Repurposing a pair of quad Xeons for a Plex server - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, so I have a pair of Xeon LS5420 S771 processors plus 12 GB of RAM (FB DDR2) that I would like to use for a dedicated Plex server that needs to do a lot of transcoding. 

 

Ideally I would use a rackmount chassis but it needs to be reasonably quiet so a 1U force cooled 10-fan type build is out. I could get a 3U case and put quiet active coolers on the processors.

 

Another option is to get a MATX motherboard (I think there are a few available) and put a small Fractal Design type case on a shelf in the rack. It basically only needs a pair of mirrored system drives as the content is stored elsewhere on the LAN.

 

Just a quick look at eBay shows so many S771 board variants that I get dizzy. Prefer to buy used parts to keep cost down.

 

Suggestions and ideas welcome!

 

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 12:04 PM
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http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5420+%40+2.50GHz

This is really an outdated cpu. You will be much better off buying something that isn't 6 year old technology.
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5420+%40+2.50GHz

This is really an outdated cpu. You will be much better off buying something that isn't 6 year old technology.

 

Well that was a big help. confused.gif

 

As I said I am not buying those CPUs, I have them already, and I'd much rather put them to use than just throw them away. 

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post #4 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 12:34 PM
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-S5000VCL-Dual-LGA771-Xeon-Motherboard-/160914795917?pt=Motherboards&hash=item257744ed8d

Here is an SSI CEB board for you. I have never seen a dual socket motherboard that was matx.
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. SSI CEB is larger than EATX isn't it?
Supermicro has a MicroATX dual socket 771 board but the cheapest I could find is $265. That's far too much to make my idea worthwhile.

A cheap used EATX board plus case makes more sense. I can get a new 4U case for $70 and probably a used PSU off eBay.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 01:36 PM
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I know I was a jerk about the cpu's but I really wouldn't buy a used PSU. Seriously bad idea!

I just googled it and now I have seen a dual socket matx. Crazy.
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post #7 of 23 Old 02-21-2013, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

I know I was a jerk about the cpu's but I really wouldn't buy a used PSU. Seriously bad idea!

I just googled it and now I have seen a dual socket matx. Crazy.

 

Don't worry about it. smile.gif

 

I think I am going to go for that mATX board just for the heck of it.

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post #8 of 23 Old 02-22-2013, 12:41 PM
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I wouldn't buy a cheap new power supply either. The kind that gets bundled into a cheap rackmount case by the manufacturer. I had one supply do a pretty good imitation of a flash bang grenade, the first time I powered it on. Mine was connected to a dual socket mobo populated with some xenon. It was an expensive lesson in "saving money".
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-22-2013, 03:57 PM
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-22-2013, 05:04 PM
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Those CPU make about the same calculations as a basic $50 pentium level Sandy or Ivy Bridge for $50.

Not only will you be investing additional $$$ into older technology- your going to waste a ton of electricity doing your transcoding.

I bet it's $50 a year.

I think your better off looking at a G860 for $60 + Matx Asrock board for $50, $25 for 4GB DDR3 and a nice little case.

It's going to run cooler, quieter and use less energy. The DDR3 and modern CPU architecture will pay off in the long run.

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post #11 of 23 Old 02-23-2013, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
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So they are really that outdated, eh?

 

I figured they'd at least be of some use. But it'd certainly not be worth spending $300 on an old tech motherboard. The Supermicro mATX board will also not be able to use my 12GB of FB-DIMM memory so I'd have to get new registered ECC DDR2 memory.

 

Well if I could get a used ATX mobo for $30, re-use the memory I have and get a cheap ATX case it might be a fun project.

 

I should point out that these are L5420s, 50W TDP so they won't be that power hungry.

 

 

But maybe I'll just forget about it.

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post #12 of 23 Old 02-23-2013, 03:37 AM
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It's about equal to an i3-2100 in performance.

With 2 you might reach i5 3570T performance for heavily multi-threaded tasks.

If I had those parts sitting around I would build storage server off of it. The reliability of server components is great and Fully buffered DIMM's can only be good for parity calculations. Unraid and Flexraid can both run Plex Media Server.

For just transcoding media the advantages of server parts is almost worthless.
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-23-2013, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Currently bidding on one at eBay. Will see how that goes.

Flying over to the US tomorrow with a suitcase that has some room for parts. smile.gif
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-23-2013, 07:14 AM
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It all comes down to cost. If u win a cheap auction id do it.

Just b smart

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post #15 of 23 Old 02-23-2013, 07:25 AM
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Politby - I have a couple of Intel S5000XAL motherboards that are S771. I was using them as compute nodes in my business, but we have moved on to different hardware. These are dual socket motherboards that will support what you asked for.



