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server processors - which ones

Posted on 2011-02-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

i am purchasing and accounting firm with two employeess...
i am so used to terminal services, and will availmyself of this technology.
we will run tax software and office....

other friends have said to buy Xenon processors...
what is the difference between my new intel i9's for $@50 and these Xenon type of processors./
how will the archetecture make a difference...

just a simple conversation is all i am looking for.
Question by:intelogent
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Assisted Solution

Toxacon earned 400 total points
ID: 34878441
Xeon is much older technology than the i7. (i9 is just a rumour so it's not available anywhere and I'm wondering about this detail.)

Basically Xeon is for servers and supports SMP (Multi-processor config) accross multiple CPUs, not just accross cores. i7 is for power desktops.

You don't necessarily need rocket CPUs for a terminal server used by three people. Much depends on the software, but basically 4GB or RAM, 2x150GB disks, RAID controller with a cache and one midrange Xeon CPU is sufficient.

Author Comment

ID: 34878515
thanks for stopping by....

but what is it about the Xenon.... is it that it is maid to work in conjunction with multiple processors.?
the software i will run, works just fine on any mid rnage desktop, and it will not be acessed by more then 3 or 4 people simultaneously locally.
and two or so on a terminal server... ( unless luck has it. )

i really don;t think i need to be concerned about raid, for data is removed each night, and any form of mirroring will work.  or at least any form of redundancy where if there was a failure of a hard drive, i could repair it after the days business.. ( or do i have that wrong )
 Experiance has taught me to take an image of the hard drive each time a new program is installed. and that is not that often.

any comments appreciated.
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

SemperWiFi earned 500 total points
ID: 34878807
So firstly Xeon CPU's are made for servers. They are made to handle running with multiple processors and the QA processes are much tighter as they are intended for critical gear.

The only way I would see that you would need one would be if you had a need to run a server OS which it doesn't sound as though you do. If you are in need of a server OS you will want to be on a server board, etc so then you'll need a server CPU (Intel or AMD).

Client OSes have a 10 connection limit which you will not even be near. So, if all of your software will run on a client OS then use one.

If you have critical data on this machine I would strongly suggest a RAID config. RAID 1 (mirroring) would be fine. Even if you backup the data everyday you must remember that hard drives fail (all of them do), not if but when is what we're talking about here. So for one extra cheap drive you're protecting yourself.

Accepted Solution

Anton74 earned 1100 total points
ID: 34879851
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding here.

Xeon (not Xenon, by the way) is the name Intel has been using for its server-class processors for some time. This is on the one hand slightly confusing because you can't tell from that what kind (generation, core count) of processor it is, or how fast, or how old etc., but it does make it clear you're dealing with a server-class processor. To really know what you're looking at, you need an exact model number and research that (X5560 for example).

Second, Xeons are based on the same architecture as their desktop counterparts of the same generation; Intel does not design an entirely different processor for the desktop and for servers, that would be inefficient and costly. There are some differences, depending on the model Xeons can have facilities and data communication paths for multi-socket multi-processor support as has been pointed out already, larger L3 caches, and things like that. Xeon's will have hardware virtualization support, while maybe some budget desktop models may not (most desktop processors actually do, perhaps all now). The statement "Xeon is much older technology than the i7" is absolutely incorrect, a Xeon made today would be of the same ilk as an i7 for example. Like you have different desktop models (i3, i5, i7), there are different Xeon models also, and a higher-end i7 can be faster than a lower-end Xeon.

As far as the OS you run on it, it won't make a real difference (except maybe in some fringe cases involving virtualization or very specialized workloads), and a Windows Server OS with a 200 client limit will very happily run on a Core i7 or a Xeon (or an AMD for that matter). However, for a non-trivial server load, I would not want a budget processor with a small L3 cache; I don't think I would want to run a multi-user Terminal Server on a $50 processor (but you could).

What the question really comes down to is whether you want a server class MACHINE or not. There are some low-end servers with desktop parts (literally), which can be fine if that's what you want, but if you're interested in more robustness, with features like dual power supplies for example (so the machine keeps running if one dies), error correcting memory (ECC), or remote management capabilities, or very importantly, components that are meant to run 24x7 (pay attention to the hard drives also in that department), you should buy a server of the appropriate caliber. It will have a Xeon (or possibly AMD Opteron) processor, because it will have a server-class motherboard, etc.  SemperWifi is correct in saying "QA processes are much tighter as they are intended for critical gear" - and this extends beyond the processor only. Also, more expensive servers tend to have faster SAS drives (which cost a lot more) rather than normal SATA, and can handle a much higher transactional I/O load.

Not directly relevant to the question, but RAID is part of the equation of what class machine you want. You always have the option of running software RAID (even on desktops), but any decent server class machine has hardware RAID support, which is preferable. The CPU is not involved in this.

At the end of the day, server choice comes down to the balancing act of available budget, and the performance, features and reliability you want.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34880439

you gave me exactly the depth i needed... very well written...

and my other friends here.. thatnk you too...

my hardware will definately be speced to match the task.. rather then use something not designed for it's task...

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