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Thread: Q9550 vs i7

  1. #1

    Q9550 vs i7

    I am looking build and ship out a Quad Core server. I am debating if I should build an i7 or a Q9550. I know of course the i7 out performs the Q9550 but it's not like WOW this thing kills the Q9550. The things to keep in mind , the i7 will use what ~1.5 amps ? were the Q9550 ~1.1 amps ? I was also told that the i7 will need to use a 2U case as there are cooling problems if you go with a 1U case. So keep in mind 2U / more amps which can lead to increased colo costs.

    The i7 also costs a fair bit more to build ~$400-$500.

    Thoughts ?

  2. #2
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    Seeing your website, tells me that you run game servers. And running game servers my friend is all about CPU if you want good performance out of it.
    Skip the RAM, skip the hard drives. Go for the best CPU for game servers.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by portlane View Post
    Seeing your website, tells me that you run game servers. And running game servers my friend is all about CPU if you want good performance out of it.
    Skip the RAM, skip the hard drives. Go for the best CPU for game servers.
    Thanks but I was not looking for advice on how to run game servers and you must have not read my post at all. I have been running game servers for close to 4 years don't exactly need advice on that. anyhow, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFactorServers View Post
    I am looking build and ship out a Quad Core server. I am debating if I should build an i7 or a Q9550. I know of course the i7 out performs the Q9550 but it's not like WOW this thing kills the Q9550. The things to keep in mind , the i7 will use what ~1.5 amps ? were the Q9550 ~1.1 amps ? I was also told that the i7 will need to use a 2U case as there are cooling problems if you go with a 1U case. So keep in mind 2U / more amps which can lead to increased colo costs.

    The i7 also costs a fair bit more to build ~$400-$500.

    Thoughts ?
    The I7's a hot chip, i personally dont see the need for one in a server if the Q9550 performs about the same.

    The fact that it not only costs more to build but also in colo costs for something thats not a big kick just in my book would make it not worth it.
    "Unix is simple. It just takes a genius to understand its simplicity." – Dennis Ritchie

  5. #5
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    Look into Lynnfield Xeons. 95W TDP and 45W TDP. Both can be put into 1U now unlike the i7 920 or W3520.

    If your 1U colocation includes electricity, then get the Xeon X3440. Use Supermicro 3400/3420 chipset barebones. Core 2 is pretty much dead as a hosting platform since the Xeon X3440 is that cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tshen83 View Post
    Look into Lynnfield Xeons. 95W TDP and 45W TDP. Both can be put into 1U now unlike the i7 920 or W3520.

    If your 1U colocation includes electricity, then get the Xeon X3440. Use Supermicro 3400/3420 chipset barebones. Core 2 is pretty much dead as a hosting platform since the Xeon X3440 is that cheap.
    I believe he's asking for thoughts on the Q9550 and i7
    "Unix is simple. It just takes a genius to understand its simplicity." – Dennis Ritchie

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    Xeon X3440 is an "i7" for non-retards.

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    i was looking for Xeon X3440, but couldn't find anywhere selling it yet.
    then was considering using i7 860, but not sure which server board should be used, SM says they are not officially supported yet.

  9. #9
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    I would go for the i7. They will be halting production on the "LGA-775" Chips.

    Therefore I am going for the more modern technology.

    Don't skimp on any part. You want a good quality part for your server.

    Especially RAM

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tshen83 View Post
    Look into Lynnfield Xeons. 95W TDP and 45W TDP. Both can be put into 1U now unlike the i7 920 or W3520.

    If your 1U colocation includes electricity, then get the Xeon X3440. Use Supermicro 3400/3420 chipset barebones. Core 2 is pretty much dead as a hosting platform since the Xeon X3440 is that cheap.
    Ditto, the new Lynnfields (socket 1156) are a major upgrade. Not only will you get superior multi-threaded performance (quad core + HT = 8), but also superior single core performance with the new Turbo boost technology.

    With the competitive pricing and 95W TDP, there's no reason not to go Lynnfield on a single socket processor.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by hhw View Post
    Ditto, the new Lynnfields (socket 1156) are a major upgrade. Not only will you get superior multi-threaded performance (quad core + HT = 8), but also superior single core performance with the new Turbo boost technology.

    With the competitive pricing and 95W TDP, there's no reason not to go Lynnfield on a single socket processor.
    Yes, but there are no server mobos out yet maybe i'll wait but I still refuse to pay $1200+ for a quad core machine were I can pay $600-$700 for a Q9550 that is still pretty much top of the line.

  12. #12
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    People just don't know how to google sometimes.

    Lynnfield Xeons can be used in both P55 chipset mobos and preferably Intel 3400/3420 chipset mobos. The mobos are out already. Supermicro released like 6-7 boards couple of days ago, with dual Intel NICs. You can hardly find a mobo for your Q9550 that supports dual Intel NICs+ECC for cheaper than Supermicro. Asus also released RS100-E6 line of Xeon 3400 barebones. Tyan also has a mobo out.

