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Thread: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

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    Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    As per my sig, I'm currently running my server on a Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H and AMD A8 5500 with 16GB RAM.

    It's been good since I built it (a few years back now), but I'm having some issues with single-threaded applications, where the APU just isn't hacking it.

    I had a look yesterday at other FM2 APUs, but it seems even the A10 APUs aren't much faster single threaded. Given that it's a server, I'm not planning to overclock it either, and power consumption is a genuine concern.

    Are there any budget options I could consider, or would it require a complete rebuild?

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Either wait a few months more for the 4C Ryzen CPUs,or maybe get a Pentium G4560?

    It is a dual core but has HT,and is a very decent performer for under £70.


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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    An alternative which might be more expensive processor wise but would save the DDR4 ram costs:

    Get a new 1150 board £40-50 and a used broadwell i3 processor £60-130 (I saw some i3 4170 go on ebay for ~£60)
    It'd give you similar performance to the G4560 but you can reuse the current ram and save yourself ~£110

    To get a good deal on the processor you'd be best off waiting around as there seem to only be two on there at the moment and are a little overpriced

    Edit:

    Some places are still selling i3 4160 so that's an option if you prefer a new CPU
    Last edited by imadaily; 26-02-2017 at 07:26 PM.

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Either wait a few months more for the 4C Ryzen CPUs,or maybe get a Pentium G4560?

    It is a dual core but has HT,and is a very decent performer for under £70.
    I'll probably stick to quads, as I do need to run software in parallel. But mobo + DDR4 + Ryzen is going to be way more expensive than is worthwhile :/

    Think I may be sticking with it for a while tbh. I've seen the A10 6800K for around £55 which around my max but really sceptical it would make enough of a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by imadaily View Post
    An alternative which might be more expensive processor wise but would save the DDR4 ram costs:

    Get a new 1150 board £40-50 and a used broadwell i3 processor £60-130 (I saw some i3 4170 go on ebay for ~£60)
    It'd give you similar performance to the G4560 but you can reuse the current ram and save yourself ~£110

    To get a good deal on the processor you'd be best off waiting around as there seem to only be two on there at the moment and are a little overpriced

    Edit:

    Some places are still selling i3 4160 so that's an option if you prefer a new CPU
    Interesting idea, and a bit more budget-friendly. If I do need to go from FM2 I think that will probably the smartest solution - as you say dependent on the second hand pricing at the time.

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    If you aren't happy with the A10's then your out of luck. You need to get away from FM2.

    I suggest you try Gumtree eg https://www.gumtree.com/p/memory-mot...dle/1220383197

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    Think I may be sticking with it for a while tbh. I've seen the A10 6800K for around £55 which around my max but really sceptical it would make enough of a difference.
    Those top end APUs can be a git to cool quietly, the 65W ones are much nicer for home server use. Unless you already have a massive tower cooler in a big case ofc.

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    ... mobo + DDR4 + Ryzen is going to be way more expensive than is worthwhile :/ ...
    I guess only you can decide what's worthwhile, but when the Ryzen 3 quad cores start coming in at around £120 you might want to revisit that.

    Of course, currently all Ryzen processors are CPU only, so going Ryzen you'd also need to factor in a GPU or run headless. Best bet is probably to sit tight for a while. Ryzen APUs should be coming towards the end of the year, and there's always the chance that in the mean time we'll actually see the Bristol Ridge APUs finally make it to the channel, which would reduce the entry costs to AM4 and also give you an upgrade path...

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?



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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Well you could consider an X4 845 although it has no IGP,and has limited cache - in some scenarios it will be a decent IPC jump over what you have,and power consumption is decent:
    But that is FM2+ so once you factor in the cost of a motherboard swap and even a cheap £20 graphics card other options start looking better.

    When in a similar situation, I ended up just digging out an old Intel box to plug in next to the FM2 based server. Now I have 6 cores, but not much spare space around the TV where the server lives.

