I'm trying to decide if I get an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T or an Intel Core i7 950 CPU.
It's not for gaming or encoding, just for virtualization using VMWare, VirtualBox, KVM, XEN, ESXi, etc...
With the 1100T I have 6 real cores and can go to 16GB RAM, and with the 950 4-cores (8 hyper-threading) and can go to 24GB RAM. Actually, I know both can use motherboards that support 8GB sticks, but I will use only 4GB sticks.
I will use all the virtualization technology described above, but the main usage will be Windows 7 - VMWare workstation with Windows Server 2008 and Linux guests, probably 4 or 5 guests at the same time, rarely more than that.
I don't care about FPS and encoding benchmarks, I just want the system to handle all the load without slowing down. Summarizing, I don't know if I get 950 quad-core (8 HT) 24GB RAM or 1100T hexa-core 16GB RAM.
Is this a platform for supporting 4-5 guest servers or more for a production environment. I am experimenting with VMWare and various Linux distributions and have run as many as 6 guests at once on my dual-core laptop with 6GB of memory on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. If you are using this for any kind of real work the type of disk system can have a big effect on how it works. Both of those processors and that amount of RAM should support the 4-5 guests unless you are working them hard.
RAM will be your biggest issue when entering into the VM world. I would go with the i7 since it provides the highest amount of potential RAM. If you will never buy more than 16GB of ram, go with the cheapest solution.
Depending on what the budget is and as it is for home lab and not a production, you might want to try and source a used Server that supports hyper-v. Like a Dell Poweredge 2900 or a 2950 III (rack mount only). I turned an old PE 2950III (single E5420 quad with 32GB ram) into a Hyper-V host and it has 7 guests on it. 1 Win7 64bit Pro, and 6 Server 2008 R2 (with 1 running a large SQL server). It doesn't get pounded hard, but they all run fine. The later ones supported SAS drives, so mine has two 147GB SAS in a Raid 1 mirror, and four 450GB SAS in a Raid 5.
Looks like Ebay has a number of these. Saw one listed for 1000.00 for 2 quad CPU's and 16GB Ram, dual power supplies but no drives. But it would take SATA or SAS, so you could put some SATA drives in a RAID.
Just my .02
If you're looking to invest for a few years then make sure which ever option you buy supports not just VT but also VT-d. My e8400 supports VT, however at a former employer the Dell systems locked this out in BIOS despite using the same CPU.
TBH go for the FX 8150 ^-. Eight cores.. bla bla. This is my opinion
It's marketing hype. It's really 4 cores, 8 threads. Even cpu-z reads the 8150 as a quad core with hyperthreading. Windows 7 and older software doesn't know how to use BD's architecture, that's why the bench's are so bad, it doesn't know how to place the threads. This is fact and Win8 should add at least 20% to the benchmarks.