• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 283
  • Last Modified:

PC for batch jobs with Access & SQL Server

I want to buy a PC that will be mostly used as follows:
-1 front-end application in Access
-SQL Server with 1 DB as back-end to that app.

The access front-end will mostly generate large batch jobs.
The database will be about 5GB.
WinXP Pro is the OS.

Here are 2 DELL offers I am considering for the hardware.
Dimension 9150:
-Pentium D 930 3GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus
-1GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 533 MHz, 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm

Precision 380:
-Pentium 4 670 3.8GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus
-1GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz, ECC 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm

The Precision 380 is about 600$ more.

What is your opinion? Which one is the best? Any modification to suggest?

Thanks
Jean

0
Gite
Asked:
Gite
  • 7
  • 6
  • 2
  • +2
1 Solution
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Faster is always better. get the 380 but with 2gig RAM, add on a backup solution
0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
Is the 380 a 64-bits chip?
0
 
Purple_SkyCommented:
Precision 380 with Pentium 4 670 3.8GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus

is a single core. very fast but very hot.

Thus I would recommend Dimension 9150 with Pentium D 930 dual core - very fast - more reliable. I heard Pentium D 950 presler was flawless.
0
Enhanced Intelligibility Without Cable Clutter

Challenge: The ESA office in Brussels wanted a reliable audio conference system for video conferences. Their requirement - No participant must be left out from the conference and the audio quality must not be compromised.

 
garycaseCommented:
First, I'd compare apples-to-apples ==> compare a Precision 380 with the 670 vs a Precision 380 with the 930 ==> in which case the price difference is only $334.   This also eliminates the memory speed difference in the systems -- since both have 667MHz RAM.

However, I absolutely agree that the Pressler core is a more desirable CPU ==> they run appreciably cooler than the Prescott's, and a dual-core CPU will be better for the data-base intensive applications you've suggested.

I'd suggest you go with the Precision 380, but with the following modifications from what you've proposed:

(a)  Get a dual-core CPU => either the Pentium D 930 you mentioned above; or (better) bump it up to a Pentium D 940 (3.2GHz -- for $194 extra).

(b)  Increase the memory to 2GB (on 2 DIMMS -- for $215 extra;  go with 2 DIMM's so you have an easy upgrade path for 2 more if you ever decided to increase it)

Note that they also offer a Pentium D 950, but I don't think the additional marginal gain is worth the additional cost.   You'll notice much more improvement by doubling the memory than by bumping the CPU speed up this additional increment.

I agree with your choice of a fast RAID-0 disk subsystem ==> but be sure you have a good backup solution in place (as with ANY system).   Remember that a RAID-0 array is effectively ONE hard disk;  and if EITHER component of it fails (i.e. either physical drive), the "Disk" has failed -- and you lose everything on it.   Not really any worse than a single hard drive -- just a higher probability of failure.
0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
SQL Server will be processing only one batch job at a time for my application. In that situation, an EE SQL Server expert said the dual core wouln't make a significant difference (see http://www.experts-exchange.com/Databases/Microsoft_SQL_Server/Q_21857597.html#16723797). Does that change your recommandation for a dual core?




   
0
 
Purple_SkyCommented:
Wouldnt change mine. Even you dont have the need for dual core the reliability you need.
0
 
garycaseCommented:
"... Does that change your recommandation for a dual core? " ==>  No, for several reasons:

(1)  In the question you referred to, the responder said "... the extra cpu's only kick in when you're serving multiple clients that all do 'small stuff' in parallel."   That MAY be true with SQL Server 2000 (I'm not sure), but is definitely NOT true with SQL Server 2005, which is definitely multi-CPU aware and takes advantage of dual-core CPU's.   Which are you using?

(2)  If you have ANY other task(s) running on the system, the dual-core will allow the load to be shared better.

