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Small Office Server - Processor Options

Posted on 2013-11-18
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A customer on a tight budget is upgrading their network of < 5 computers. Dell low end servers give several option of processors the lowest cost are Intel Core i3 ( e.g. Intel® Core™ i3-3220 Processor, 3.30GHz, 3MB Cache, 2C/4T, 55W ) then at a higher cost Xeon Processors (e.g. Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1240v2, 3.40 GHz, 8MB Cache, Turbo, 4C/8T, 69W  ) etc.

What advantages would there be for a very small office network only using the server for storing files, printing and providing centralised  user authentication to use a Xenon processor rather than Core i3 ?

Thanks

John
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Question by:jhswinson
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 39656488
If your budget will allow it, the Xeon processor will be somewhat faster at printing. I don't think it will make a lot of difference to file sharing.

If the above is ALL they want, the Core i3 3.3Ghz will work.

Customers have a habit of adding things, so try to fit the Xeon into your budget if you can. Make sure you get lots of memory.

... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 96

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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 39657220
I disagree - if the purpose is file and print, I wouldn't expect ANY NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE for a network of your size.  Indeed, I would say disk would be more important for printing since the server spools the print job and then feeds it to the printer... the faster the disk the faster the spooling/printing.

I think the better the CPU the longer the server can last, but it's really not that critical.

Not sure what version of server you're looking at but you might want to consider Server 2012 Essentials or Server 2012 Foundation Edition.  Essentials can do workstation backup and doesn't require CALs for up to 25 users; Foundation doesn't do workstation backup but doesn't need CALs for up to 15 users (though it cannot grow beyond 15 users - only Essentials can grow beyond 25 users).
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by:JayCarter82
JayCarter82 earned 500 total points
ID: 39659435
I'd use a Xeon personally just because it's intended for that kind of use. As said above, the disk will be very important in making sure things run smoothly for your customer. It might be worth running some performance monitoring on physical disk queues and average queues to see whether there is a bottleneck there currently. Then you'll know whether or not you need faster disk configuration going forward.
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hecgomrec earned 500 total points
ID: 39659762
Processors are almost equal, the i3 will beat the Xeon on Graphics in desktop applications but thanks to Intel's Fast and Flex Memory Access on Xeon processors family the Xeon will must likely outperform the i3 in I/O in both RAM and HDD.

Also, 4 cores will perform better than 2 even if the threads are 4, look it  at this way... 4 lanes for 4 cars instead of 2 lanes for 4 cars.

If possible try to go with at least 8GB of Ram as 4GB will slow down performance on server and while printing.

Note: I was able to find such Servers only in New Zealand with a difference of $100.00 (without OS) for 4GB and $300.00 when compared with 8GB
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Author Closing Comment

by:jhswinson
ID: 39671220
I expected (and wanted) a range of views as there is no "right" answer so I have distributed the points equally. Thanks for the help
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