Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)
tinkererguy

What about building WHS2011 box with Z68 Motherboard (like ASUS P8Z68-V PRO) at $300, with Intel Core i7-2600S (65 watts) $300?

Recommended Posts

Dave-o

Warning: Tangential hypothesizing ahead. Feel free to skip-

 

I'm wondering if VT-d (hardware support for device emulation) is really that necessary in the not terribly demanding typical WHS scenario. In my experience, VM's run pretty well on SandyBridge without VT-d. Although I readily admit that like most, I've never actually used VT-d. So I lack real experience in the matter. But I haven't missed it up to this point.

 

From what I've read, VT-d seems to make more sense in high-bandwidth scenarios like a big-iron VM server with many VM clients attached where I/O efficiency & big memory are paramount, or where a workstation needs GPU virtualization to run multiple big engineering apps in isolation while minimizing overhead, using something like Parallels Extreme Workstation.

 

This is probably a subject for a separate thread, but I'm hoping the next version of VMware Workstation supports VT-d. Or even better, if Microsoft built it directly into Windows 8. Now that could be pretty awesome!

 

But then, there's the apparent limitations of VT-d. For example, from what I've read from various sources around the internet, you can't suspend/resume VT-d virtual machines due to their more direct attachment to hardware devices. That alone takes a lot of the value of the equation for me. I have no idea what the actual efficiency improvements are (can anyone provide info on this?), but the fact that Intel chose to limit this to the non-K series of processors is another big negative to me. When you can overclock a 4GHz system to 5GHz, which is pretty easily achievable with Sandy Bridge, that's a direct 25% improvement in overall performance. And the turbo-boost clocking architecture of Sandy Bridge means this peak clock (boost multiplier) performance is not at the expense of idle or low-load power consumption scenarios. With TurboBoost, if not over-clocked too heavily, you may even save overall power reduction in some load burst situations (higher power state on for a shorter period vs somewhat lower power consumption for much longer period) while improving response time. But if even if it's a wash but with better response time, the K still wins.

 

What I'm trying to say here is that after thinking about it for a while, in a VT-d vs. 'K' processor debate, I would probably opt for the K processor - especially in a workstation / gaming scenario where peak performance is the top priority. Or even in a WHS server. Giving up that 20-25% for VT-d just may not be worth it. Sure, showing to your friends several 3D games running at the same time with good performance at the next lan party would be cool, but at what price??

 

In my ideal world, Intel would release microcode updates to enable VT-d in K-series processors. Or at least release VT-d enabled K processors in the future which I'm certain they could do if they wanted to. VMware would add add VT-d support to Workstation & Player. And Microsoft would actually release all that virtualization technology they've been working on for a decade in the labs with VT-d support in the box with Windows 8.

 

Apologies for the rambling parenthetical style here, I'm kind of thinking out loud here trying to work these issues out in my head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

So, after all this talk, I'm currently thinking of going with the following components:

 

CPU:

Core i7 2600

MOTHERBOARD (Z68 chipset):

Asus, Gigabyte, ASROCK, MSI, OR EVGA

 

probably picking the motherboard with the best features / most ports for the dollar, and a nice bonus if it happens to also have VT-d support.

 

I kind of suspect I'll have no troubles with mass storage (RAID or AHCI) and network adapter drivers with WHS2011 on any of these boards, but I could be wrong. At least I do have RAID adapters, and a quad NIC PCI-Express card, that are both supported by WHS2011/ESXi4.1u1, if need be, although I prefer the simplicity of everything on the mainboard (less watts, may buy spare).

 

So back to mainboards and CPUs. It seems we're kind of wrapping up here (with a high up front $600 investment in 4 years of fairly efficient computing). I'll now begin to compare feature sets, and keep an eye on these various motherboards as they actually start shipping, and seeing what the word on the street is, as to how well liked and well supported they are, before I make the purchase...

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

But then, there's the apparent limitations of VT-d. For example, from what I've read from various sources around the internet, you can't suspend/resume VT-d virtual machines due to their more direct attachment to hardware devices. That alone takes a lot of the value of the equation for me.