(3)  The Pressler core is a MUCH better chip than the Prescotts -- Intel has done a much better job of thermal management with the Pressler's.   You are much less likely to encounter any heat issues with the dual-core Pressler => Intel HAS had thermal issues with their Prescott CPU's (I've had to replace 2 of them for friends in the past year, and have read of many others), and the higher the chip speed, the more likely it is you would have a problem (and 3.8GHz is the highest speed they make !!).

Bottom Line:   There ARE a few applications that will run a bit faster on a single core CPU than they will on a lower-frequency dual-core CPU, but I don't think your case is one of them;  and even if it is, it's a virtual certainty that the next update to your application will change that situation.   More and more applications are becoming dual-core (or even multi-core) aware.

... by the way, if you're already running the app on a hyper-threading CPU, look at the performance tab in Task Manager and see if both "CPU's"  are active when you're doing something that stresses the CPU.   If so, you will definitely use both cores of a dual-core CPU.

0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
Gary,
(1) I'm using SQL Server 2000; my app will be running intensively during the next months and I do not plan to use SQL Server 2005 then
(2) I guess there will be  3 main tasks most of the time: my MS-Access XP front-end, SQL Server and the OS, but I don't think Access and SQL Server will run really concurrently (MS-Access doing nothing while SQL server serves it)
(3) The heat issue is certainly an important one
(4) I have a 3 GHz HT machine. My app does not use SQL Server yet: its backend is in Access. So, I cannot see in Task Manager if my app uses 2 CPUs.

Now, with all that, which of the following modified configurations would be best?

Dimension 9150:
-Pentium D 930 3 GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus (I guess the .2 Ghz of the D(40 would not make a big difference)
-945P chipset
-2GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 533 MHz, 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm
-max 2 disks
-ATI RADEON X300 128MB

Precision 380:
-Pentium 4 670 3.8GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus
-1GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz, ECC 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm
-max 4 disks
-nVidia Quadro NVS 290 64MB

Price difference: about 500 US$ (not negligible)

0
 
garycaseCommented:
I'd go with the 9150 => I'm still convinced you're better off with the dual-core CPU; and even if that's not true, the lower temps of the Pressler core are worth a minor performance hit.   Plus, as you've got them configured the 2GB in the 9150 is a major advantage over the 1GB in the 380.   (Of course any of these differences can be overcome by modifying the configs - but that costs more $$)

Just to get as close as I could, I configured both of these on Dell's site, and modified the 380 to use a Pentium D 930 (same as the Dimension 9150 you listed above) and upgraded it to 2GB of memory (but still used the faster 667MHz memory) ==> with this configuration the price difference is $402

... for that difference you would get:  (a) ECC memory (I'm a big fan of that -- I use it on all my personal systems)  and (b) 667MHz memory instead of 533MHz memory (higher bandwidth)

You indicated the price difference is "not negligible" -- so I'd recommend the Dimension 9150 configuration you listed.   But an equivalently configured Precision 380 (with a Pentium D 930, as I just listed) would, in my view, be a better choice because of the faster memory, ECC, and the ability to expand the disk storage at a later time if necessary.
0
 
garycaseCommented:
... of course you could always expand your disk space with an external enclosure => and if you used an eSATA enclosure and controller card there wouldn't be any performance hit by doing so.   But an internal expansion capability is still preferable.

0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I made a mistake in my new configurations. They should have read:

Dimension 9150:
-Pentium D 930 3 GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus (I guess the .2 Ghz of the D(40 would not make a big difference)
-945P chipset
-2GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz, 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm
-max 2 disks
-ATI RADEON X300 128MB

Precision 380:
-Pentium 4 670 3.8GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus
-955X chipset
-2GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz, ECC 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm
-max 4 disks
-nVidia Quadro NVS 290 64MB

I was also wrong with the price difference: 300$ instead of 500$.

Sorry, I mixed-up different configurations!!!!

