their like pentium 4 CPUs on the desktop and two of those would be like a pentium D. Very slow compared to any modern CPU. I recommend buying a new computer. Even a cheap $300-400 modern desktop will be faster than these relics.
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September 29, 2011 4:16:08 AM

Well, you're certainly right because I wouldn't even be thinking about putting in the second processor if I weren't doubtful that the uniprocessor 235 would be up to the task. My kids have better computers, and they do nothing even remotely demanding on them. So I hear you. I keep telling myself I'm going to put together a mid-range Sandy Bridge. I will probably do it sooner rather than later if this initiative falls on its face. On the other hand, I have some old programs I'm attached to, and as we all know, upgrading systems is more than just a minor speed bump.
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October 9, 2011 2:13:30 AM

Just reporting back to thank you all. I have been doing some of the film editing and learning more about some of the many things I have to do to the scans. The 235 system is so slow on these tasks that I am giving up. It's about 8 years old. Still, I was just about ready to follow the advice of popatim on how to break things down, and I think I would have been able to do so, but then abdussamad added a voice to nforce4max and put things into another perspective. Thanks again for the help. Don't shoot me, but I'm going to build a i5-2500k system and run 32bit XP Pro on it.

Unnecessary Details Dept: I use an academic word processor (Notabene) that has migrated to Windows, and they are still in alpha testing of a version to run on 64bit systems. The current version runs on 32bit or runs awkwardly (I hear) in XP Mode under 64bit Professional. I even use a DOS version on which I've made bitmapped fonts for special phonetic characters I had to design for my research. So I give meaning to the term fuddy-duddy. Also, the film scanner tech guy I talked to said that on 64bit systems, you have to disable the current driver and reload the other driver to shift between the two versions of Silverfast they provide, whereas in 32bit systems you can just switch. He also said the scanner performs admirably with an SSD. I also have a few 16bit program that I still like, such as Ztree. UGH! Lots of folks say that most applications will be about the same on 32bit systems.

PS. I'll be back when I'm trying to configure the SSD.
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October 16, 2011 3:27:48 AM

Best answer selected by lunzhegu.
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October 17, 2011 9:10:35 AM

lunzhegu said:

Unnecessary Details Dept: I use an academic word processor (Notabene) that has migrated to Windows, and they are still in alpha testing of a version to run on 64bit systems. The current version runs on 32bit or runs awkwardly (I hear) in XP Mode under 64bit Professional. I even use a DOS version on which I've made bitmapped fonts for special phonetic characters I had to design for my research. So I give meaning to the term fuddy-duddy. Also, the film scanner tech guy I talked to said that on 64bit systems, you have to disable the current driver and reload the other driver to shift between the two versions of Silverfast they provide, whereas in 32bit systems you can just switch. He also said the scanner performs admirably with an SSD. I also have a few 16bit program that I still like, such as Ztree. UGH! Lots of folks say that most applications will be about the same on 32bit systems.

PS. I'll be back when I'm trying to configure the SSD.


You may want to look at a free virtualization solution called virtualbox. You can download it off virtualbox.org. It allows you to run other operating systems in a virtual machine. So you can have windows 7 64bit as your host operating system and run windows xp in a virtual machine as a guest operating system that you fire up when you need to run legacy applications.
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a b à CPUs
October 17, 2011 12:50:56 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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