Quiet home server - >8GB RAM = XEON = is it really QUIET?

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Bootay
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Quiet home server - >8GB RAM = XEON = is it really QUIET?

Post by Bootay » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:26 am

Can anyone recommend a good MB and CPU combo that will support 16GB of RAM for a reasonable price, and that's QUIET? I have a P182 system that's near silent today, this would sit next to it and should be very quiet as well...ideally in a P182 if I can.

More detail:
I need to build a home lab, which I will do with virtual machines on a single beefy (and quiet) box. I was hoping to get away with 8GB of RAM so I could use a standard desktop box (P182 with Q6600 and 4-6 hard drives), but I think my needs will require closer to 16GB of RAM. Digging around, you can't get a socket 775 mb that will support over 8GB (at least with more than 4DDR2 slots). So, socket 771 XEON MB's are recommended. While that does open up going to 32GB and having dual-quad core Xeon CPU's, which is great, aren't Xeon's HOT, and what coolers can I use to keep them quiet? And will those huge extended ATX MB's fit in a normal tower case like the P182?

Thanks!

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Post by MikeC » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:57 am

1) 8mb appears to be the limit for standard atx boards.
2) EATX boards will not fit in a p982... but the p190 will take it. big price difference -- and the p190 comes with 2 600W NeoHE PSUs (designed to be strapped for 1200w). It will not be as quiet as a p182.
3) an alternative to the xeons could be amd 2nd gen opterons (65w & 68w tdp available), not sure if there are any single cpu opteron boards that support 16gb, tho.
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austinbike
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Post by austinbike » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:35 pm

I am not aware of an Opteron 1000 board that will get you to 16GB, but there are some designs that utilize an Opteron 2000 processor. those use registered memory so they can go beyond the usual limits.

http://www.uniwide.com/product/server/p ... rview.html

accord1999
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Re: Quiet home server - >8GB RAM = XEON = is it really QU

Post by accord1999 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:42 pm

Bootay wrote:dual-quad core Xeon CPU's, which is great, aren't Xeon's HOT, and
No, the dual-core 5100 series Xeons are just like the C2Ds, so they all run cool. The quad-core 5300 series Xeons are warmer, but still not as hot as say a Pentium D or a 3GHz Opteron.
what coolers can I use to keep them quiet?
You might want to check the 2cpu forums for more help: http://forums.2cpu.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:38 pm

quiet is more important than speed, so I can scale down the lab a little and be good with this (+ some scythe fans I still have lying around):

http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/wis ... er=6393286

If anyone has the energy to spec out an AMD system, I'd love to see it!

vg30et
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Post by vg30et » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:50 pm

A single hdd with multiple virtual machines will be very slow. I'd suggest no more than 3-4 virtual machines on a single hdd, possibly just 1 per hdd if it's r/w intensive.
[size=75]P180B | Asus M4A785-M | BE-2350 @ 0.912V to 1.056V | Ninja | 4GB DDR2-800 | Morex 150W Brick | OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD| 1x Scythe SFF21D + 1x Nexus 120mm | 29W Idle, 60W Max
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smilingcrow
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Post by smilingcrow » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:18 am

MikeC wrote:3) an alternative to the xeons could be amd 2nd gen opterons (65w & 68w tdp available), not sure if there are any single cpu opteron boards that support 16gb, tho.
There are dual socket F ATX boards with 8 RAM slots although seemingly not for LGA775. (Added) There are ATX Intel boards with 6 RAM slots which is okay for 12GB but very expensive if you use 4GB modules.

A socket F (1207) Opteron board should also be easier to attach standard heatsinks to. I’m fairly sure that the mounting mechanism for Xeon LGA771 CPUs is different from anything else and not compatible with LGA775 coolers.

The current Opteron CPUs have a poor performance per watt compared to Xeons and with Barcelona being released next month I would consider buying a single low end Opteron now and upgrading to Barcelona soon. The talk is that the initial revisions of Barcelona may be underwhelming so I’d do a bit of research after their release before laying out cash for them.

