When to Build New System

LunarMist

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The Intel chipset roadmap stuff eludes me. When would you build a new system this year? The old one is rapidly becoming obsolete. I want something that will be usable for two years, and I'll have to bite the bullet and deal with Windows 7.
 

ddrueding

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I suppose it depends on where you want to be on the price/performance curve as well. Considering you tend to hold onto your systems for a while, I'm guessing pretty far up? What would your budget look like? Do you have any components you would like to carry over?
 

Adcadet

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Anybody have similar thoughts on when to buy into the SSD world? My uses are pretty basic home stuff, occasional bouts of what I would call heavy office use, and some light gaming.
 

LunarMist

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Mainly I am interested in the motherboard, CPU and RAM. I'd like to keep that part below $2000. The other components are fairly basic and many will be from the current system. I don't want to buy items too soon if susbstantially new technology is around the corner. OTOH, I don't want to wait until next year.
 

LunarMist

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Anybody have similar thoughts on when to buy into the SSD world? My uses are pretty basic home stuff, occasional bouts of what I would call heavy office use, and some light gaming.

I think this was covered in the SSD thread, but we are well into it. There is no need to wait unless you need large capacity.
 

CougTek

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Anybody have similar thoughts on when to buy into the SSD world?
That one is easy. When drives with the SandForce controllers start filling the market. They beat even the latest Crucial C300 SSD for random writes. These things are perfect. No real weakness.
 

Handruin

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You may want to go the path of 1336 and lean towards the 32nm Gulftown when it becomes readily available. Gulftown should be out the first half of 2010 unless if it gets delayed. The name will rumored to be Intel Core i9 giving you 6 cores and 12 execution threads with 50% more L3 cache over current i7 CPUs.
 

mubs

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What clock speeds are the Gulftowns likely to have? As discussed much before, clock speed is still more important for some apps than having multiple cores.
 

MaxBurn

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I think I will be more interested in what the i9 does to the i7 pricing. Those motherboards and CPU's are still fairly high IMO.
 

Handruin

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My guess is the i7s will come down in price a little, but the boards will stay the same because their life was extended. We'll probably just see newer revisions with SATA 6 and USB 3 like we're seeing already and maybe more memory slots since there are more cores (not that having more cores implicitly means more RAM is required, but for virtualizing it's useful).
 

Santilli

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Anybody have similar thoughts on when to buy into the SSD world? My uses are pretty basic home stuff, occasional bouts of what I would call heavy office use, and some light gaming.

I've converted all the machines I have, except my laptop, to Vertex Turbos. I used 30 gig turbos for the Athlon 3200 HTPC, and everything fits fine. Very impressive speed increase, and, IIRC, the drives were 154 dollars each from Tiger direct, shipped.

I see no downside. The SSD is usable in your new machine, and, if you need a bigger
hard drive, your motherboard choice can include raid 0.

I wish these drives would have been around when Eugene was trying to convince everyone
that IDE drives were as fast as scsi, and, that access time wasn't important...
 

Handruin

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There is some info over at Engadget related to the Core i7 980EX as being the six core Gulftown released in Germany.
 

Handruin

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I
I wish these drives would have been around when Eugene was trying to convince everyone
that IDE drives were as fast as scsi, and, that access time wasn't important...

I don't remember it that way. I remember him advocating against STR in things like RAID 0 and that access time DID matter with regards to real world benefit. These were some of the reasons I went with buying 9GB Quantum Atlas 10K SCSI drives because of the reduced seek times.
 

timwhit

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I don't remember it that way. I remember him advocating against STR in things like RAID 0 and that access time DID matter with regards to real world benefit. These were some of the reasons I went with buying 9GB Quantum Atlas 10K SCSI drives because of the reduced seek times.

This is what I remember as well.
 

Santilli

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Odd.

Anyway, the SSD's are worth the money now, since they dropped in price a bit, and, since seek time is unlikely to become perceptibly faster, they are pretty much a must have.

As far as access time, the RAID controllers added a very fast processor, plus a cache, reducing seek times.

I found the 15K Cheetah's in pairs, on a good raid controller to be MUCH faster then
the cutting edge IDE drives of the time, no matter what I tried, and, no matter what they said.

With SSD's, you get both the access time, and the SDTRates. That one Vertex turbo doubled the speed of the Velociraptor, SDTR wise.
 

Handruin

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Odd.

