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Thread: Single or Dual CPU ??

  1. #1
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    Single or Dual CPU ??

    Eventually want to build myself a server for the home which will do the following things -

    File Server
    Downloading machine (DC++, Overnet etc etc)
    Email Server - possibly
    FTP server - possibly


    I also may use it to do things like movie file encoding/transcoding (including DVD ripping etc) so my main rig is free for me to do my own things like gaming etc and was wondering if a low powered dual setup e.g. 2*1.3 gig would be better than a single higher powered setup e.g. P4 2.4C or Athlon XP2400


    I know dual CPU setups can be pretty good but not sure how 2 small CPU's used in a dual setup compare to a higher powered setup.... Somehow I dont believe that 2 CPU's = double the power e.g. 2 * 1.3gig would be the same as a 2.6gig


    Anyone ??


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    King of the Juice Platinum's Avatar
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    I would go for a high powered PIV machine with hyperthreading, then you get some of the benifits of dual CPUs in onepowerfull CPU
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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    A Dual CPU rig is good if you want to do lots of different things fast rather than 1 thing really fast.

    Hyper threading may "look" like its running like a dual rig , but its not really as good as the reall thing ie dual XP3200's/opterons/Xeons.

    Edit can one of the GSV folk point Lemming in this directions - he is a dual box fan
    Last edited by Moby-Dick; 07-01-2004 at 04:25 PM.
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    Aye, HT is not all its cracked up to be.... least not yet.

    The only thing thats putting me off dual CPU is the high cost compared to single CPU as even the motherboards are quite expensive and then you have the cost of 2 CPU's (say 2 x 1800MP's)


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    TiG
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    I wouldn't recommend it unless you are going for Ultra high spec, the dual 240 opteron i've built here for a DB Management information cruncher has just been stunning for its performance. But then it was built to do just that. I'd say stick with a single processor and maybe even considure Xeon or Opteron systems for that sort of task?.

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    Kirstie Allsopp Theo's Avatar
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    and a mailserver for 20 email accounts

    It does very well, considering the mid-range spec. I haven't had any problems with it at all - reboot it once, fortnightly. Runs silently, too.

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    Ive been down this road before.
    You dont need a dual system, they are overrated unless you have applications which you particuarly want to run on a dual system. I had 2x P3 1.266s and my 2.0a P4 was far far faster for everything. Granted my dually rig was soo much smoother to use though.

    Im using a 1.6gig duron now for a server/download rig. Biggest bottleneck is the harddisk. Have at least 1 for storage and serving and 1 for OS, then you should be ok.
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    If (like me) you end up having to encode as quickly as possible in as short a time as possible dual's are good, farming out an encoding task to each cpu is handy and the system still feels smooth. I just dump everything to HD and batch encode it.

    That said I have a P200 in the corner that handled ftp/http/mail/file & print shareing under linux without breaking a sweat for months at a time, so it's only possibly the video side that could swing any kind of dual requirment. TBH a single non HT cpu should be fine, if you can shove something with HT in you may notice responsivness is a little better when you use the box for other stuff 'locally'. Then again switching thread priority will give similar results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon
    If (like me) you end up having to encode as quickly as possible in as short a time as possible dual's are good, farming out an encoding task to each cpu is handy and the system still feels smooth.
    Thats the greatest thing about Dual CPU, they never crawl to a halt - I used to have a dual celery in a BP6 board, wicked setup if you multi-task lots.

    Main downside was that it got real hot having two CPU's in a small case and got very toasty at summer LANs but came in usefull as it could host the game and play it well at the same time.

    However in this situation I would go for one CPU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richie
    Eventually want to build myself a server for the home which will do the following things -

    File Server
    Downloading machine (DC++, Overnet etc etc)
    Email Server - possibly
    FTP server - possibly


    I also may use it to do things like movie file encoding/transcoding (including DVD ripping etc) so my main rig is free for me to do my own things like gaming etc and was wondering if a low powered dual setup e.g. 2*1.3 gig would be better than a single higher powered setup e.g. P4 2.4C or Athlon XP2400


    I know dual CPU setups can be pretty good but not sure how 2 small CPU's used in a dual setup compare to a higher powered setup.... Somehow I dont believe that 2 CPU's = double the power e.g. 2 * 1.3gig would be the same as a 2.6gig


    Anyone ??
    oooo real can of worms here


    For what you want richie your best bet is probably a single cpu system. Even encoding is not likely to be a problem with all of the other programs running full blast. As far as processing power goes you need to look at the minimum power you need for the biggest task, as VERY few programs are optomised for dual processors the benefit you tend to get with a duallie is that even when you are encoding you have a spare cpu ready with a bit of oomph for another task.

