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Single vs Multi-CPU to achieve desired number of cores

Posted on 2016-07-21
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Last Modified: 2016-07-26
I have a client who is purchasing software to "RIP" to a sign printer. The software being used lists a recommended configuration of 12 or more cores be available and 32GB or more of memory. With this requirement is it better to look at single 12 or more core processors, 2 processors to total the 12 or more cores, or 2 processors at 12 or more cores?   They recommend a Windows 7 OS.
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Question by:bm_alvarez
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Considering future licensing rules with Server 2016, I would say 2x6 core or 2x8 core; Starting in 2016, Microsoft is switching to per Core licensing for server - 2 sockets of UP TO 8 Cores each.  So a single server can have 16 cores, but only if split between two CPUs.  Once a CPU goes over 8 Cores, you need a SECOND Server license.

I realize you say they are recommending Windows 7, but who is to say they won't extend this to Windows clients or that the vendor won't decide to recommend server at some point.
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I would have suggested single CPU with more cores as it's slightly more power efficient but then I looked at some RIP server specs, See https://www.xerox.co.uk/office/latest/V21DS-03E.pdf for example. They used two quad-core 3.5GHz processors when at the same time they could have used slower CPUs with more cores (restricting choice to Q3'13 chips as that's what was available when they designed that particular RIP server). Seems that although RIP servers are multi-threaded they still plump for the highest clock speed at the cost of core count so some tasks must still be restricted to a single thread*. If my clock speed presumption is correct then two CPUs with less cores is the only way to get that high clock speed.

*Note also that the RIP I posted has an ASIC so the high clock speed requirement may be due to feeding that at full tilt rather than any CPU based processing. Your RIP software vendor may have more info on the speed/cores calculation.
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by:bm_alvarez
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They are using Onyx Thrive 642. It lists i7 but then wants 12 or more cores. I talked with the tech and he said some i7 are 6 core. I said then you only need 6 or 12 and he said 12 is better, I am leaning towards dual E5-2643 v4 or E5-2667 v5 since they want speeds over 2.5GHz.
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