If you'd like one, PM me.
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 08:42 AM
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I'm a little confused as to why people are telling the OP NOT to do this?

I just repurposed a refurbished Dell SC1430 system with a pair of quad Xeon E5345 processors for use as a Plex server.

The system is nothing special (8 GB RAM, two 750 GB hard drives, horrible integrated video), but it seems to do the job properly.

I spent $200 on the system. It should perform as well as some i5 setups.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 08:57 AM
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Correct, but his overall cost vs return would be way higher than yours because of what he needs to buy to finish the setup. He can spend the same or less on modern tech that clock for clock smokes the hell out of what he is proposing and uses less power.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzanman View Post

I'm a little confused as to why people are telling the OP NOT to do this?

I just repurposed a refurbished Dell SC1430 system with a pair of quad Xeon E5345 processors for use as a Plex server.

The system is nothing special (8 GB RAM, two 750 GB hard drives, horrible integrated video), but it seems to do the job properly.

I spent $200 on the system. It should perform as well as some i5 setups.

It will cost you more in energy over time. In an absolute best case scenario you might get low-end i5 performance and use at least double the energy doing it. Good price on the server though. If you used it in a scenario where fully-buffered memory was useful then it would make a lot of sense.
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-26-2013, 08:35 PM
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Maybe I don't understand. For a CPU operation, how much faster is an i7 or an i5 at 2.5 Ghz than dual quad-core Xeons at 2.5 GHz?

My system did a 1.4 GHZ mkv re-encode in 30 minutes. Approximately how much faster would that have gone with an i5 or an i7? 5 min faster?

Also, how much power is being saved if the machine is idling most of the time? I am not denying that a modern machine would be faster... I just don't think that there are many gains to be had unless the OP plans to simultaneously transcode multiple 1080p streams at maximum bit rates.
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-27-2013, 04:56 AM
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It depends on the model of xeon. Current production xeons are fine when matched up with i5 and i7 chips because they share almost all features and clock for clock are very close performance wise. Clocks from 5 years ago are not the same as clocks today, more commands are issued and processed in the same period of time now.

Old xeons, like the one the OP is using, rock a 45nm architecture, do not support turbo boost, do not support hyperthreading, do not support AVX commands, and were equivalent to the socket 775 core2 quads of the era.

Not to be rude, but how much of an improvement are i7's over the fastest core2 quad made (qx9770)? The answer is...A LOT. I had a qx9770 rig, and between chipset limitations, total supported bandwidth, ddr2, and 0 pcie lanes to the processor...probably more than twice as fast at this point. Those xeons have 820 million transistors on die vs 2.270 billion transistors on a 3930k at 6 cores 32nm or 1.4 billion transistors on a 3770k at 4 cores 22nm.

Not even considering all the bandwidth limitations native to those older systems, but modern xeons use QPI links to streamline the teaming of the processors which puts them in another category altogether.

It's apples and oranges. PassMark scores that processor at 3,742 passmarks. Assume that they have perfect doubling by adding a second (which they would not) and you get 7,484 passmarks. The i7-3930k gets over 12,000, and the 3770k gets 9,637. Take into account the extra bandwidth from pcie lanes being pumped directly into the CPU (great for HBA cards and graphics), ddr3, faster fsb clocks, updated mobo architecture etc and you can safely say a single i7 would be more than twice as fast as a pair of outdated xeons.

Take into account the money spent on old components to get them up and running, lack of modern driver support for the hardware and chipset under newer OS's...you get my point. While that benchmark isn't a real view of daily performance, it's a good starting point.

I'd love to see someone run a pcmark vantage and pcmark7 bench of a dual ls5420 system just to put some actual comparable numbers to it, since pcmark tests the system as a whole and not just the CPU.

As far as power efficiency, you're talking 50w x2 for 8 cores vs 77w on the 3770 for 8 cores (including HT) and 130w on the 3930k for 12 cores (including ht). If you underclock/under volt either of those you're still going to get better power efficiency just based (again) on the modern implementations of power saving features (speedstep, c-states, motherboard power, etc)
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post #21 of 23 Old 03-27-2013, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, so here's what happened. I sold the HP 1U server that I was going to take apart and re-use the components from to someone who quickly needed a server for a small business, for the equivalent of $400.

That covered the purchase of a mITX board, an AMD A4 CPU, 16 gigs of DDR3, a Coolermaster Elite 120 case and a Corsair PSU. From which I built a new email/web server and moved those applications off my other server which now does media serving and encoding. smile.gif
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-27-2013, 05:28 AM
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Best answer ever. And probably a faster system all told.
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post #23 of 23 Old 03-27-2013, 05:43 AM
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Happy ending

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