I gues your recommandation stays the same!
0
 
garycaseCommented:
Yes, my last note is still what I'd suggest.   By the way, I don't see on Dell's site any option with the Dimension 9150 to get 667MHz RAM -- did you call them about this?   ... or did I miss it?  (I just looked again)

EITHER system will do very nicely.   The Precision is slightly nicer -- but I would get it with the dual-core Pressler CPU (Pentium D 930) if you go that way.

... with either system, the extra $200 to go with a Pentium D 940 would give you a small gain in CPU "horsepower" ==> but with database applications the 2GB of memory and the fast RAID-0 array are going to make more difference than that.
0
 
arthurjbCommented:
Remember that RAID 0 not only fails to give you any data protection, it actually doubles the failure probability.

If either drive of a RAID 0 set fails, all of the data is corrupted.  If you need 320GB of space then you should get 2 320 disks and configure them as RAID 1, or 3 160gb drives and configure them as RAID 5.

RAID 1 or RAID 5 provide protection for your data, one drive can fail, and their is no loss of data...
0
 
garycaseCommented:
I think the author's well aware of the RAID types.   If I understand his configuration correctly, he's configured RAID-0 because of the performance gains.   Nothing wrong with that -- as long as you understand that a RAID-0 array is essentially ONE disk drive, and if any component of it (i.e. either physical drive) fails, the drive has failed.   As I noted earlier, ... Not really any worse than a single hard drive -- just a higher probability of failure.

... and of course it should be well backed up => just like any hard drive should.   If he wants the peformance AND a redundant array, then a RAID 10 array would work nicely;  but since performance is the primary goal here I would not go with RAID 1 or RAID 5.

0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
Thank you all, and espescially Gary.
My choice will be:
Precision 380:
-Pentium  D 930 3GHz 2MB L2, 800 Mhz frontal bus
-955X chipset
-2GB 2-channel DDR2 SDRAM 667 MHz, ECC 2 DIMMs
-HD 320 GB RAID-0 (2x160GB) 7200 rpm
-max 4 disks
-nVidia Quadro NVS 290 64MB

and, of course, a daily bakup!!!
0
 
GiteAuthor Commented:
Gary, the 667 MHz is available online, at least on the canadian site, for the 9150.
0
 
arthurjbCommented:
>I think the author's well aware of the RAID types.

Sorry, I don't make that type of assumption on EE.  I would rather be sure that they had all the important information.

In the off-line world I have met a lot of "Experts" (folks who have been in the business for many years) who do not understand the different raid types, and assume the word raid means "data protection".

Plus if performance is the only issue, I cannot imagine why you would spec something with 2 160 gb drives instead of a single 320 or larger drive.

And in my experiance performance is the primary  goal, until later down the road, when many gigbytes of data are stored on the machine, with little or no backup in place.

Long term, with any critical data, or any process which cannot afford down time, RAID 1 or RAID 5 (and if you have the money RAID 10) should be used.

Anyone who puts RAID 0 or a single drive in a production machine should be fired by their customer or employer...
0
 
garycaseCommented:
"... Anyone who puts RAID 0 or a single drive in a production machine should be fired by their customer or employer... " ==> I wholeheartedly agree !!

... and by the way, I didn't "spec" the RAID-0 here;  the questioner (Gite) did.  I simply agreed that it made sense for increased performance.  (and at the same time I emphasized the backup requirement)
The reality is a RAID-0 array is no worse than a single drive in terms of what happens when it fails.   It does, of course, have a higher probability of failure, since if either physical drive fails the "drive" (array) fails.   But functionally it's simply a higher performance "drive."

Gite -- interesting that Dell offers 667MHz memory in Canada but not the US !!  I think you'll be very happy with the system you selected.
0

Featured Post

Sign your company up to try the MB 660 headset now

Take control and stay focused in noisy open office environments with the MB 660. By reducing background noise, you can revitalize your office and improve concentration.

  • 7
  • 6
  • 2
  • +2
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now