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Old 02-19-2016, 10:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Network wide upgrades...

Ok, this is going to be a fairly long post, I will list the three systems I currently have, as well as their functions. My goal is to lower power consumption as much as humanly possible as cheaply as possible. Finally have a job again (fast food, so min wage, yay?), and some things on my network are well aged and in dire need of replacement. PP, and anyone familiar with server grade components, your input would be valuable as well.

Desktop PC: (Only on when in use, primairly used for generic things and occasional gaming when time permits)
Intel Pentium G3258 @ Stock
ECS B85H3-M
4GB DDR3-1333
2x2GB DDR3-1333
eVGA 750Ti
250GB SSD


Transcoding Server: (This thing MUST pack some serious processing power at times, does not run 24/7, does not transcode 24/7, but, it will have to handle transcoding 6x 1080P streams with subtitles at one time which it severely struggles with right now, using PLEX)
AMD A8-3870
Asrock A75 Pro4/MVP
2x4GB DDR3-1600
Integrated Video

ESXi Host Server: (Has multiple instances of PFSense running, as well as a *nix based webserver, and Server 2k8, 24/7 uptime, has minimal load upon it)
AMD Athlon II X2 235e
MSI NF7550-G55
16GB DDR3-1600
Numerous aged 2TB and 4TB disks - all need replaced, already have that thought out.
Intel Quad Gigabit PCIe x4 NIC
Intel 1Gbit PCIe x1 NIC
Adaptec 9650SE-12 PCIe x8 SAS Controller
Integrated Video


My current plans are to buy a new motherboard, some memory, and a new CPU for my desktop PC, and take the board, and CPU in it currently, and place that into my ESXi host, provided that the motherboard will tolerate having a PCIe x4 NIC and PCIe x8 SAS controller, which, AFAIK, it will support that.

I will then retire the Athlon II X2 and its motherboard in my bin full of useful components for future build purposes should the need arise.

So my question is, comparing the G3258 and Athlon II X2 235e, which is better overall in terms of performance and power usage? Granted, the ESXi host will almost always sit at near idle, it only perks up during really heavy network traffic or disk access. Would there be a better CPU suited for this task, keeping in mind, lower power consumption would be desirable.

Next question, back to the personal desktop, I am currently looking at ordering the following for it...
Corsair CX Series 500w PSU (Would there be a better one out there that would be more efficient and fit this built better?)
Cooler Master Elite 110RC
4GB Kingston DDR3-1333 (it's cheap, and I already have another stick of it laying here)
Asrock B85M-ITX
Intel Core i3-4170

I will reuse the SSD, and GPU, and one stick of 4GB memory currently in it. I don't need a powerful pwn them all machine, just looking for a little more... capability overall compared to my G3258 on the desktop since it can choke up at times during heavy network access or when viewing security cameras and trying to game. Should I go with another board/CPU for this one though? Also, my current desktop has 3x monitors on it, if I chose another motherboard, it must be capable of displaying via the 750Ti and the integrated video at the same time like my ECS board does, I know some boards can't do this.

Those are kind of the plans for now, unless someone has more valuable input, and ideas. Please remember, I am working a part time minimum wage job, so I can't just go out and drop $200 on a CPU, especially if I don't NEED the full potential of the processor.


Now, this one is a bit tricky, since it will be later in the year, and things will be subject to change. I also wish to upgrade my transcoding server, right now it struggles if everyone hammers it at one time. Any ideas on a decent motherboard, and CPU (GPU as well if the iGPU on Intel isn't great with TV watching!)for it that can handle the processing load? I would prefer an mATX board in this department if at all possible, but remember, lowest possible power consumption when at idle is preferable... I also NEED the motherboard be capable of powering the system on after power is lost, as right now, the system shuts down via task scheduler, 30 minutes later power is pulled by an external timer then when the timer kicks in, the machine turns on in the morning just before everyone starts waking up.
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

The i3 from the Pentium isn't much of an up tbh. You're only gaining the HT. I mean I'm not saying it's not better, just you said you don't want to drop 200 on a CPU but honestly the best upgrade would be at least the i5. Otherwise I'd put the money into your server for the transcoding.

Speaking of that, what is your server transcoding to? 1080p to 720p? If Transcoding is an absolute necessity I would look into getting a cheap 1150 Xeon for it, and tossing that into a cheap board that supports it. Sure, the cheapest on Newegg is $204 but it will give you the best performance to power ratio compared anything else you can grab and $204 for a quad Xeon that will boost to 3.3 (?) is relatively cheap IMO. It will also idle in the teens or less. My SB-E Hex Xeon with power states and Speedstep enabled idles itself in the 20s.

Also the cheapest lowest wattage thing you can buy for the ESXi server would be the Haswell Celery. The $47 1820 will run in the 30W range at full load and idle sub 10w with power states and Speedstep enabled (TDP of 53W only because of IGP) and clock for clock will run circles around the current Athlon. All in all your best bet for power consumption reduction is go Intel. The hardest part is the transcoding. I mean, 6 streams on on my best friend's 4770k when they're all transcoding it causes buffering and is pegged at 100% for a while. He didn't believe me until I showed him while he was monitoring, and this is a fast chip with HT. It's gonna be difficult on an extreme budget (I worked a gas station for 2 years, I know that low income feel).
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Old 02-20-2016, 12:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

Well, it would be the HT that I am shooting for since that did seem to help a good deal with an older i3 I had... I guess for now I could go i3 on my gaming rig, and later in the year if funds permit go i5 when I do the xeon deal?

