xeon vs core i7 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm been curious as to what are the benefits of Xeon processors. I know it's more "professional" and optimized for sever environments, but what does that actually translate into in relation to a media storage/recording server? Wouldn't i7's be just as good (if not faster) and cheaper?
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 03:54 AM
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What it boils down to is that the Xeon varient of a Core i7 ( or any intel chip) will perform exactly the same as it's retail cousin.

The main difference is that a given Xeon might run at it's respective speed more reliably at a higher temp since the typically use better binned chips and run them at lower voltages and clocks than a normal retail chip.

Beyond that some Xeons are identical to a retail part but the more expensive ones work in 2-4 (or more) socket systems and standard retail chips will not.

For a HTPC there isn't a real benefit as compaired to the price premium over retail.

For a company that needs a given machine to run 24/7/365 in a cramped server and never skip a beat it is worth it .

For a typical home user your money would be better spent on quality components and poper cooling to make sure they will run well.

Also some Xeon chips will also need a workstation/server motherboard since oftem they use a different socket than a retain chip and along with that you get to use very expensive fb-ram or ecc ram.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 11:50 AM
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i have been thinking the same thing.

i have 4 ciprico raid cards and i am looking for a motherboard to use. I was originally going to use a supermicro dual xeon motherboard, (similar to Kapone)
but with the new i7 motherboards having the necessary slots, I am debating whether a dual i7 xeon would be better than a single (potentially overclocked) i7 retail chip.

since the ciprico raid is run off the cpu, is there any advantage to go with the dual xeon setup vs the single retail setup (cost not being a factor for the sake of just discussing performance).

AL
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 02:30 PM
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Ah, er, uhm... I believe that server chips are much different animals than the mainline consumer chips. They may have the same internal core logic, but the way the look at the exterior world is much different. The fact that they are in different packaging is one sign. They also pair with other support chips (northbridge or equivalent) to offer other advantages. For instance, I believe that they have different data structures and pathways to the network, memory, and disk interfaces. At least that's the way it used to be. Not so sure on today's hottest stuff.

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post #5 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for your replies. mmm... I surprised that interest in this area is not high. I see many "experienced" users use Xeon CPUs in their server, but I have no idea why.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for your replies. hmmm... I surprised that interest in this area is not high. I see many "experienced" users use Xeon CPUs in their server, but I have no idea why.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 06:30 PM
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The biggest practical difference is that the i7's Xeon brethern tend to consume less energy. Some models have multiple QPI connections which allow for dual-socket operation as well on a compatible motherboard.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-25-2009, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinx99 View Post

The biggest practical difference is that the i7's Xeon brethern tend to consume less energy. Some models have multiple QPI connections which allow for dual-socket operation as well on a compatible motherboard.

Xeon's consume less energy?!?! I also thought that since they are designed for the server environment (which means they really don't care about noise), Xeons are relatively much more power hungry
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-26-2009, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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bump?
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-27-2009, 10:11 AM
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CPUs using less power generate less heat and require less cooling. In a datacenter packed full of equipment, this matters a lot.

Xeon CPUs typically use a different socket than the mainline consumer chips, but they are not always different than the high-performance consumer/workstation/server chips. Core i7 and the latest Xeons (3500/5500-series) all use the same socket, LGA 1366 - the CPUs are very similar. There are Xeon models that have very similar specifications to the i7 CPUs. The Xeons have ECC support. The 5500-series Xeons have an extra QuickPath link and can be used in a dual processor configuration. The LGA 1366 Xeons are available in a wide range: 60-130W TDP, 1.86-3.2 GHz, dual/quad/quad+HT. All LGA 1366 CPUs have triple-channel memory controllers. The cheapest 5500-series Xeons are actually cheaper than the cheapest i7.

The X58 is designated for single-processor systems, and the 5500/5520 are designated for dual-processor systems. I think the X58 has more available bandwidth for PCI-e devices.
AFAIK, any LGA 1366 CPU should work with either chipset.

The Core i5 is the mainstream desktop CPU; it will use a different (smaller) socket when it becomes available.

In my opinion, the new Xeons or i7 aren't worth it yet unless you absolutely need the highest performance possible or you need some of the features available with these CPUs/chipsets. I would like a Xeon/i7 based system for extended page tables and VT-d, two features that make virtualization better.
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-27-2009, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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another "feature" of Xeon is that they use mobos that support buffered ram. What is the benefit of that?
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-27-2009, 10:43 PM
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Buffered (ECC) ram does error correction in memory which can prevent incorrect data from propagating to disk which is massively important in a enterprise environment, it'd be helpful on a media server to some extent and on an actual HTPC meh. ECC ram is barely more expensive than non-ECC so if your architecture can support it its worth it. As for Xeon CPUs, they're not magically different, there better binned chips that are rated to a higher standard as others have mentioned, like higher octane fuel.

Do you need this crap for a HTPC media server? No way. Would it be fun to work with? Hell yea! If I could run Handbrake on my media server I'd totally stick dual 4 core CPUs on there with ECC ram and SSD drives as buffers between rotating disks and the NICs. Oh and if I had the cash to toss around

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