 

Such a great point, thank you Dave-o! It's something I admittedly had forgotten to even consider, oops. Probably better to not use VT-d for folks like you and I, where the VMs we "play" with come and go, and a slight performance penalty is unlikely to be noticed in our non-enterprise environments.

 

On the other hand, I guess for me, VT-d could be enabled for the main WHS2011 or SBS Essentials VM that'll be running 24x7, assigned to its own physical Gigabit NIC, with all other VMs sharing the secondary NIC (non-VT-d).

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

Ah, the Z68 motherboards are beginning to ship

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r25850050-Asus-Z68

 

And side by side video of the Intel Smart Response Technology (using a small SSD to cache onboard RAID of traditional drives)

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/19641/intel_smart_response_ssd_cache_tech_tested_on_gigabyte_z68/index.html

 

and the prices:

 

Asus MB P8268-V PRO

$209

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131730

 

ASROCK Z68 Pro3

$129.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157251

 

GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 (but no built in graphics)

$349.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128499

 

Here's a look at all the Z68 based motherboards (I'm only interested in integrated graphics and ATX form factor)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%20600158412&IsNodeId=1&name=Intel%20Z68

Edited by tinkererguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy
tinkererguy

Interesting that neither of these gigabit NICs are supported by VMware ESX, that's fine, I have a PCI-e Quad Intel NIC to stick in.

 

Ideally, I would have preferred a board with dual, VMware supported NICs on the motherboard: oh well, there goes a few watts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest no-control

Interesting that neither of these gigabit NICs are supported by VMware ESX, that's fine, I have a PCI-e Quad Intel NIC to stick in.

 

Ideally, I would have preferred a board with dual, VMware supported NICs on the motherboard: oh well, there goes a few watts.

 

That's because you're looking in the wrong section.

 

Dual supported NIC's

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131725

 

Quad supported NIC's

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131721

Edited by no-control

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nschargitz

Hello Guys,

 

very nice thread. I´ve found it over google. The first link!

I would like to build a ESX 4.1U1 Server with the brand new

Board from ASUS:

 

Maximus IV Gene - Z

 

I´ve found a simular articel. The Board have a H67 Chipset. The H67 Chipset will work with ESX.

Derek Seaman´s Blog

 

Can anybody tell me, if the Z68 Chipset will work with ESX?

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by nschargitz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tinkererguy

Hello Guys,

 

very nice thread. I´ve found it over google. The first link!

I would like to build a ESX 4.1U1 Server with the brand new

Board from ASUS:

 

Maximus IV Gene - Z

 

I´ve found a simular articel. The Board have a H67 Chipset. The H67 Chipset will work with ESX.

Derek Seaman´s Blog

 

Can anybody tell me, if the Z68 Chipset will work with ESX?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Well, it seems nobody knows for sure yet (that I can find), meaning, they've actually tried ESXi 4.1U1

 

I realize this discuss has now become a bit off-topic for a WHS2011 forum, but I suspect others may virtualize it as well. Given Windows 2008 R2 runs so well in ESXi VMs, I have little reason to believe WHS2011 will also not run very well.

 

 

these 2 site may give us hints at the odds:

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-030922.htm

http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/highlights/dsktpboards/db-dz68db

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nschargitz

Well, it seems nobody knows for sure yet (that I can find), meaning, they've actually tried ESXi 4.1U1

 

I realize this discuss has now become a bit off-topic for a WHS2011 forum, but I suspect others may virtualize it as well. Given Windows 2008 R2 runs so well in ESXi VMs, I have little reason to believe WHS2011 will also not run very well.

 

 

these 2 site may give us hints at the odds:

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-030922.htm

http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/highlights/dsktpboards/db-dz68db

 

thanks for reply. The first link is helpfull. I think when the chipset supports vt and is concept for highend solutions like gameplay etc. Intel will support VMware esx btw. Vmware will support these Chipset in the future.

 

thx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...