    Edit: In my case, having the kid's Minecraft servers on that other box means if they throw a fit and start consuming both cores the main server isn't in any way affected. If I didn't have that old box kicking around, I would probably have built an AM1 system (I had spare RAM and a small SSD already). Perhaps the question should be "what's in your junk/spares box". Actually, that could be a very funny QOTW, go-on Hexus, one for next Friday

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    But that is FM2+ so once you factor in the cost of a motherboard swap and even a cheap £20 graphics card other options start looking better.

    When in a similar situation, I ended up just digging out an old Intel box to plug in next to the FM2 based server. Now I have 6 cores, but not much spare space around the TV where the server lives.
    Oops,I missed that one - thought it was an FM2+ one.

    Anyway,I don't think graphics would be really needed as you could just manage the server from another device,surely??


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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Oops,I missed that one - thought it was an FM2+ one.

    Anyway,I don't think graphics would be really needed as you could just manage the server from another device,surely??
    A lot of boards don't want to boot if there is no graphics at all. If you can plug a card in long enough to get into the bios and find a "don't stop on any errors" that works, then there will be that one time a year when there is a power cut and the machine doesn't come back up, and you can't see why.

    For sanity I would use a really cheap graphics card, but it is another card, another few watts, another board restricting the airflow around the case. The integrated graphics seems a fairly good deal at that point, though for server use you only need a few shaders. Edit: Oh, those really cheap cards tend to be ancient chipsets too. Like http://www.ebuyer.com/393395-asus-ge...10-sl-tc1gd3-l though I suppose you do free up a bit of ram in the server.

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    The 6800k is a near 1ghz clock speed increase and ofc turbo`s higher as well. Why not just max what you have already?

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    A lot of boards don't want to boot if there is no graphics at all. If you can plug a card in long enough to get into the bios and find a "don't stop on any errors" that works, then there will be that one time a year when there is a power cut and the machine doesn't come back up, and you can't see why.

    For sanity I would use a really cheap graphics card, but it is another card, another few watts, another board restricting the airflow around the case. The integrated graphics seems a fairly good deal at that point, though for server use you only need a few shaders. Edit: Oh, those really cheap cards tend to be ancient chipsets too. Like http://www.ebuyer.com/393395-asus-ge...10-sl-tc1gd3-l though I suppose you do free up a bit of ram in the server.
    I know both a mate who has an X4 760K in one a A85X mini-ITX motherboard who uses it has a server with no card,this is why I was suggesting the X4 845.


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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Those top end APUs can be a git to cool quietly, the 65W ones are much nicer for home server use. Unless you already have a massive tower cooler in a big case ofc.
    As it happens, I snagged a cheap Corsair H55 refurb (the stock cooler was too noisy for me) and it's in a Fractal R4 to hold all of the disks, so thermally not too much of a problem. I was thinking that power consumption might be an issue, but it seems the 5800K was doing around 30w idle and 100w in reviews. Assuming it runs at 50w on average, I make that to be around £50 per year. Point is, I reckon shifting from a 65W to a 100W processor is unlikely to be that significant a change.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I guess only you can decide what's worthwhile, but when the Ryzen 3 quad cores start coming in at around £120 you might want to revisit that.

    Of course, currently all Ryzen processors are CPU only, so going Ryzen you'd also need to factor in a GPU or run headless. Best bet is probably to sit tight for a while. Ryzen APUs should be coming towards the end of the year, and there's always the chance that in the mean time we'll actually see the Bristol Ridge APUs finally make it to the channel, which would reduce the entry costs to AM4 and also give you an upgrade path...
    It's just hard to justify - I mean, it's a 24*7 server run via RDP, so if it takes 25% longer to do various tasks, then it's not the biggest deal in the world. And I don't know if I'm willing to throw £200-300 at the problem, because I can be a very tight git at times. On the flipside, at some point it's going to need an upgrade so paying ~£100 for a very short-term fix may not be that smart either.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    A lot of boards don't want to boot if there is no graphics at all. If you can plug a card in long enough to get into the bios and find a "don't stop on any errors" that works, then there will be that one time a year when there is a power cut and the machine doesn't come back up, and you can't see why.
    I'm sure I have fanless GT210 and 5450 cards sitting in a drawer from a failed multimonitor experiment a while back, so that's an interesting option.