Intel is releasing 45nm Xeon’s in November allegedly and the 3GHz quad core chips have a TDP of only 80W!
The current 65nm chips have a new stepping which drastically reduces idle power consumption.

Whichever platform you go for the RAM will cost you close to £800 for 16GB so it’s worth looking for a deal on that as you can get the motherboard and a couple of quad core chips for less.
My initial thought is that I’d prefer the Intel 45nm CPUs but the AMD platform is more suited to your needs; ATX, heatsink compatibility. The AMD quad core platform should also offer significantly lower idle power consumption due to the use of a native quad core design and in not using FB-DIMMs.

austinbike
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Post by austinbike » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:24 am

Yes, you should be able to upgrade a rev F to a barcelona, here's a video on how it is done:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SYvupXNmaKQ

From a power/thermal perspective, AMD uses DDR-2 memory, Intel uses FB DIMM.

DDR is ~4W per DIMM, FB DIMM is over 10W per DIMM. Ye-ouch!

Also, AMD is the same power/thermal as dual, Intel jumps up. Their quads are 25-50% higher in tdp as they go from dual to quad, AMD will be exactly the same.

To me, if you are looking for a quiet or a cool running server, it's hard to justify a xeon. Remember that Intel has an external memory controller, AMD's is built in. A 2P 16GB system (8 dimms) wouldlook like this:

Intel (2 80W procs)
Processors: 160W
Memory: 80W
Chipset: 45W
System (ps, fans, drives, etc.): ~200W
Total: 285W

AMD (2 95W procs)
Processors: 190W
Memory: 32W
Chipset: 15W (southbridge only)
Total: 237W

That is a savings of 50W. Plus, you will possibly need a more powerful power supply for the Xeon, pushing up cost, power and thermals.

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:57 am

vg30et wrote:A single hdd with multiple virtual machines will be very slow. I'd suggest no more than 3-4 virtual machines on a single hdd, possibly just 1 per hdd if it's r/w intensive.
That's why I had 4 drives in there...

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:01 am

austinbike wrote:That is a savings of 50W. Plus, you will possibly need a more powerful power supply for the Xeon, pushing up cost, power and thermals.
Okay okay :). So AMD for the server platform makes some sense today from a heat/cooling perspective (and therefore from a quiet perspective), in the near future maybe the 45nm Intel platform will come back. DDR2 RAM is also cheaper so I'm all about that.

Any chance there's an AMD server platform that will fit in the P182 case? Anyone have a MB/CPU/Heatsink combo to recommend?

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:03 am

Here's what I came up with:

Tyan S3970G2NR-RS Motherboard (with TARO slot for RAID expansion)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6813151057

Single dual-core 2212 HE Opteron (with 1 empty socket for easy expansion)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6819105035

8GB of RAM (leaving 4 empty DDR2 sockets for easy expansion)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6820134329

The question is (other than "do these parts suck"), what cooler can I use? Sounds like the 939/940 coolers fit the 1207 systems, so can I fit the Ultra-120 Extreme?

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Post by smilingcrow » Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:58 pm

austinbike wrote:To me, if you are looking for a quiet or a cool running server, it's hard to justify a xeon.
I know what you mean with regard to idle power consumption but if you are building a server that is heavily stressed and demands a lot of processing power it’s too early to say how Barcelona will compare to Penryn.
AMD are seemingly struggling to release Barcelona at decent clock speeds and Intel have low voltage Penryn quads at 2.67GHz 50W TDP due in Q1 next year so who knows how that will pan out.
AMD’s platform is the obvious choice for low power consumption but the CPUs are an unknown at this point in terms of IPC and clock speeds.
austinbike wrote:Also, AMD is the same power/thermal as dual, Intel jumps up. Their quads are 25-50% higher in tdp as they go from dual to quad, AMD will be exactly the same.
That is disingenuous in two ways:
Firstly, Intel’s quad cores have a lower TDP than AMD’s dual cores: 120 v 125W
Secondly, both Intel’s dual and quads are manufactured at 65nm whereas AMD’s duals are @ 90nm and their quads @ 65nm; so not exactly a meaningful comparison.

