I am going to build 3 servers for my company, and I would also like to build a web server in the hopes of bringing our site administration all in house.
I know I can get Athlon MP processors pretty cheap, and they seem powerful enough for what we need. My question is, upon pricing processors, I came across some P3 and P4 Xeon Class processors. These ranged anywhere from $300 to over $4000! Can anyone explain what makes a Xeon so special, and therefore so expensive? What would you need one for?
My ultimate question is will the Athlon MP processor be fine for most applications? I feel certain a file server or application server would work extremely well with this processor. For a "heavy-duty" Web Server, does it warrant spending the money on a Xeon class? What are the benefits?
Finally, all things considered, what is the best processor to use for a solid server, without using a Xeon class? Are my questions dependant on the OS and applications being used, or is there a "general" all-purpose processor that will work just fine, and be a total workhorse, without using the ultra-expensive Xeons?
I have to write a proposal for these servers, and since some of the management is technically informed, I need to be able to rationalize why a Xeon class processor is not necessarily required, and give the pros/cons, etc.
Xeons are basically exactly the same as their respective P3 or P4, but with more cache. Athlon MPs aren't even that different. Athlon MPs would work fine in a webserver, especially since the rest of the platform tends to be more important.
I'd recommend you read Intel and AMD's whitepapers on their processors and learn all about them for yourself. You can even print them out for your proposal if you want. It'll be sure to impress whoever you're speaking to.
Well, that answers my primary questions. I have read all about these processors, and I *still* do not see why you would spend $3000+ for a processor.
All my research indicates the Athlon MPs will work extremely well. I build workstations and gaming/home systems all the time, and use Athon TBird 1.4s almost exclusively, and Northwood P4s if they insist on having Intel.
This will be my first attempt at building a Web server, as I have also built several File/App servers using dual P3s. The Athlon MP seems like a solid choice for performance/price.
If anyone has info on, or is partial to, certain other specs like Mainboard, HDD, etc., to use for a Web Server, feel free to post here.
Yes, exactly what I suspect, but I try not to be biased.
As I said, I build systems for work, as well as on the side for people, and I am a true "bang for your buck" guy. I will sometimes use Athlon XP 1800s +, if they are willing to pay a bit more. Still, Tbird 1.4s are easy to OC and cool, and for the price, are hard to beat. If someone insists on Intel, I simply use the most current (and therefore usually most expensive) one available.
I also feel you simply pay for Intels advertising, as direct experience building MANY machines has proven they aren't worth the extra money.
Still, I would be highly interested to hear from anyone who has used a $3000+ Xeon Class processor before, and what they used it for. That much money for extra cache seems insane to me. Indeed, you will gain cache, but you will have NO cash left, heh.
Try looking at it this way...
Intel has been a trusted name for many years now, and they've been recommended time and time again. Intel has a reputation for providing a solid processor for any task, therefore, theoretically speaking, that would almost justify the price of the purchase on it's own.
To back that up, you also have to look at the lack of experience in the high-end server department from AMD. The Athlon MP's are considered by many to be AMD's first true workstation/server-based CPU, and although I'm sure they've done their homework, for many corporates out there that's just not enough. Intel is tried and true. Trying to convince a company that has been using Intel for however long they've been using it, then asking them to move to a different platform to save money will probably appeal to them, but if for some reason they have problems with the Athlon servers, think of who it's going to come back to. If you ask me, you should recommend Intel as the top choice, but also throw the money-saving factor by going with AMD. Your job would probably be more secure that way.
Intel has a good rep. Don't get me wrong, so does AMD. But Intel has had it far longer than their competitor.
For servers, if I had the budget to get Xeons, I wouldn't even consider Athlon. But for a PC I'm all AMD :-D