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ESXi 5.0 - 2011 or 1150, Hex or Quad?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK, I have a pieces-and-parts AMD build that, as cobbled together, acts as an ESXi 5.0 host. GPU passthrough works, onboard LAN works, onboard SATA works, etc. I'm looking to build a proper host now, and am a bit stuck on what direction to go in. Its used as a two (simultaneous) user garage beater and general server.

I'm thinking either LGA2011 i7/Xeon or LGA1150 Xeon. The 1150 socket, while cheaper, for me, at least, necessitates $300 in ram.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
A little background: ESXi (free) is limited to 32GB of ram. I've no issue with that amount as my 24/7 guests fit well in 32GB, and I only fire up other guests as I need them for development/etc.

The parts I have and want to re-use if possible:

RAM: 8 sticks of 4GB Samsung "Wonder" 30nm Ram, DDR3
PSU: Seasonic X-1050 Gold
GPU: Sapphire HD7950 + Sapphire HD6570
CASE: HAF 932
MISC: Dell PERC H310 PCI-e x4, USB 2.0 PCI-e x1, Intel PCI-e x1 NIC (if needed)
DRIVES: x2 128GB Crucial M4, x2 2TB WD Red RAID1, x2 300GB 10K Raptor RAID0, 1TB WD Black

I am going to re-purpose the 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair 1.35V LP ram in the server as it sits in my new mini-itx systems, as 8GB is not enough any more. It really bites that DDR3 has practically doubled in price since I last bought it in November, so I'd rather not buy any more today. Bad taste in mouth and all that paying more for "dead" technology. I'm open to suggestions, but as the main passthrough OS is used for gaming and some Solidworks/CAD, I want to keep single-threaded performance strong. The FX8350 I have, especially only using 4 cores (two modules), is barely any better than the Q9450 I used to have. Sorry, AMD, not this time around.

LGA2011 motherboards I'm considering:

ASUS P9X79 LE
ASUS P9X79
ASUS P9X79 PRO
ASUS Sabertooth X79
*Supermicros don't have all the PCI-e I need

LGA1150 motherboards I've considered:

Any one that at least VT-d works with two well spaced PCI-e x16, one at least x4, and one accessible at x1; onboard SATA passthrough and LAN functionality is a plus.

-LGA2011 processors I'm considering (September Ivy-Bridge E):

i7-4820K, Quad
i7-4930K, Hex
Xeon E5-1620V2, Quad
Xeon E5-1650V2, Hex

-LGA1150 processors I've considered:

Xeon E3-1230V3

What I am trying to decide is if a four core Haswell/Ivy will be enough for my use, or if a six core LGA2011 system will be needed.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
My (current) use; systems that are on more often than off:

System/User One:
Windows 7 x64 on 100GB SSD datastore, HD7950, onboard USB 3.0, SATA passthrough; given 4 cores, 12GB of ram.
Uses: Solidworks, Camtool, Gaming, BOINC (Milkyway/POEM/Einstein)

System/User Two:
Windows 7 x64 on 100GB SSD datastore, HD6570, PCI-e USB 2.0; given 4 cores, 8GB of ram.
Uses: Solidworks, some light video rendering, photo work (CS5), casual gaming (she is happy with a 6570), 100+ tabs (hahaha)

System Three:
Ubuntu 12.04 on RAID0 Raptors (128GB); given 2 cores, 4GB of ram.

System Four:
Fedora 19 on RAID0 Raptors (64GB); given 2 cores, 4GB of ram.

System Five:
PFSense used as a network switch; given 2 cores, 1GB of ram.

*A bunch of other, smaller test systems on the Raptor datastore.
**I will be replacing the 6570 with a FirePro V5900 soon.

My costs, factoring in the cost of ram, is similar

LGA 1150 system cost: $200 mobo, $300 processor, $300 ram, minus what I can get for the Samsung ram

LGA 2011 system cost: $300 mobo, $300-500 processor

Any insight into ESXi functionality on certain motherboards (from experience) would be very helpful, as would comments on how well the above workload would run on a quad core vs a hex core Intel, and if the cost is justified.

Furthermore, any experience on assigning all available cores to one guest and still allowing the others to run decently would be helpful. I guess I've been afraid to do this and work out the kinks.

Sorry about the book!

Thanks for the help!
Edited by M125 - 8/7/13 at 6:45pm
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post #2 of 6
ESXI in experience works better on intel hardware.

What are the virtual machines doing that will say if you need hex or quad though personally i would see if you can pickup a cheap dual socket F (1207) motherboardand get say two cheap six core's (Opteron 2419, 1.8ghz 6 core in UK i can get them for £15), only downside would be needing DDR2 ECC ( I think! i am not 100% if they have to be ECC on the Socket F's)


Although its older hardware it can be obtained cheap and give you more pure grunt as well as most Socket F (1207) motherboards have 8-16 DIMM slots so lets you expand very easily in the future

you would also know ESXI works because socket 1207 is server hardware, not sure if passthrough would i havent played with ESXI 5 myself as the machines here are 4 and well.....nothing to passthroguh!
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post #3 of 6
Why not a Dell C1100? You can get 2x Xeon L5520, 36GB RAM, Dual 1GbE, 650W PSU, etc for ~$330 on ebay. You get a complete server for what you would pay for a LGA 2011/1150 processor.