Have any good recomendations for a Xeon capable motherboard? Right now, the server really only ever bottle necks when I throw subtitles in, or certain types of 1080p files (guess downscale is hard?). For the most part, anything that is too hard on the server I will end up re-encoding. Usually for me, on 3 streams @720p I see the CPU spike for 3 minutes, then do nothing for awhile, then spike again. No one has noted any issues yet though.

As for the ESXi host, will the 1820 have enough PCIe lanes to run the three PCIe cards I have,? Will it be able to handle 4 VM's just fine with out serious issues, like, when they are booting up? Right now I have a 2-minute delay between each VM to prevent them all from interfering at one time, and having noted stability or serious performance impacts.

I guess the whole reason I have made this post, I am an AMD guy, but going to Intel, I have learned a good bit about the differences between them, but still not enough to know what I should really set my eyes on.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

Quote:
Well, it would be the HT that I am shooting for since that did seem to help a good deal with an older i3 I had... I guess for now I could go i3 on my gaming rig, and later in the year if funds permit go i5 when I do the xeon deal?
The HT will help to an extent, just remember that games will treat them like cores and it won't be that much faster than a native dual core.

Quote:
Have any good recomendations for a Xeon capable motherboard? Right now, the server really only ever bottle necks when I throw subtitles in, or certain types of 1080p files (guess downscale is hard?). For the most part, anything that is too hard on the server I will end up re-encoding. Usually for me, on 3 streams @720p I see the CPU spike for 3 minutes, then do nothing for awhile, then spike again. No one has noted any issues yet though.
Not any ones that are cheap that I know off hand, but I'll look when I'm done with Destiny. Anytime a device isn't direct streaming it has to transcode. Think about the CPU transcoding with Handbrake for each stream because that's what Plex is doing. So basically try to set remote quality and local quality to original for each device if they're capable of handling it. Otherwise you'd need at least a quad to do this for HD movies. Basically what happens is Plex determines during the show when it needs to transcode which is why there are spikes because it doesn't transcode the whole thing all at once. If you direct stream original quality to each device it requires no transcoding. So technically if each device is capable of this without network buffering then you won't need to upgrade.

Quote:
As for the ESXi host, will the 1820 have enough PCIe lanes to run the three PCIe cards I have,? Will it be able to handle 4 VM's just fine with out serious issues, like, when they are booting up? Right now I have a 2-minute delay between each VM to prevent them all from interfering at one time, and having noted stability or serious performance impacts.
The 1820 has 16 lanes like any other mainstream Intel CPU. Your VMs are going to suffer due to only having 2 cores to share with so it'll do that with any 2 thread CPU you use. The 1820 is just significantly faster than the Athlon so you'll have to experiment, and it sucks a lot less juice on idle.

Quote:
I guess the whole reason I have made this post, I am an AMD guy, but going to Intel, I have learned a good bit about the differences between them, but still not enough to know what I should really set my eyes on.
There's nothing wrong with using AMD for what you want to do, and technically you could get a cheap used FX8*** and combine the Plex and ESXi (run Plex server in VM) but since you want to conserve power usage Intel is definitely the way to go. Just think in the end performance advantage over actual power usage. People overestimate how much power a machine actually uses 90% of the time.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

Yeah, my host used to actually do transcoding, had a Phenom 965BE in it at one point, but it struggled a lot for some reason on doing just single episodes, and later on noted that the SAS controller was dropping out frequently as a whole, changed to the X2 and no more drops, so I suspect my 965BE is becoming flaky.

I wouldn't be against putting my transcoding back on the ESXi host, since it is a machine that's mostly idle (200mhz of use average), but it would certainly need a much beefier CPU. I was almost considering a dual socket board with two Xeons for her to help do everything if I did go that route later this year, but I am sure that would defeat my goal, which is a peak energy savings/performance for as cheaply as possible.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

Quote:
Originally Posted by c0rr0sive View Post
Yeah, my host used to actually do transcoding, had a Phenom 965BE in it at one point, but it struggled a lot for some reason on doing just single episodes. I wouldn't be against putting my transcoding back on the ESXi host, since it is a machine that's mostly idle (200mhz of use average), but it would certainly need a much beefier CPU. I was almost considering a dual socket board with two Xeons for her to help do everything, but I am sure that would defeat my goal, which is energy savings.
Not really. Your main problem here is not enough horsepower to really push everything. If you can cut out one whole machine being on it'll reduce consumption as a whole but it'll cost more to build a dual socket machine. To properly do it you'd need at least a SB-EP setup.

It'd actually be cheaper for CPUs than an 1150 setup if you go with the Xeon I currently run in my server.
Intel Xeon E5 2640 6 Core 2 50GHz 7 20GT s QPI 15MB L3 Cache SR0KR | eBay

2 of those, but a dual socket 2011 board isn't cheap and you'd need at least ECC 1066. A 6 core with HT has been more than enough for all my needs, let alone 2.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Network wide upgrades...

Hmm, I may have to change my long term plans then and try to go that route as it would be nice to get all that back to one machine.
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