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Why Not A Low Power Xeon CPU?


JDFrench3
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Lots of discussion here about i3 and i5 CPUs and mATX motherboards. Why not a L34XX Xeon CPU on a micro ATX server motherboard? We are building 24/7 servers here, why not use server parts?

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Lots of discussion here about i3 and i5 CPUs and mATX motherboards. Why not a L34XX Xeon CPU on a micro ATX server motherboard? We are building 24/7 servers here, why not use server parts?

 

 

Hi,

 

I did some research on the 34xx and in some applications it rates higer than the i7. I am in the process of buying parts now for a new server for vail and as far as pricing is concerned the 34xx with a good board is considerably higher than an i3 with an integrated video motherboard. Also, it would appear that it draws considerably more power at idle than the I3.

 

So I havent decided yet. If I go with what I want then it will be a very expensive machine. If I go with an I3 which appears to be best value for money then Im sure that will be great too, considering that right now Im running a core duo at 2.8 with only 2gig ram. It works but the time is now to upgrade.

 

my two cents.

 

Nate

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One variable people tend to overlook is that these boxes are, for the most part, very good high end desktops and really not needing Xeon processors. Now that I have alienated a lot of people with that statement, you still need to realize all that processing muscle is generally not needed for a Home Server function.

 

Now, take the upcoming Aurora OS into a business with 25 clients banging away, and yes you will need something a little beefier than the i3 530 we all love. I'm not knocking the product or the need/desire for someone to build a monster machine, but for the vast majority, the i3 chips will do just fine. Just my .02

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Take a look at the L3426 (1.86 - 3.2 Freq - 45w TDP) mounted on a Supermicro X8SIL-F motherboard. It floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. With KVM over IP feature in IPMI, remoting into the server is easy, even changing BIOS features.

 

Supermicro X8SIL-F-O Xeon L3426 (Intel CPU Fan)

8GB RAM - Micron 2X4GB MEM-DR340L-CL02-ER13

500GB 2 1/2" WD Scorpio Black System Drive

3X2TB WD2003FYYS Storage Drives

Antec EA-380D PSU

Sony DVDRW

Supermicro CSE-731i-300B Pedestal Case with 1X92mm exhaust fan

 

Built for Vail:

 

35w at idle (the Intel L3426 is drawing 14.33w)

46w while streaming iTunes movie to AppleTV

42w while backing up remote wireless laptop

30w when storage drives go into standby

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35w at idle (the Intel L3426 is drawing 14.33w)

46w while streaming iTunes movie to AppleTV

42w while backing up remote wireless laptop

30w when storage drives go into standby

 

I've been considering a very similar build. While I like the idea of L3426, cost-wise it's 3x the price of a Core i3. I would think that the i3, with its higher clock speed would probably perform even better than the Xeon on a lot of tasks. Of course it only has two cores, which is limiting for some functions.

 

With no sign of Vail showing up anytime soon, I've decided to wait for the Sandy Bridge platform. Then I can buy a quad core 32nm part that runs at low power with higher performance.

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As someone who built his server using mostly server parts, I say buy good quality desktop parts and save your money. While a Home Server is typically on 24x7, it generally does not see the duty cycles server hardware is geared for. At 10 users maximum, the box just sits there looking pretty most of the time. I've simply not gotten the value out of my server build.

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Take a look at the L3426 (1.86 - 3.2 Freq - 45w TDP) mounted on a Supermicro X8SIL-F motherboard. It floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. With KVM over IP feature in IPMI, remoting into the server is easy, even changing BIOS features.

 

Supermicro X8SIL-F-O Xeon L3426 (Intel CPU Fan)

8GB RAM - Micron 2X4GB MEM-DR340L-CL02-ER13

500GB 2 1/2" WD Scorpio Black System Drive

3X2TB WD2003FYYS Storage Drives

Antec EA-380D PSU

Sony DVDRW

Supermicro CSE-731i-300B Pedestal Case with 1X92mm exhaust fan

 

Built for Vail:

 

35w at idle (the Intel L3426 is drawing 14.33w)