Anyway, the SSD's are worth the money now, since they dropped in price a bit, and, since seek time is unlikely to become perceptibly faster, they are pretty much a must have.

As far as access time, the RAID controllers added a very fast processor, plus a cache, reducing seek times.

I found the 15K Cheetah's in pairs, on a good raid controller to be MUCH faster then
the cutting edge IDE drives of the time, no matter what I tried, and, no matter what they said.

With SSD's, you get both the access time, and the SDTRates. That one Vertex turbo doubled the speed of the Velociraptor, SDTR wise.

I'm not going to disagree with SSDs having great access time and very good STR. What they don't have is an affordable dollar/gigabyte ratio even for the enterprise segment. I also have concerns about their long-term reliability until proven otherwise. In the enterprise market, enormous cache sizes and special methods are used to offset the normal performance problems of spindle drives. Those same architectures can accept SSD drives as plug-ins but the need for low capacity, high cost SSD drives just isn't there yet because they've already made great strides to offset the performance problems associated with spindles. Plugging an SSD into one of these doesn't offer the same Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that you might find in your home machine.
 

Santilli

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I'm not going to disagree with SSDs having great access time and very good STR. What they don't have is an affordable dollar/gigabyte ratio even for the enterprise segment. I also have concerns about their long-term reliability until proven otherwise. In the enterprise market, enormous cache sizes and special methods are used to offset the normal performance problems of spindle drives. Those same architectures can accept SSD drives as plug-ins but the need for low capacity, high cost SSD drives just isn't there yet because they've already made great strides to offset the performance problems associated with spindles. Plugging an SSD into one of these doesn't offer the same Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde that you might find in your home machine.

I pretty much agree with your statement above. My Supermicro X5DA8 system has a
PCI-X Lsi Megaraid 320-1 card, with 64 mb of cache. That is connected to a Supermicro
SCSI backplane, 318 gem, with 5 drives: Two 15K Cheetahs to boot from, and, 3 147 gig 10k Cheetahs for storage.

When I upgraded to the 9550 Raid card, and two Vertex Turbos for a boot drive, 59 gig total, I gained about 100-150 mb/sec of data transfer, and, a huge reduction in access time. Perception wise, the machine hangs in comparision a bit, at certain functions, compared to the Beast, which pretty much is instant everything. None the less, the jump in speed of the SSD's is not nearly the huge impact it had on the system in the other room, replacing a single velociraptor as a boot drive. As you pointed out, when you use Enterprise scsi you are using premium, well thought out, and well designed hardware that has stood the test of time, and development.

I was addressing Adacadet's question. I don't think he is in LM's budget range:

"Mainly I am interested in the motherboard, CPU and RAM. I'd like to keep that part below $2000. "

When I was looking to upgrade my system, I had a LONG look at this set of numbers for cpus:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/multi_cpu.html

It appears enterprise multi-cpu setups can run nearly four times faster then my 940.
I did just enough research to realize that for my budget, a single cpu was a better solution.
Perhaps for LM, he might be able to budget a multiple cpu system that is MUCH faster then
any single, right now.

I liked the look and features of this board, and the price:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&Order=PRICED

Dual 5540's Passmark at 9,700 or so. That's 1600 for processors.
Dual 5520's look the best bang for the buck. 9,400 Passmark, 385 each.
Plus, it might be fun to see what 192 gig of ram works like?;-)
 

LunarMist

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LM:
What is your current system?

I have a ca. 2008 technology system with Q9650@4.05GHz and 8GB RAM on GA EP45-UP3P. XP32 boot drive is old fashioned X25-E and XP64 boot drive is X25-M G2, with the page file on the X25-E in both cases.
 

LunarMist

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I don't remember it that way. I remember him advocating against STR in things like RAID 0 and that access time DID matter with regards to real world benefit. These were some of the reasons I went with buying 9GB Quantum Atlas 10K SCSI drives because of the reduced seek times.

Correctamundo. I had the original 18.2GB Atlas 10K. Man that was a noisy and expensive drive.
 

LunarMist

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You may want to go the path of 1336 and lean towards the 32nm Gulftown when it becomes readily available. Gulftown should be out the first half of 2010 unless if it gets delayed. The name will rumored to be Intel Core i9 giving you 6 cores and 12 execution threads with 50% more L3 cache over current i7 CPUs.

Will there be other Gulftown CPUs besides the Core i7 980EX? The Intel Extreme CPUs are usually ~$1K. :(
 

Handruin

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Correctamundo. I had the original 18.2GB Atlas 10K. Man that was a noisy and expensive drive.

