View Poll Results: Which Option out of the Below

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  • HP Mircoserver Option

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  • AMD FX6100

    4 57.14%
  • AMD A8 5500

    1 14.29%
  • Intel i5 3570T

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Thread: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

  1. #1
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    ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Hi All

    I'm hopefully going to be starting a VMware VCP course soon through work and want to get a host setup at home for testing etc and also for evaluating server 2012, exchange 2013 etc. So far I've got 4 options which all vary in price but not sure which one is going to be the best bang for buck and last a good few years:

    Option 1 - HP Microserver, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD - £230ish
    Option 2 - AMD FX6100, Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD, Case + PSU - £300ish
    Option 3 - AMD A8 5500, Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM-D3H, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD, Case + PSU - £320ish
    Option 4 - Intel i5 3470T, MSI B75MA-P45, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD, Case + PSU - £365ish

    Out of those I'm looking decent performance with a focus on power consumption as well, which is leaning me towards the intel option but is it worth £65 more than the FX6100 or the A8?

    Any help appreciated!

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    If you want IOMMU,you will need to choose the motherboard carefully,and I would be using a discrete card if possible too. VMs also don't tend to load the cores to 100% either.

    Also,power consumption is not really relevant here,as reviews use stupid things like Prime95 which are irrelevant. Under normal power consumption is not that much different TBH,especially at idle. The AMD CPUs also tend to support a more complete instruction set than the comparable Intel CPUs too.


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  3. #3
    mush-mushroom b0redom's Avatar
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    I run VMWare on my Microserver. I'm not doing anything massively intensive, but then servers tend not to. Depends on what you want to do I guess, but mine will happily sit there running a bunch of VMs, and you can't beat the price! Also why SSD? I'd personally splash out on a bigger HDD.

  4. #4
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    I've got a 250GB hard drive that I could use and also a 60GB SSD initially that I was planning on using as a cache for the server. Main reason was for fast storage for the OS drives for the key VM's and use the 250GB disk I've already got for data storage. If I don't get the SSD I'd potentially swap for a 1TB or 2TB standard disk but was concerned about the IOPs on using standard disks over SSD's with a view to using exchange 2013 properly (Database Availability Groups etc) to become more familiar with the new features

  5. #5
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Are those prices without VAT?? If they are not it looks like you are using a £20 PSU and case for the builds!!





    The motherboard supports IOMMU and the PSU is 80+ Gold rated too even though it can be noisy under load. An alternative PSU is the Seasonic G 360W which is also gold rated too.

    The SSD is a Crucial M4 which uses older NAND which AFAIK,has a longer lifespan than the NAND used in some of newer drives.

    The total comes to just under £410.


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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    This is what I'd specced up on the AMd FX6100 front





    SSD was going to pick up when a decent offer appears as there has been a few 120Gb ones about for £60ish. Read a good review for the PSU mentioned above and not had any issues in the past with coolermaster cases. There much difference between the FX6100 and 6300?

  7. #7
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    The PSU is OK as I have one,but its an older design:

    http://forums.hexus.net/pc-hardware/...-oem-psus.html

    However,if you are concerned about power consumption,the Huntkey is extremely efficient. At low loads it is between 10% to 20% than the FSP,which is a 80+ even though it lacks an official rating. The same goes with the slightly more expensive Seasonic G 360W:

    http://www.kitguru.net/components/po...supply-review/

    There are better cases than the Elite now. The FX6300 is worth the extra over the FX6100. The FX6300 is quicker than a FX6200 in many cases and consumes less power.

    Moreover,you should be more concerned about the reliability of the SSD, and its lifespan especially if you intend to writing reasonable amounts of data to it.

    I would rather have the 970 motherboard and the HD6450 than the 760G based motherboard. The 760G based motherboards lack SATA3.0 which the 970 possess and can be a limitation for newer SSDs.

    However,IIRC shaithis does use a FX6100 in a 760G/780G for some VM work.


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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Hmmm its a difficult decision. Problem with going to a bigger machine is its not something that can be easily hidden away in the office now, in a proper mid size atx case it doesn't side as easily under the desk. Also getting into more expensive territory now as the budget I was aiming for was around 300, less if I remove the SSD and get a 1TB hard drive instead (or put the 1TB in my current machine and use the 2 500GB drives in my current machine. There are just too many options sometimes!

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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    interestingly just spotted this as well http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/...roductId=53437

  10. #10
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    I am running FX6100 chips on 760G boards and they are quite beastly for low to mid-sized workloads.

    Yes, you don't get IOMMU, but then do you need it? I haven't once felt the need to pass a SCSI or VGA card through to a VM yet....perhaps that will be a requirement for you but if it isn't, the cheaper boards make sense.

    I would buy 8GB RAM sticks as well, when I built my hosts 8GB RAM sticks were a premium....they now are not and I am feeling that pinch a bit

    I currently run ~12 active VMs...most of the time one host is switched off by DRS....it mainly only gets turned on when my backup kicks off and the CPU resource starts to sky-rocket as veeam does it super-compression on a 4-CPU virtualised proxy. The rest of the time it's fine on 1 host (although I have had to limit the footprint of some VMs to get them all to stay in 16GB)
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
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  11. #11
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Seeing as the microservers are on offer again I think I'll pick one of them up first and see how I get on with it performance wise and upgrade if it doesn't meet what I need it for. Then can always use the microserver as a NAS box for the ESXi hosts!

    edit - Shaithis i'm assuming you're using one of your microservers as NAS for ESXi? Is it any good for that side of things?
    Last edited by marshalex; 11-02-2013 at 11:05 PM. Reason: question

  12. #12
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Yup, using both as NASes. One is currently OpenMediaVault, the other FreeNAS...both using iSCSI. Both have their ups and downs, although with the latest version of FreeNAS I am currently seeing the only downside as RAM requirements. Once I boosted the Microserver from 4GB to 10GB, performance sky-rocketed. Plus it handles file-based iSCSI LUNs, thin provisioning, iSCSI portals etc. Very very feature rich.
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    Spare/Loaner: Gigabyte EX58-UD5 / i950 / 12GB / HD7870 / Corsair 300R / Silverpower 700W modular
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  13. #13
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    Not started loading it with VMs yet, but my last server build is an old Llano A8 quad core CPU on a Gigabyte ITX motherboard in a cooler master 120 elite case. Tiny shoebox sized thing, airflow seems OK so far given I am not using a graphics card plugged in (just a small second ethernet port card). Room for 3 X 3.5in drives as well as the full sized optical drive bay.

    How come you gave A8-5500 as an option? The 100W TDP top of the range models are only slightly more expensive, and are just as frugal as the low TDP ones when nearly idle.

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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    I 'upgraded' my two quad core opteron 1352 esx boxes to microservers.

    What do you think was faster?
    2.1 ghz opteron quad core with 8gb of ddr2 or a crummy 1.3 dual core althon neo thingy.

    Answer was, neither. The opteron box was faster when 1-3 vms, when the neo was faster with more.

    Memory speed/cache plays more part in visualization than pure clock/processor speed. Buy the microserver, it's cheap and perfect for a lab.

  15. #15
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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    The AMD FX series have the best AMD memory controllers in years:

    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages..._review,9.html


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    Re: ESXi 5.1 Host Build

    I'd be tempted to start with 32GB - RAM is cheap at the moment. add in a 500GB SSD and you'll be laughing.
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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