46w while streaming iTunes movie to AppleTV

42w while backing up remote wireless laptop

30w when storage drives go into standby

This hits on just what I was looking for. I am not building a WHS, but an Unraid server with an i3-540. I was considering the SUPERMICRO MBD-X8SIL-F-O, but being a newbie in the truest sense I'm not sure if KVM over IP feature in IPMI is over my head (even though I am going to have to start understanding linux and scripting now to tweak unraid). That said, I like to keep my hardware as long as possible and I do want to run my server headless. I was also looking at the ASUS P7H55-M PRO board, but I don't quite understand what trade offs I would be making. I know the Asus could be used for an HTPC while the Supermicro isn't built for that, but I'm not understanding much past that point. Thanks

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Guest no-control

The question is what do you gain by going with Xeon vs i series?

 

Your example is flawed right off the bat. You need to compare like with like. The L3426 is not comparable to either the i3 or i5. These are dual core consumer grade chips with IGP. The L3426 is a quad core enterprise level chip with no IGP. The Xeon is built on a different die spec (32nm vs 45nm). A better comparison would be why the L3426 over the i7-860 which is a LOT more in line. At that point its just underclocked for a lower TDP and has the QPI enabled....Personally I would think a better choice over the L3426 would be the X3440. Power savings isn't going to be noticeable vs the speed gain in a single server setup. While no doubt your setup performs well, I still cannot see a benefit (other than the nifty IPMI) over an i3/h55 setup. For a home user/enthusiast, consumer grade parts work just fine for much less money. For reference, I just completed an i3/h55 server build:

 

i3-530

Gigabyte H55m-SD2H

8gb G.Skill RAM

500gb scorpio system

320gb scorpio backup

4 2TB WD GP

Corsair H50

Corsair 400w

Lian Li PC-B10

WS08R2 host o/s

with 3 VM's of Vail/WHSv1/W7HP

 

38w @ idle

50w @ while streaming to 3 HTPC's

55w @ while Streaming 2 HTPC's via Vail, System backup on WHSv1 and recording shows via tuner on W7

 

I live SoCal, electricity is stupid expensive and I doubt I would recover the additional cost from the 5-8 watt savings within a 3 year service life.

 

For cost of entry, maintenance, flexibility, speed & ability to repurpose...the i3/H55 is where its at.

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The question is what do you gain by going with Xeon vs i series?

 

Your example is flawed right off the bat. You need to compare like with like. The L3426 is not comparable to either the i3 or i5. These are dual core consumer grade chips with IGP. The L3426 is a quad core enterprise level chip with no IGP. The Xeon is built on a different die spec (32nm vs 45nm). A better comparison would be why the L3426 over the i7-860 which is a LOT more in line. At that point its just underclocked for a lower TDP and has the QPI enabled....Personally I would think a better choice over the L3426 would be the X3440. Power savings isn't going to be noticeable vs the speed gain in a single server setup. While no doubt your setup performs well, I still cannot see a benefit (other than the nifty IPMI) over an i3/h55 setup. For a home user/enthusiast, consumer grade parts work just fine for much less money. For reference, I just completed an i3/h55 server build:

 

i3-530

Gigabyte H55m-SD2H

8gb G.Skill RAM

500gb scorpio system

320gb scorpio backup

4 2TB WD GP

Corsair H50

Corsair 400w

Lian Li PC-B10

WS08R2 host o/s

with 3 VM's of Vail/WHSv1/W7HP

 

38w @ idle

50w @ while streaming to 3 HTPC's

55w @ while Streaming 2 HTPC's via Vail, System backup on WHSv1 and recording shows via tuner on W7

 

I live SoCal, electricity is stupid expensive and I doubt I would recover the additional cost from the 5-8 watt savings within a 3 year service life.

 

For cost of entry, maintenance, flexibility, speed & ability to repurpose...the i3/H55 is where its at.

Sorry about my lack of clarity. I meant to compare Desktop motherboard vs Server motherboard for the same cpu. By going with a desktop board over a server board w/IPMI am I pretty much just giving up headless control over the bios?

Edited by BlackCat
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Guest no-control

My comment was directed more towards the OP who proposed the questions.

 

comparing the mobos yeah you give up the headless BIOS, but really they are completely different boards. compare the specs and see which one better fit your use & budget.

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