With regard to comparing TDPs you really need to look at the IPC of each chip to get a more meaningful picture. Barcelona seems to have a higher TDP than Penryn but until we can compare the IPCs we can’t make a call on the performance per watt.
The only things that seem certain to me are that FB-DIMMs are a power hog and that AMD’s native quad core design should offer low power draw at idle compared with Intel’s dual die approach.

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Post by smilingcrow » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:10 am

Bootay wrote:what cooler can I use? Sounds like the 939/940 coolers fit the 1207 systems, so can I fit the Ultra-120 Extreme?
I would check with the board manufacturer to determine what coolers work with their boards. Some use the stock bracket and some don’t and there seems to be a lot of variation in designs so there’s room here to get this wrong.

The ideal way to attach heatsinks in a dual CPU system is with the heatsink being directly attached to the chassis; well the backplate attaches to the chassis and the heatsink to the backplate. This is more important if you are using two heavyweight coolers as silent PC users often go for due to the combined weight potentially putting undue stress on the motherboard.
There are a number of different standards for this mounting mechanism (CEB, EEB) but it’s not usually seen in ATX size cases I imagine!

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Post by smilingcrow » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:06 am

Bootay wrote:Here's what I came up with:
Tyan S3970G2NR-RS Motherboard (with TARO slot for RAID expansion)
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.a ... 6813151057
The question is (other than "do these parts suck")
It has only 4 SATA ports and no PCIe slots at all which might be an issue!
This Tyan boad might make more sense in terms of features.

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:27 am

smilingcrow wrote:It has only 4 SATA ports and no PCIe slots at all which might be an issue!
This Tyan boad might make more sense in terms of features.
Good points! 6 SATA ports is great - can't decide if 4 or 5 drives is right (OS/Paging/VM Source images and other software on RAID-1, active VMs on RAID-5). PCIe vs. TARO, I guess PCIe is much more flexible so that's a net gain.

Cooling this is an issue...two cpu's in-line, guess I can blow air up the case where the P182 has a fan sucking it up and out. Low-weight heat sinks sound like a necessity, as I really don't want a big server case lying around today (I'm tearing down my house and rebuilding in a year or so, maybe then).

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Post by smilingcrow » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:43 am

Bootay wrote:Good points! 6 SATA ports is great - can't decide if 4 or 5 drives is right (OS/Paging/VM Source images and other software on RAID-1, active VMs on RAID-5). PCIe vs. TARO, I guess PCIe is much more flexible so that's a net gain.
I’m not convinced that RAID-5 is the best way to go if performance is an issue. I would also consider splitting your VMs across multiple drives with the VMs with the greatest disk I/O not sharing a disk with each other and the other lower disk I/O VMs sharing disc space with them. You could keep the RAID-1 for the O/S etc as you suggested and also backup the active VMs to the RAID as well on a daily basis. It really depends on how disk intensive your usage will be and what RAID-5 controller you use.
Bootay wrote:Cooling this is an issue...two cpu's in-line, guess I can blow air up the case where the P182 has a fan sucking it up and out. Low-weight heat sinks sound like a necessity, as I really don't want a big server case lying around today (I'm tearing down my house and rebuilding in a year or so, maybe then).
You could duct the CPU nearest the I/O panel to the rear of the case and the other CPU to the top of the case. That would alleviate to some degree your usage of lower weight heatsinks.
If your CPU requirements aren’t that vast then a single Barcelona may well be enough and the heat output will be much easier to handle than running two 90nm dual cores.

Bootay
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Post by Bootay » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:32 am

You're right on that CPU point, and I'm not in a huge rush...a quad core is why I started down the 775 path (for the Q6600), but the RAM support killed me. If I can find a MB that will support 8 DDR2 slots and a single Q6600 or single Barcelona 1.8ghz chip (since those are roughly the same price and both look to be reasonable on power/heat), I'll be happy.