    ---

    Further to Cat's suggestion, I've just noticed an X4 760K on eBay for £36. That's well within the realms of 'give it a go' - at stock it should be around 20% faster. Beginning to think that might be a decent option - hadn't appreciated when I first looked at this that the Athlon was a viable option.

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    ... I'm having some issues with single-threaded applications, where the APU just isn't hacking it. ...
    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    ... it's a 24*7 server run via RDP, so if it takes 25% longer to do various tasks, then it's not the biggest deal in the world. ...
    Hmm, these two statements seem to be in opposition to each other

    What applications is it struggling with? What kind of performance are we talking - minutes for a task? Hours for a task?

    Seems like you're a bit conflicted about whether you've got enough performance already or not. Have you been doing system monitoring to see just how often it's getting maxed out on a single core, how often it's ramping up into a higher clock state, and how much time it's just ticking along at a standard idle?

    Pretty much any FM2 processor is going to have identical power draw at idle. It's literally just when you're loading the cores that you're going to see any difference at all. If it's spending 99% of its time at idle then a higher power processor is barely going to impact your power bill at all. But then, if you're at idle 99% of the time, you're not going to see much improvement from a faster processor because it'll only be getting used 1% of the time.

    I think my inclination in your position would be to hold off until I was ready to build a new server. It doesn't sound like the performance is a real issue yet - just that you'd like it to be a bit faster. And as you've said yourself, you're limited in just how much extra single-threaded performance you can get out of the FM2 platform. Sit on it for now, bide your time, and stash that money away for a proper server rebuild when the time is right

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    Re: Upgrading my FM2 CPU?

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Hmm, these two statements seem to be in opposition to each other

    What applications is it struggling with? What kind of performance are we talking - minutes for a task? Hours for a task?

    Seems like you're a bit conflicted about whether you've got enough performance already or not. Have you been doing system monitoring to see just how often it's getting maxed out on a single core, how often it's ramping up into a higher clock state, and how much time it's just ticking along at a standard idle?

    Pretty much any FM2 processor is going to have identical power draw at idle. It's literally just when you're loading the cores that you're going to see any difference at all. If it's spending 99% of its time at idle then a higher power processor is barely going to impact your power bill at all. But then, if you're at idle 99% of the time, you're not going to see much improvement from a faster processor because it'll only be getting used 1% of the time.

    I think my inclination in your position would be to hold off until I was ready to build a new server. It doesn't sound like the performance is a real issue yet - just that you'd like it to be a bit faster. And as you've said yourself, you're limited in just how much extra single-threaded performance you can get out of the FM2 platform. Sit on it for now, bide your time, and stash that money away for a proper server rebuild when the time is right
    I've subbed to a new online backup service in lieu of local backup, and we're talking potentially 8-12 months to complete - at 24*7 load on a single core. So I'm conflicted in that the scenario is frustrating, and mostly the fault of the company for not multi-threading their software, but there's a reasonable debate in that if I'm already waiting 8 months for completion, does 6 months really change the scenario?

    I have done some monitoring and it pretty much sits at 100% usage on core 0, 24*7. Another core is more or less dedicated to VM purposes, and then the other two can ramp up or down depending on what's required at that moment in time.

    So I'm partly tempted to fork out a little to bring that number down, but as you say the more logical move is probably to accept the 20% performance penalty, and wait until I really need to do something. If I could drop in something twice as fast, then I'd do it, but obviously no such luck. Part of what's influencing me is also that when I open the case, there's always the possibility that something gets knocked and it starts being unstable - that would be way worse than the performance penalty.

    EDIT: And, of course, there's always the possibility that web transfer speeds are sometimes making it look worse than it actually is, though all indications are that the application is single-threaded.

    EDIT2: Just tested that, the process is peaking at 30% even with no file transfers happening (i.e. fully de-dupable data) so yeah it's maxing out at 1 thread.
    Last edited by jim; 06-03-2017 at 12:22 PM.

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