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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,


I'm trying to decide between the following motherboards from the following chip-set families...

nVidia MCP 730i/Geforce 9400:


This is pretty much the only decent option in Australia (Gigabyte's not available)
http://www.dfi.com.tw/portal/CM/cmpr...rmal&mode=view

Intel GMCH82Q45/ICH10DO:


I'm yet to decide between these two (Asus not available in Australia) but I'm erring more towards the Intel board:
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...ProductID=3034
http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=34687

Mainly because there's no guarantee that GB will provide BIOS updates every time Intel's apps/firmware is updated...


I need to work out which chip-set is most suited for my intended application, and a big part of that will be determining which has the best support in the OSS world.

If possible I'd like to implement a bare-metal hypervisor that will allow me to have multiple simultaneous specialised environments running; the 1st of those being a NAS.*


Power management/efficiency of the two chip-sets seems to be a fairly close affair...

At idle the Intel chip-set has a tiny advantage but at load they're equal, brownie points to nV because at load it's IGP wallops Intel's yet it draws no more wattage!


When it comes to IGP's Intel's G45 (superior to the Q45) gets thoroughly walloped, but this is of little interest to me.

I'm more interested in performance disparities -if any- in terms of: Memory, e/SATA, RAID, USB, Ethernet etc...


According to most reviews (Windows based), Memory & SB I/O performance is very similar between the two chip-sets, although nV seems to win just in most areas.

Apparently the leads are so tiny that it's unlikely the differences would be noticeable in real world applications...


This may be a very different situation in GNU/Linux, *BSD, GNU/Solaris etc. but if not the choice becomes clearer in favour of nV!


However...


If I choose the nV platform it seems I lose the following which are part of the Q45 chip-set (not just the CPU):

Intel VT-d, JTAG boundary scan, Intel AMT 5.x Pro, Intel TPM 1.2


I've read-up on the aforementioned features and some of them are pretty darn cool...

Perhaps the coolest (as far as I understand them thus far) is VT-d...


This I imagine would be very useful if I were to implement the bare-metal hypervisor I spoke of earlier....

All four of are part of the core-logic of the chip-set and I'm not sure there's a decent substitute for any of them!


According to some adverts Intel TXT is available to the nV chip-set, I'm yet to confirm but this feature may only rely on CPU selection.


Just interested in others thoughts on where to head to from here....

Particularly those who've had lots of experience using Intel 4 Series (preferably Q45) OR nV 730i/9x00 motherboards in "*nix-land"!


Cheers

Jed


*will prolly try FreeNAS 1st
 

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OS? SATA controller cards? RAID or not? How many HDDs, in which case? Because the PCI Express x16 slot of a Q45 mb is totally useless if you use Q45 IGP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx /forum/post/16952108


OS?

I'm determining if I can set-up a bare-metal hypervisor with any of the chosen chip-sets.

It may be possible with the Q45 but I'm guessing it may be too limiting, as only a tiny subset of VT-x will be available etc.

The first OS's to play with will prolly be Ubuntu/FreeNAS....

Quote:
SATA controller cards?

Not at this stage...

Quote:
RAID or not?

Will use softRAID but I may play with the on-board initially...

Quote:
How many HDDs, in which case?

3x 1TB WD RE3's for starters....

Quote:
Because the PCI Express x16 slot of a Q45 mb is totally useless if you use Q45 IGP.

Hmm, I had forgotten about this, so if the IGP is active the the slot is unavailable period? I might have to confirm this....
 

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The PCI Express x16 and Q45 IGP are mutually exclusive in Q45/G45 mbs. This is obvious from the picture below. You may think that you can still use PCI Express x8 lanes even if IGP is used, but there is no such mb as far as I know. So if you choose Q45/G45, your expandability will be severely limited (unless you use PCI expansion cards, which in turn severely limits RAID performance).


I recommend GeForce 9300/9400 (Intel), GeForce 8200/8300 (AMD), AMD 780G/785G (AMD), AMD 790GX (AMD; supports dual PCIe 2.0 x8). These IGPs do not suffer from the above limitation, and good for HD video playback too.


Intel 3210 chipset entry server mb is better (check this post ; pricier, ~$250, though). GPU is onboard, connected to the southbridge and is crappy, however.
  • Intel S3210SHLX LGA775 Intel 3210 chipset ATX, $256 (1 x VGA, 1 x PCIe [email protected], 1 x PCIe x8, 2 x PCI-X, 1 x PCI) or
  • Supermicro MBD-X7SBA LGA775 Intel 3210 chipset ATX, $226 (1 x VGA, 1 x PCIe [email protected], 2 x PCI-X, 4 x PCI) or
  • Supermicro MBD-X7SBE LGA775 Intel 3210 chipset ATX, $240 (1 x VGA, 1 x PCIe x8, 1 x PCIe x4, 4 x PCI-X) or
  • Tyan Toledo i3210W (S5211G2NR) LGA775 Intel 3210 chipset ATX, $225 (1 x VGA, 2 x PCIe [email protected], 2 x PCI-X, 2 x PCI)



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What are your thoughts RE nV's support in Linux/BSD Vs Intel's?


And also what about those features I miss if I go to nV?

Of particular concern VT-d, considering I want to implement a BM Hypervisor.


Have you heard of others implementing BM Hypervisor using the nV?


You know I hadn't even considered entry level server class boards, I'll have a closer look thanks...

The IGP is pretty lame but is to be expected I guess...
 

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I'd go for Q45 without any question, mainly for stability and compatibility. You might want to go G45 using the Intel DG45ID since it supports Intel AMT and other nice features. I recently built a file server for a friend of mine using a Q35 motherboard (Asus P5E-VM DO) which runs FreeBSD 8.0 (Current-snapshot) and a RAID-Z and it runs very good. Keep in mind that Intel NICs blows away the competition. For Q45 I would either go for Gigabyte's motherboard or Intel.

//Danne
 
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