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File Server CPU Recommendation Plz!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be building a file/digital video streaming server in a little bit and I was wondering what cpu to get. Price really isn't an issue, but Newegg has the i3 2100 on sale today so I want your opinions!

So here are the facts:
Using FreeNas
8GB of RAM
2x Bonded/linked Ethernet ports for a probable throughput of 220MB/s
3x 1.5TB Samsung F3s in RAID 5 (Up to 6 drives in the future)

Therefore I was looking at either...
A. i3 2100 (3.1GHz)
B. i3 2120 (3.3GHz)

So is the extra 200Mhz going to make any difference at all?!?
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post #2 of 12
No, not really.
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post #3 of 12
In my own opinion, it really doesn't matter. If you will be reading/writing 1/2 files at a time it will be the controllers and the chipset that matter. CPU will only matter once you get into reading/writing multiple files at a time. for that you want "width rather than height" - meaning i3 < FX4-xx < i5 < i7 < FX-6xxx < i7-39xx < FX-8xxx...... The picture may be distorted when bringing in Intel's on-die MCH, but I can't say for sure. AMD comes form the server market anyways, so I'd trust them to do a better job at that.
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post #4 of 12
On a total side note: Do F3's support TLER? If not they would be a terrible choice for a RAID5 drive because the moment there is a read/verify error the drive will drop from the RAID array and Samsung has no utility for mapping out failed sectors unlike SeaGate, WD or Hitachi do.

Also kamenjar; although I agree with width not height, I think your ordering for those processors was VERY out of order not only due to Intel's built-in goodies, but because of the general "there are i7's on 1366 and 1155 that smoke bulldozer across the board"
Edited by CTRLurself - 3/27/12 at 2:49pm
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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRLurself View Post

...
Also kamenjar; although I agree with width not height, I think your ordering for those processors was VERY out of order not only due to Intel's built-in goodies, but because of the general "there are i7's on 1366 and 1155 that smoke bulldozer across the board"

I was trying to say out that processing speed per core doesn't matter. I have a file server in the lab here that's serving VM images. The 1GB link will get fully saturated when I fire up a dozen VMs but the 5-year-old Xeon CPU will hardly feel anything.

It's not about power. The point in more cores is to allow processing threads to distribute evenly (more cores = better) thus allowing each file read to be treated as equal. Maybe even Intel HT would help here, but HT can allow a thread to starve. though at the same time will Bulldozer SMP but I think at a lesser degree... So it was just a theoretical guess. At the end of the day it won't really matter that much because it's not alsot at all about the CPU. So I figured that AMD system is a bit cheaper and is at the same time giving you a few extra cores...
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for the replies.

About TLER, I don't think the regular F3s support it, but the F3Rs do. I believe Samsung calls it CCTl. This is my first experience with servers so could you elaborate a little on when/how I would get an error that would drop the hard drive? I have a PERC 5i controller right now with the 3 HDs in RAID 5 and I have never had a problem.

Also, I don't really like AMD.. call me a fanboy if you want but my dad had some bad experiences with AMD so I'm not interested in switching. Anyways, hopefully the 2 cores w HT will be enough. I won't be throwing more than 3-4 computer at it at one time anyways.
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post #7 of 12
For 3-4 users that i3 will be plenty.

TLER is Time Limited Error Recovery. If your hard drive has a read or write error (which is caught by the read/verify test in hard drive diagnostics) due to a bad sector on the HDD, then the hard drive will attempt to recover this sector automatically. When it does this auto-recovery it stops reporting to the RAID controller that there is a drive there. Normally a hard drive will spend as much time as it wants to attempt to fix this issue (from seconds to forever) causing the RAID controller to drop a drive, and a soft-freeze in the OS where everything just stops responding and only a hard-reboot will "fix" the freeze.

TLER (or a half a dozen different technologies that all do the same thing) was developed by SeaGate (IIRC) and is on all seagate drives (that I know of) and is on the server-class drives from other MFGs. This limits the amount of time the hard drive will spend trying to fix a problem before it just maps out the sector and reports back to the RAID controller that yes, it still exists.

If you buy a hard drive that doesn't have TLER, it will drop from the RAID when there is a read/write error or a bad sector. If it's a WD or Hitachi drive you can use their HDD diagnostic utility to "repair" the HDD by mapping out the bad sector, and then rebuild the RAID. This will happen frequently though and it gets frustrating. Buying a drive with TLER or equivalent technology is basically required for RAIDing.
Edited by CTRLurself - 3/27/12 at 7:41pm
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
So the TLER will map out the bad sector automatically?

Hard drives are so expensive right now, not to mention hard to find. I'll have to stick with what I already have HD wise... for now. If I lose a drive due to a bad sector I will replace it with a F3R drive. That way I will eventually get it sorted out.

I have another question, if you are familiar with FreeNAS. I was reading the guide and it strongly suggested NOT to use hardware RAID with the ZFS file system because it can't access the individual drives. Do you have any suggestions or comments about this??
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post #9 of 12
TLER simply only allows a hard drive to hang on an error for less than 8 seconds (I believe this is the standard). The exact error is irrelevant, but it's time limited so the RAID card won't think the hard drive has utterly failed.

I have no experience with FreeNAS. All my file servers have been Windows based because I have a free-use license for it and I never had a reason to change away from it. Good luck though.
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAtOCing View Post

...
I have another question, if you are familiar with FreeNAS. I was reading the guide and it strongly suggested NOT to use hardware RAID with the ZFS file system because it can't access the individual drives. Do you have any suggestions or comments about this??
I'm no expert here, but I am not sure why would ZFS have anything to do with individual drives and why would you want to access individual drives once they are st up in a hardware raid. ZFS can be set up across one or more volumes (where volume could be a single drive that's not in a hardware raid) and I think it does have a degree of redundancy, but not sure if you can set it up to mirror data.

I was presented with a choice to let hardware (RAID 5) or software (ZFS) do it, I'd let hardware do it.

I can also recommend using BTRFS at some point in the future (once it gets mature enough). I did some testing with it and found that since kernel 3.1, it is a viable filesystem to use for backups (older ones have too many critical bugs). It does things similarly to ZFS but in a "modern way". It has support for snapshots and other things you may need to be able to revert data at a later point in time .
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