I still have my Atlas drives in my basement in an old computer case... I don't think I have a SCSI card to go with them though.
 

Handruin

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Will there be other Gulftown CPUs besides the Core i7 980EX? The Intel Extreme CPUs are usually ~$1K. :(

I don't know. I can only hope they will have different grade models in-between. This might be why it'll take until the first half of 2010 to come to market.
 

Handruin

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This roadmap looks like there will be two grades. The i7-980X and a i7-930. The i7 930 looks to be a replacement for the i7 920 offering similar cores and HT at 2.8GHz. Either way, it shows the 1336 socket remains for some more time.

The question for you is if you want to wait until some time in 2011 for new offerings...I'd say it isn't worth waiting if you want more speed now. Either aim for a closeout on a i7 920 or spring for the refresh 930.

091215-corei7-980x-02.jpg


Here is some more info on Gulftown.

PCLab found the six-core superslab was not only 50% faster than a quad-core Xeon running at the same clock speed, it also drew half as much power when sitting idle mode and 10% less under a full load.
 

LunarMist

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PCLab found the six-core superslab was not only 50% faster than a quad-core Xeon running at the same clock speed, it also drew half as much power when sitting idle mode and 10% less under a full load.

But isn't a 50% improvement to be expected with six cores vs. four cores, or is that per core?
 

Handruin

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I'm assuming it is the former rather than the latter, but they didn't give much more detail and I didn't go to look at PCLab to check. I liked mostly that it drew half as much power when idle and 10% less at full load.
 

Santilli

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I can't imagine gulfstream not coming with a new socket, but, I could be wrong...

I would upgrade a gigabyte board, take your pick, a i7 975and as much ram as you want. It still doesn't look like a big jump from your current radical overclock. I also wonder if you couldn't get a 920 to run at 975 speed, since I'm really impressed with your overclock.

You might consider a 975, watercooling, 8 gigs of 2200 ram, and see what the limit is for
the 975. Anyone know what it is.?

Other then that, with your budget, you might want to spend another grand and go for the dual cpu 6 core AMD's. 2200.
 

Handruin

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I can't imagine gulfstream not coming with a new socket, but, I could be wrong...

The links and data I posted above already shows that it'll be a 1336 socket using the existing X58 motherboards.
 

Santilli

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I hope you are right. GREAT news for me...
I might actually be able to upgrade a processor...
 

LunarMist

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Well I'm assuming that 4GHz is easy with a decent heatsink.
 

Santilli

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My limiting factor is how much bandwidth the server is using for up/down loading stuff.

Otherwise, I'd REALLY like to know what you do that even makes your system break a sweat.

If I was sensible, and didn't have wonderful friends, I'd have pretty much your current system, and would be happy as clam...
 

Pradeep

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My limiting factor is how much bandwidth the server is using for up/down loading stuff.

Otherwise, I'd REALLY like to know what you do that even makes your system break a sweat.

In the majority of cases a server will be I/O bound as opposed to CPU bound. With the exception of specific applications like render farms/HPC etc, in general a server doesn't tax it's CPUs to anywhere near their potential full capacity, it's always waiting on data to move. As you are aware, things like ripping a movie etc use but a few percent of potential. With careful monitoring, a CPU bound server can be identified in a datacenter and remedial steps can be taken.
 

Pradeep

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One experience I had where there was a CPU bound problem, an Exchange front end server running an anti virus app on Linux was constantly running behind it's other assigned servers. Turns out it was running a single CPU kernel, when the others were running multicore. Upgraded the kernel the next morning, and all was hunky dory.
 

Santilli

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I'm skeptical. As most everyone has posted, Bluray and AMD don't seem to go in the same sentence. Heck, HTPC and AMD don't seem to work, if ATI is in the equation.

I find it rather funny, and sad, that my HTPC, with a 9600, works better then the much faster, nearly twice, Supermicro, dual Xeon, with a 4670 in it.

It would be great if AMD/ATI actually got HTPC right...

They haven't yet...
 

Pradeep

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Run a VM server with SSDs and gobs of RAM. The CPU becomes the bottleneck pretty quickly.

The bigger projects tend to go with their own hardware (some at primary, some at off site for DR). The stakeholders want the new shiny, being told they are just one of a dozen VM containers on a box that's been sitting in the DC for years is not an option).
 
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