    The only task you have listed that requires any decent sort of spec is encoding, all the rest could be handled easily by a P2, let alone a duallie. To this end I would say your best bet is a single P4/Barton type pc with a little extra money spent on your disc subsystem. With all the disc accessing going on with file sharing, DC++,FTP,Overnet and email receipt your best bet would perhaps be a number of drives for different tasks. Instead of one hooooge drive for all, get a few drives allocated to tasks, ie one for shared files/films/downloads, a second for games/apps/encoding and a third for windows. This way you can reduce the impact of one task on another. I would recommend SCSI like mine but that is costly. SATA or IDE (perhaps some raid drives??) are a much better cost option with good results.

    Altho I have a duallie, I found that the best change I made to my system was adding SCSI drives. I run windows from one U160 drive, swap file on another,games on a third, apps on a fourth, shared files are on a 80GB IDE (also deals with kazaa and DC++ downloads with the balance of IDE having DVD drives and writers on. End result is I can upload/download on DC++/Kazaa (BW restricted using netlimiter) , kids can stream a movie to the lounge from my machine, recode and copy a DVD, play CS, run 2 lifemapper processes (bit like SETI) couple of bittorrent downloads, all standard stuff like Hyperlobby/mirc/HLSW minimised and burn a movie to CD at the same time without affecting my gaming experience. I know, I know, I suck at CS but thats not my PCs fault thats my fault!!

    The balance of shared files in the house run from my playtime P4 server with loads of spare drives in, 4 drives in raid and 3 ides of various sizes. It never breaks a sweat either but until we redecorate and shift stuff about I cant get at it easily to make it do more tasks.

    Encoding will be faster on a good single cpu system than on a weaker duallie anyway, and it will work out cheaper and easier to upgrade, no real reason for you to get a duallie unless you really fancy it. If you do decide to get a duallie then cheapest routs is a dual XP machine, people are selling them off at a reasonable price now and the early XP chips up to 1900 I believe were SMP unlocked (they identified as MP chips). I ran one for some time before upgrading to MP2200s (only bought MP because I got them cheaper than XP chips of the same speed in a deal on a forum!) Board is rock solid, tho it gave me many heartaches re sound until I got an audigy 2, very few soundcards are guaranteed to work flawlessly in dual processor systems, drivers fault. If its JUST gaming then the other machines in the house (P4s and bartons) will beat me no problems. However they cannot attempt to run all I do at the same time and get away with it. As you wont be gaming on the server whilst doing encoding or the other tasks, then a single decent cpu is your best bet.


    I realise I have rambled on, my apologies, but if u want to know anymore re duallies then get me in irc, or ask Class who now runs dual MP2800s I believe.

  11. #11
    Spodes Henchman unrealrocks's Avatar
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    Really not worth it ... a 2400XP (even lower) with an ATX board would be fine for a server, I mean ATM our server (one for AMD3D, Gameserver and more) runs a single 2.4Ghz P4 and still has very quick refresh and process rates!

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting Lemming , ltns
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemming
    Encoding will be faster on a good single cpu system than on a weaker duallie anyway, and it will work out cheaper and easier to upgrade, no real reason for you to get a duallie unless you really fancy it. I
    http://www.2cpu.com/articles/ht_explored/ht_4.html

    Bottom of the page - DVD encoding results. Supprised me at least.
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    I'd agree whole heartedly on using a dedicated (fast) boot drive and locating your page file system on another drive and having a scratch disk and some big cheap IDE's for storage etc. Some cheap 18GB 10/15k u160 drives to be had on ebay or if you look in the forums here i'd imagine a 36GB 1st Gen Raptor would be going for 70 notes. Shifting over to SCSI makes a noticable difference but that said multiple 7k IDE's will serve you just as well most of the time assuming you arn't hammering it to quite the extent Lemming does. On that note ... Lemming i'm in shock ... you demand more of your dualie than I do, and that's saying something

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon
    I'd agree whole heartedly on using a dedicated (fast) boot drive and locating your page file system on another drive and having a scratch disk and some big cheap IDE's for storage etc. Some cheap 18GB 10/15k u160 drives to be had on ebay or if you look in the forums here i'd imagine a 36GB 1st Gen Raptor would be going for 70 notes. Shifting over to SCSI makes a noticable difference but that said multiple 7k IDE's will serve you just as well most of the time assuming you arn't hammering it to quite the extent Lemming does. On that note ... Lemming i'm in shock ... you demand more of your dualie than I do, and that's saying something
    machine doesnt reboot for weeks at a time, so DC++ is always on

    But with big jobs taking so long now (dvd writes and encodes) I like to be able to play games whilst i am doing it! Dual monitor goodness helps as well , tho unfortunately configuration for Total War means I have to let the second go black whilst I play that, ran them independently before that so i could watch irc and progress of other apps whilst i was playing about.

    Gotta love PCs just need to invest in a longer SCSI cable with a lot more connectors, got 2 spare scsi drives here I cant fit it

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    The other half asks if you'd be so kind as to stop making me drool ... if i have to claim on the insurance again due to premature drool related defects our premiums will look more like the cost of that rig... oh yea and she can't swim

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