It may not be the latest tech but it runs great for home VM labs.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/380664189544

http://www.ebay.com/itm/130915573353
Edited by jibesh - 8/8/13 at 9:32am
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm aiming for substantially better single threaded performance than an FX8350, as that is what my workload routinely relies on (Solidworks is notoriously single threaded, and bogs down with a bunch of features). I'd like to give each main windows guest VM four cores for when either needs the complete oomph, and still be able to have both systems lightly thread four cores in, say, a game. The rest of my VM's I am content with letting them fight for resources a bit, as they don't have any specific performance needs.

I understand you all recommend "real" servers from yesteryear, sure they are a good price for heavily threaded throughput (power consumption (performance/watt) non-withstanding), but I'm looking for something a bit more modern, which, in my budget, ultimately means "white-box."

Per core:
3.3 GHZ+ 22nm Haswell/Ivy >>> 2.26 GHz 45nm Nehalem > 1.8GHZ 45nm K10

I'm leaning towards an i7-4930K and the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 to save some cash versus an Asus. Gigabyte has done me no wrong, I just prefer the "feel" of an Asus board/UEFI. Can't argue with $60-70 off for the same feature-set, reportedly ESXI functionality, and better port placement though. This way, if four cores/VM doesn't work well, I can make do with three plus hyper-threads.

Thanks.
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64GB (8x8) ECC REG M393A1G40DB0-CPB 2133MHz DDR4 Intel 750 NVMe 400GB, PCI-e Corsair H110 w/Noctua NF-A14 FLX Push/Pull Windows 7 Ultimate 
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Sapphire HD 7750 LP - Passthrough 128GB (8x16) ECC RDIMM M393A2G40DB0-CPB0 2133MH... x4 240GB Intel DC3500 x2 512GB Samsung 850 Pro 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
x2 4TB HGST NAS SUPERMICRO SNK-P0048P ESXI 6.0 Server 2012 R2 
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Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Mint Windows 10 Pro, Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate pfSense Supermicro PWS-563-1H Gold 560W 
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post #5 of 6
I honestly don't think you'll notice a difference between each setup, it's just up to you if you want to spend the little extra cash for a little better system and more cores. And then if you spend the little bit of extra cash now then you won't have to upgrade as soon saving you money in the long run.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
An update on this.

I got the 4930K mostly because I wanted "an i3-3220" dedicated to lighter VMs and "an i7-3770" for the two 7950s and Windows.

I initially went with the "new" Asus X79 Deluxe, hoping for the best with VT-d support (I was told by an Asus tech before purchase that the board does indeed suport VT-d), but was let down completely by Asus's refusal to "support Linux" once I found out first hand it did not. Apparently basic processor feature compatibility ~=~ Linux support to Asus.

I ate the restocking fee and still made off better with the much cheaper Gigabyte X79 UP4. The on board LAN (Realtek?) did not work with ESXi 5, so I popped in the EXPI9301CTBLK Intel NIC. Onboard USB3.0 did passthrough, but only at 2.0 speeds (good enough for keyboard/mouse); the second virtual machine received a Renesas-chipset Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI-e adapter that works at near 100% native speed. Both Windows workstation VMs use USB audio adapters.

Ram compatibility was not a problem at all, fortunately. Both boards accepted the 32GB of Samsung 30nm low profile ram, no problem, with Memtest passing after 8+ hours. I did run into ESXI free 64 thread SMP cap though, so a few VMs are "not i3s." No big deal. The system runs beautifully and even though it draws about 100W more than the FX 8350 system did, (Around ~700W full load) I attribute most of the difference to the addition of another HD 7950; the 4930K/X79-UP4 does pull 30-50W less than the FX8350/990FX.

In terms of application performance, it is like night and day. Solidworks runs literally twice as quick. Games get higher frame rates, but are no more playable, really (60FPS to 75FPS+ is not going to be seen on our lowly 60Hz IPS panels). We can both run titles like Crysis 3 and Skryim simultaneously, with no noticeable degradation in performance.

Other components moved around/swapped:

Received the other 7950 from my main system, decided against the Firepro. Two more Crucial M4 128GB SSDs were inherited from the same system, which took the place of the now-dead Raptors. Two more WD Red 2TB drives were added to make a 4TB mirrored-striped array.


