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Old 02-26-2011, 12:36 PM   #1
Frakk
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Advice on CPU/Mobo combo?


Hi,

I am looking for advice about what CPU/mobo would be convenient for a workstation I am about to build for my small-office.

I would like to use some rather compact case so heat is the biggest concern.
That also means it should be relatively power efficient and not too noisy.

50% of the time I am away from the office but access my files remotely, so low power consumption during idle times would be great. Itīs not about the bill but about wasting as little as possible.

There is a chance I decide to use compiz from time to time so at the very least the mobo will have an integrated nvidia GPU.

I will be using the regular office/web apps plus a VM to host two web applications using lighttpd+mysql. Eventually there can be some other VM and some other bigger apps during some particular project,but not games.

Iīm planning to install 4 GB of Ram and a single internal HD (I alreade have a coule of external ones).

So I am looking for a good processor/mobo combination that would fit the bill?

Keep in mind that as Iīm in a (non)developing country thing are more pricey and delayed around here, so what is available today as a good value for money here is what in USA you would discard for being 9-12+ month outdated.

As an example, Iīve seen a very appealing offer on an AMD Athlon II 255 X2 Dual Core 3.1Ghz AM3.
I donīt really think I need more that two cores since I donīt believe many of my usual apps (if any) will take any real advantage of them

Iīd appreciate your suggestions!!
Best regards.

Frakk
 
Old 02-26-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
business_kid
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I'm running a 2.0 Ghz Athlon (32 bit) w/1Gig of ram and I consider the box capable of everything except the VMs, which the memory would probably take care of. I'm in the developed world. Unless you have heavy traffic from the web, what you have in mind sounds fine.

I would be careful to avoid problem chipsets and lousy drivers. I had major issues in that area. Do your homework.
 
Old 02-26-2011, 05:55 PM   #3
jefro
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I agree that a newer atom may best suit your needs. Some of the atoms support VT-x but all are very low power. Basically anything else would use a lot of power. Any of the newer systems are pretty good with acpi modes but you can't really host anything that is going to sleep.

Might consider some other options too. They are some very small embedded systems that are nas like with servers in them to plug type of linux servers just for what you want.
 
Old 02-27-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
Frakk
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Thank you for sharing ideas

@jefro, business_kid mentioned Athlon, not Atom

But actually Atoms are also in my mind because of their low power consumption. I just tested the more important webapp we use in my N270 netbook and it runs acceptably... the thing is I donīt think VMs will do very well on an Atom.

Maybe the performance gains of a dual core 330 or n550 would make for a more solid system...?
I have some doubts, my closest reference is this netbook and I feel it chokes rather easily with not-all-that-intensive desktop tasks...

Maybe I should use a low consumption Atom to host the webapps (although, mysql does hit this cpu hard, imho) and run VM(s) on a regular system only when needed...
Then again, this is more or less what Iīve been doing so far and what I would like to simplify.

Itīs kind of a dilemma for me, I want to consolidate resources yet I find the Atom weak, the regular CPU too consuming and the low consumption cpus a bit too expensive for my budget (i.e. the 45w Athlon™ II X3 420e)...

Yer the Via cpu running the webapps canīt handle the workload anymore and itīs slowing our work down and has to be replaced pronto....
 
Old 02-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #5
jlreich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frakk View Post
Itīs kind of a dilemma for me, I want to consolidate resources yet I find the Atom weak, the regular CPU too consuming and the low consumption cpus a bit too expensive for my budget (i.e. the 45w Athlon™ II X3 420e)...
That is a fine line you are walking. You can't have all that in one package. You are going to have to sacrifice one requirement for the other.

In my opinion if running a VM an Atom is out of the question. An Atom is meant for surfing and email and maybe some light office tasks, not good for much else in my opinion.

To my way of thinking a low end AMD dual core is about right for your general requirements. If you have the budget an AMD 6xx Propus has real virtualization support at a decent price. But that may be more than you are looking for.
 
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:07 PM   #6
Frakk
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True, it would be great but I don't really expect to finf all of that in a chip
To be honest, I didn't think some of the available cpus would be consuming that much power; having a 80/95 watts unit -in my case- feels just plain wrong... Maybe I will wait a bit longer and go for something in the 45watts range :S
 
Old 03-01-2011, 02:59 AM   #7
business_kid
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AMD don't win the high in the speed stakes, but they do have interesting offerings like duron & turion. Frankly, the requirement for VMs pushes you out of low power cpus, because nobody will specify a low power cpu for a vm.

So, do you settle for perhaps one slow vm. Cut the eye candy, bloatware, and general crap; reduce screen sizes, and you'll do it.

I think back to the 70s here and there were cp/m systems running wages, stock, and accounts all off a single z80 with 64k of ram! It was not unusual to be told "Well, you won't get any deliveries out after 10:00 on Thursday, because the computer will be doing the wages." So from 10:00 - 1:00 they would sell off handwritten dockets and enter them on 'the computer' in the afternoon.
 
Old 03-01-2011, 11:43 AM   #8
Frakk
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It just occurred to me that maybe if I manage to implement an hibernation + wake-on-lan method I could have something close to the best of all worlds.
The thing is I never had much luck with WOL so far ...

Is it posible to automate the hibernation in the same way I have a scheduled shutdown in my cron tab?

Last edited by Frakk; 03-01-2011 at 11:46 AM.
 
Old 03-02-2011, 02:46 AM   #9
business_kid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frakk View Post
Is it posible to automate the hibernation in the same way I have a scheduled shutdown in my cron tab?
I haven't read up on that, so it looks like [B]you're[B] going to have to :-P
 
Old 03-02-2011, 03:13 AM   #10
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frakk View Post
Is it posible to automate the hibernation in the same way I have a scheduled shutdown in my cron tab?
Have a look at pm-hibernate from the pm-utils.
 
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:37 AM   #11
Frakk
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Great, I'll take a look a that

Thank you all for the input!!!

'flagging this a Solved

Cheers!
 
Old 03-05-2011, 09:11 AM   #12
cascade9
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I know, this thread is solved, I just wanted to put this in. You never know, it might still be useful to Frakk or soembody else reading this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
AMD don't win the high in the speed stakes, but they do have interesting offerings like duron & turion. Frankly, the requirement for VMs pushes you out of low power cpus, because nobody will specify a low power cpu for a vm.
Duron is dead, dude! LOL.

It would really depend on what you call a 'low power' CPU. I wouldnt call the 'e' series CPUs that low in performance, as to how 'low power' they are is debatable. The are a lot more expensive than the normal athlon II/Phenom II CPUs though.

I've always guessed that the 'e' series CPUs are just normal chips, instead of being setup to run at high speeds they are setup to provide a better performance/power usage ratio. If I'm right (and I've never seen anything that goes against my theory) you could always just get a normal chip, then downclock/undervoltage to similar levels to the 'e' series chips.

I would be suprised if you couldnt downclock/undervoltage a standard chip to something similar to 'e' series. The only issue is that then you will have all the same setup problems as with overclocking (will the chip boot at 'X' voltage with 'Y' MHz?).

Athlon II 255 X2 (C2 stepping)- 3.1GHz, 0.85 - 1.425 volts, 65watts TDP. I'd guess that you could get it down to 210e levels- 2.6GHz, 0.825 - 1.30 volts, 45watts TDP, and maybe to 230e- 0.775 - 2.7GHz, 0.775 - 1.35 volts, 45watts TDP. Either would be faster than my old X2 4800+, which is hardly a speed demon these days, but sure wasnt short on performance. If you were prepared to drop the MHz more you might drop the voltage even further.

It might be worth thinking about.
 
  


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