I'm a LOT less concerned with disk IO and CPU than RAM, as I won't actively hit these machines a lot (it's a lab, I just need to play with setup and features, not introduce load). However, they need to startup and shutdown fairly fast and I need to be able to spin up a new raw server from a library of base OS's fairly fast, and installing apps on the VM's should be fast as well... a RAID-1 with 3 individual drives has some benefits for sure, or just a single RAID-0...I doubt the RAID-1 will have enough space left on it to backup all of the VM's, but I'll have to ponder this a bit :).

Thanks once more!

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Post by austinbike » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:21 pm

Actually, Intel has 3 TDPs, 50, 80 and 120, AMD will have 68, 95 and 120.

Intel will have FB DIMM memory and when you look at ACTUAL power consumption, it will always be higher, band to band, for Intel. If you compare a 120W AMD with a 50W Intel, yes, Intel will be lower, but you have to compare the bands.

As for Penryn, the TDP bands are the same as Clovertown, so don't expect a major difference.

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Post by smilingcrow » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:57 am

austinbike wrote:Intel will have FB DIMM memory and when you look at ACTUAL power consumption, it will always be higher, band to band, for Intel. If you compare a 120W AMD with a 50W Intel, yes, Intel will be lower, but you have to compare the bands.
I agree about the FB-DIMMs, they are a serious drawback.

I’m not sure why you state that you need to compare the bands! If I was building a quiet dual processor system I would be looking at the IPC of the CPUs and their TDP very closely. With 2 CPUs located quite close together the TDP becomes more critical I imagine. If the 2.67GHz 50W Xeon could only be matched performance wise by a 95W AMD Barcelona then this is the comparison I would be making. In reality I hope and expect that the highest speed 68W Barcelona will be a match which narrows the gap. Until they are released we just don’t know.

Even if Intel manages to win on the CPU front cooling a large pool of FB-DIMMs will offer its own headache when aiming for silence I imagine.
austinbike wrote:As for Penryn, the TDP bands are the same as Clovertown, so don't expect a major difference.
The difference is very noticeable if you look at the IPC per TDP watt:

Clovertown
80W @ 2.33GHz
50W @ 2GHz

Penryn - roughly 10% higher IPC
80W @ 3GHz
50W @ 2.67GHz

This equates to TDP per IPC (50W/80W) of:

Clovertown – 25.0/34.3
Penryn - 17.0/24.2

So the standard voltage Penryn has a slightly better IPC/Watt than the LV Clovertown and the LV Penryn has twice the IPC/Watt of the standard voltage Clovertown.
I chose the 50W and 80W TDPs as above that the efficiency drops off which makes the chips not so interesting for silent computing.
AMD may match or beat this of course but Penryn is still a good improvement for the Intel camp.

I’m not sure how easy it is to under-volt a dual processor setup but people are getting excellent results under-volting the Q6600 G0 revision at stock speed; 1.025 – 1.1V under load seems amazing.

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Post by tibetan mod king » Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:46 pm

AMD latest Opteron, the Barcelona, has the best support for running virtual machines at reasonable speeds via Nested Page Tables. This is the current state of the art. Of course, buying the newest chip when it has barely begun to ship is not often a good road to stability or reliability. But if you are adventurous, then it is an option.

Just about ANY dual socket Opteron board with 4 DIMM slots per processor will give you 16GB of reasonably priced memory. Supermicro and Tyan both make good boards. Depending on your choice of chipsets, you can get a dual socket Opteron board with 8 DIMM slots per processor, so 32GB RAM is relatively affordable.

One example of such a board:
Image
http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=517

With 32GB RAM you may be able to run more VMs in RAM vs. paging to disk.

Of course this is an EATX board, so you would want to use a P190 case. The 200mm fan will give you plenty of air flow. Unfortunately it also blocks most of the taller heat sinks. So look at the Ninja Mini, SI-128, CNPS9700, etc.

Another option would be the CM Stacker. There is no side fan, so tall heatsinks will work. And you can get the one with 2 120mm fans in the back and simply use a big PSU at the bottom. This setup will give you plenty of air intake and plenty of air outflow.

The CM Stacker will give you space for more drives and better air flow in general than the P190. But it will be somewhat noisier. The Stacker will not be all that much different in cost due to the P190 including two power supplies.

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