Overall, I could not be happier with the system as it sits. ESXi lists an uptime of 38 days now, going strong. Just wish I could pop in a 4820K for a while and see If I can do the same things without issue. Buyers remorse sucks. smile.gif
Edited by M125 - 10/31/13 at 12:15pm
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LG 31MU97-B 4K IPS, Landscape Achieva QH2700-IPSMS DP Thunderbolt Edge 1440 I... Dell U2212HM, Landscape, Above LG Das Model S Professional 
PowerCaseMouseOther
Seasonic Seasonic X-1050 1050W Gold Fractal Define R4 Blackout Logitech G500 Intel E10G42BT X540-T2 10 GbE 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Xeon E5-2630 V3 - 8C/16T - SR206 Xeon E5-2630 V3 - 8C/16T - SR206 SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DRL-I  Aspeed AST2400 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Sapphire HD 7750 LP - Passthrough 128GB (8x16) ECC RDIMM M393A2G40DB0-CPB0 2133MH... x4 240GB Intel DC3500 x2 512GB Samsung 850 Pro 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
x2 4TB HGST NAS SUPERMICRO SNK-P0048P ESXI 6.0 Server 2012 R2 
OSOSOSPower
Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Mint Windows 10 Pro, Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate pfSense Supermicro PWS-563-1H Gold 560W 
CaseOtherOther
Supermicro SC825TQ-563LPB Intel I350-T4 Quad Port - Passthrough Buffalo IFC-PCIE2U3S2 - Passthrough 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Xeon E5-1650 v3 SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SRL-F Asus GTX 980 Strix - Passthrough EVGA GTX 960 4GB - Passthrough 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64GB (4x16) ECC REG M393A2G40DB0-CPB 2133MHz DDR4 850 Pro 512GB, 850 Pro 256GB Intel 730 480GB RAID 10 x8 WD RE FYYZ 4TB Hotswap/Backplane 
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Noctua NH-U9DXi4 Proxmox KVM/QEMU w/OpenZFS  Windows 10 Pro (x2) - Passthrough LG 1080P TV, 50 FT/One floor up. 
MonitorPowerCaseOther
Achieva Shimian QH270-Lite, 100 FT/Two floors up. Dual Redundant 920W 80 Plus Platinum SUPERMICRO CSE-745TQ-R800B 4U Intel E10G42BT X540-T2 10 GbE 
OtherOther
Buffalo IFC-PCIE2U3S2 - Passthrough (x2) Dell PERC H710 
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ALPHA
(16 items)
 
ORION
(19 items)
 
HYDRA
(18 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Xeon E5-1660 v3 @ 4.0 GHz, 1.1V ASUS X99-E WS PNY Quadro K4000 EVGA GTX TITAN X Hybrid w/NF-F12 Push/Pull 
RAMHard DriveCoolingOS
64GB (8x8) ECC REG M393A1G40DB0-CPB 2133MHz DDR4 Intel 750 NVMe 400GB, PCI-e Corsair H110 w/Noctua NF-A14 FLX Push/Pull Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
LG 31MU97-B 4K IPS, Landscape Achieva QH2700-IPSMS DP Thunderbolt Edge 1440 I... Dell U2212HM, Landscape, Above LG Das Model S Professional 
PowerCaseMouseOther
Seasonic Seasonic X-1050 1050W Gold Fractal Define R4 Blackout Logitech G500 Intel E10G42BT X540-T2 10 GbE 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
Xeon E5-2630 V3 - 8C/16T - SR206 Xeon E5-2630 V3 - 8C/16T - SR206 SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DRL-I  Aspeed AST2400 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Sapphire HD 7750 LP - Passthrough 128GB (8x16) ECC RDIMM M393A2G40DB0-CPB0 2133MH... x4 240GB Intel DC3500 x2 512GB Samsung 850 Pro 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
x2 4TB HGST NAS SUPERMICRO SNK-P0048P ESXI 6.0 Server 2012 R2 
OSOSOSPower
Red Hat, Fedora, Debian, Mint Windows 10 Pro, Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate pfSense Supermicro PWS-563-1H Gold 560W 
CaseOtherOther
Supermicro SC825TQ-563LPB Intel I350-T4 Quad Port - Passthrough Buffalo IFC-PCIE2U3S2 - Passthrough 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Xeon E5-1650 v3 SUPERMICRO MBD-X10SRL-F Asus GTX 980 Strix - Passthrough EVGA GTX 960 4GB - Passthrough 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64GB (4x16) ECC REG M393A2G40DB0-CPB 2133MHz DDR4 850 Pro 512GB, 850 Pro 256GB Intel 730 480GB RAID 10 x8 WD RE FYYZ 4TB Hotswap/Backplane 
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Noctua NH-U9DXi4 Proxmox KVM/QEMU w/OpenZFS  Windows 10 Pro (x2) - Passthrough LG 1080P TV, 50 FT/One floor up. 
MonitorPowerCaseOther
Achieva Shimian QH270-Lite, 100 FT/Two floors up. Dual Redundant 920W 80 Plus Platinum SUPERMICRO CSE-745TQ-R800B 4U Intel E10G42BT X540-T2 10 GbE 
OtherOther
Buffalo IFC-PCIE2U3S2 - Passthrough (x2) Dell PERC H710 
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