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Server Specs?

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by |Jordan|, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. |Jordan|

    |Jordan| Active Member

    I currently own a 5 year old 1U server that's aging and its a miracle there hasnt been any hardware failure. It's specs are:

    2x Intel Xeon 5050 (Dual Core and its using crappy P4 architecture)
    4 GB Ram
    10,000 RPM WD Velociraptor Hard Drive

    I'm getting a replacement server built later in the week and I want it to be able to handle as many concurrent connections as possible. Server will be running just 1 site (xenforo) and a few smaller sites on Ubuntu Server Edition (all on the same domain).

    How much ram should i get? 8GB? 16GB? Keep in mind the box will also be hosting the MySQL server.

    What about CPU? Is a single CPU with Quad-Core better or worse than 2 CPU's with less than 4 cores each?

    What about CPU type? Xeon's are expensive, but aren't the desktop CPU's catching up in performance (eg. Intel Core I7's)?

    I'll probably get a single SSD hard drive and im not too worried about hardware failure as i keep local backups of everything.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    What levels of traffic and server load do you have?

    Its all very well saying buy XYZ... but without knowing your requirements its like shooting in the dark.

    If you have the money however... buy the best you can :)
    Walter likes this.
  3. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    I would get a CPU like this one, or similar: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117286
    It sounds like you don't need the power of two CPUs, and this one will be so much more power than your existing one that it will be like night and day. I know the E3's Passmark benchmark score is nearly 10000. I don't know what the 5050's is - it doesn't appear to be listed - but I would suspect it is no higher than 2000 and likely lower than 1000.
    Get 16 GB of RAM if you can afford it. It doesn't sound like you will need it right now, but more RAM never hurts and it gives you room to expand.

    > Is a single CPU with Quad-Core better or worse than 2 CPU's with less than 4 cores each?

    I think in general more cores on the same CPU is better, in large part simply due to power consumption.

    > aren't the desktop CPU's catching up in performance (eg. Intel Core I7's)?

    Oh yes, no doubt about that. The highest end i7 is certainly better than the Xeon I linked you above. It's also $1000 just for the chip (this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116491).
    Ultimately, you don't need something like that. The Xeon 1230 is a simply awesome chip, and it also allows you to have ECC RAM (which I recommend) whereas the desktop i7s do not.

    All in all, as Slavik said, I don't know your requirements exactly, but based on what you said, these guidelines should give you more than enough power at a reasonable price to do what you're doing now with lots of room for expansion in the future.
  4. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Slavik is right.
    That said, 16 GB would be the minimum for a server nowadays, it's fairly cheap and helps a lot.
  5. Luke F

    Luke F Well-Known Member

    Very sceptical of the need for 'server grade' components and ECC ram etc. from personal experience. Of course this is irrelevant if you're not building your own 1u..

    16GB RAM is pretty much a given if you plan on running VMs etc. though for pure webserver usage it's far more than enough.

    SSD is the way to go, just be wary of the controller/manufacturer (stick to Crucial and Samsung)
  6. |Jordan|

    |Jordan| Active Member

    Thanks for the help!

    One minor question: Is it bad to enable turbo on a web+db server?
  7. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    Turbo boost? No, it shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't overclock the CPU manually. The CPU is smart enough to stay within thermal limits.
  8. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    The best server?

    12 core cpu
    32 GB ram
    SSD Hard drive
  9. p4guru

    p4guru Well-Known Member

    shouldn't be a problem. The last 4 generations of Intel cpus, ivy bridge, sandy bridge, westmere and and nahalem all are very smart and efficient when it comes to engaging turbo boost
  10. duderuud

    duderuud Active Member

    Can you tell us some statistics of your website? Like unique visitors and pageviews?

    Otherwise all answers would be based on thin air...
    Floren likes this.
  11. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Honestly, you could adequately run a million post forum with a single sandy bridge quad / hexa core and 4gb/8gb RAM when you're talking SSD drives. If you're talking longevity, then a hexa + 8gb RAM would last sufficiently when combined with an SSD. Processor really comes into it when the drive I/O starts going through the roof due to connection read/write issues.

    The drives are typically the largest part of I/O in the scope of a system. Spend wisely there, you can save in other areas without sacrificing longevity usage based on forward growth projections.

    Like mentioned above though... load must be calculated and then anticipated going forward, for value that is.

    Some of my own homework on all this has shown it is better at a certain point to split into dual systems, which are smaller, thus cheaper, one being a database only server, than running a large single system.
  12. |Jordan|

    |Jordan| Active Member

    No stats yet as site is just starting out.

    If i would have rented a server instead of buying i'd be paying around $300 per month, but buying it i pay just $90 a month and the machine i got built only cost me $1000 (so a little over 3 months of the rental would have equaled what i bought).

    I looked on Passmark website for the highest performing CPU under $500 and i bought the following:

    Intel Core i7-3770K Processor (Quad Core, 3.5Ghz, Turbo up to 3.9Ghz)
    16GB Ram
    125GB SSD Hard Drive
  13. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    You can't compare renting a dedicated server with buying one... because they offer different things. When you rent, you also get a lot more service, ie. uptime, replacement parts, etc, compared to co-located. You cannot host one from home because your connection would be inadequate to effectively host, as you would need a business / high performance connection, which regardless where you are in the world, 10Mbps - 100Mbps up is going to cost significantly, being required to handle even a small traffic volume adequately for forum software. Forum is different than a static small website for local town / city traffic only, which you could get away with at home on a decent 2 - 4Mbps up connection.

    You also then have firewall aspects. Most co-located system you need to supply your own hard firewall, otherwise you may as well stick a big "hack me easily" on your site.
  14. duderuud

    duderuud Active Member

    May I ask why you bought consumer products in stead of enterprise? The new E-series Xeon processors are not cheap but really really fast in server environments (like webserving/mysql/etc).
    Maybe the biggest difference is reliability. Xeon processors are built to run 24/7. Consumer products aren't.

    Same goes for an SSD. All SSD's are great for reading purposes (which will be most of the time) but writing is another story.
    Writing to consumer SSD's is limited. I don't have details at hand but watch out with using consumer SSD's (MLC memory) when writing a lot (like a heavily used sql DB). You can only write X times, after that the SSD will become slower and slower untill it fails...

    For a small website not really an issue but even though, I would use a RAID 1 config for an SSD Mysql setup...
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  15. duderuud

    duderuud Active Member

    The downside of all that enterprise stuff: Pricing!

    A really fast 128GB consumer SSD costs about €100 ($120).
    An enterprise 100GB SSD (like one from Dell) costs....€1000 ($1200). Yep, no typo...
  16. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    For a forum like Xenforo, I would not even consider an SSD over something like RAID 10 HDDs as needed unless you have some crazy traffic like 2500+ concurrent users online.
  17. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Nowdays the difference in reliability between consumer and enterprise level hardware is so miniscule the extra price spent on the enterprise tag is often better spent on upgrading your consumer model to the next level.

    I had some official stats knocking around to prove this a while back, I posted them on here in another similar thread.
    Adam Howard and Darkimmortal like this.
  18. |Jordan|

    |Jordan| Active Member

    Well i have my a 10,000 RPM SATAII hard drive from my old server. Ill use that one for the database.

    I would have gotten Xeon if i could afford it, but i cant.

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