    If you already had the precondition that you will buy the Q9550, then why the heck ask here? 600-700 for a Q9550 is pretty lame now. You can certainly build a Xeon X3440 for $600 too and beat the pants off the Q9550. Mobos cost the same, CPU costs about 20 bux more, and ram is almost at price parity between the DDR2/DDR3.

    Do what you like.

    Q9550 is not top of the line for performance, or performance per watt, or performance per watt per dollar. There are CPUs by Intel that beats the Q9550 by almost 2x in performance per watt per dollar now, you just have to open your eyes.
    Last edited by tshen83; 09-15-2009 at 09:49 AM.

  13. #13

    What I've seen

    Thanks for the informative thread.

    Looking at a low cost 1U solution, the Q9550 vs i7 debate is pretty interesting.

    The current LGA-1366 desktop i7 chips (920 and above) seem have TDPs of 130W. I'm unable to find a 1U compatible fans and heatsink solution that claims to cool a chip like this (130W). There are heatsink + ducted 1U chassis options it seems though. But then again that might mean a more customized (expensive?) chassis.

    The new i7's using LGA-1156 (Lynnfield) look great, but unlike the LGA-1366 chips they only have *two* memory channels, vs *three* on the LGA-1366 chips. But, according to this:

    See AnandTech article titled "Intel's Core i7 870 & i5 750, Lynnfield: Harder, Better, Faster Stronger" on page 7. (my account is too new to post links)

    it's not a major concern in most use cases. Though as 6 and 8 core chips are released this memory bandwidth limitation will be an issue (6 and 8 core chips will be LGA-1366 only).

    So I guess you have to choose:

    1. i7 LGA-1366 (130W desktop chips), but you can't cool the desktop chips in a 1u enclosure. Though for 100-200+ $ markup you can get the LGA-1366 Xeon E55xx series which are only 80W.

    2. i7 LGA-1156 (95W), but you can't upgrade to 6 or 8 core later

    3. Q9550 (95W), end of product line

    I can pickup a decent intel desktop board with onboard video for $80 for the Q9550. I'm struggling to find LGA-1366 or LGA-1156 boards under $200 with onboard VGA.

    This is just what I've seen, would definitely appreciate any feedback.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean_b View Post
    So I guess you have to choose:

    1. i7 LGA-1366 (130W desktop chips), but you can't cool the desktop chips in a 1u enclosure. Though for 100-200+ $ markup you can get the LGA-1366 Xeon E55xx series which are only 80W.

    2. i7 LGA-1156 (95W), but you can't upgrade to 6 or 8 core later

    3. Q9550 (95W), end of product line

    I can pickup a decent intel desktop board with onboard video for $80 for the Q9550. I'm struggling to find LGA-1366 or LGA-1156 boards under $200 with onboard VGA.

    This is just what I've seen, would definitely appreciate any feedback.
    You definitely won't be able to go 6 or 8 cores later with a socket 775 motherboard. With Lynnfield, you're not guaranteed to run into memory bandwidth constraints; there's simply the potential to, subject to your application. Whether the impact will outweigh the benefits of additional cores will also be in question. Either way, you will get more bang for your buck with Lynnfield, and still better upgrade potential.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tshen83 View Post
    Look into Lynnfield Xeons. 95W TDP and 45W TDP. Both can be put into 1U now unlike the i7 920 or W3520.

    If your 1U colocation includes electricity, then get the Xeon X3440. Use Supermicro 3400/3420 chipset barebones. Core 2 is pretty much dead as a hosting platform since the Xeon X3440 is that cheap.
    w3520 for the win.. is a tad more expensive,but¨ can be used in x58 mobos, runs colder and can be undervolted and run rock solid..not to mention is has 8 threads against 4. Even thoygh the q9550 is a very nice cpu ( it is in the top section of its platform taking its price into account) I would get the w3520. as an extra add on you could even buy a 2nd w350 and plunge it in a dual socket mobo when prices go down and you need more power

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    My personal opinion of the i7, is it's not a server grade chip. It was never meant to be built in servers, it's a desktop chip.

    I've got mine running at roughly 34C right now with 11 fans in my case, I spend about $25.00 a month in power on it and it runs roughly 12-14 hours a day, so when you take into account how much it would cost to colo a i7, it's significantly more.
    Not sure what to put here :-P

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mooseweb View Post
    My personal opinion of the i7, is it's not a server grade chip. It was never meant to be built in servers, it's a desktop chip.

    I've got mine running at roughly 34C right now with 11 fans in my case, I spend about $25.00 a month in power on it and it runs roughly 12-14 hours a day, so when you take into account how much it would cost to colo a i7, it's significantly more.
    Desktop vs Sever CPUS have no performance difference and run / last just as long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFactorServers View Post
    Desktop vs Sever CPUS have no performance difference and run / last just as long.
    This isn't true, the Xeon CPU, motherboard and RAM architecture all give higher performance than desktop architecture. Server CPUs also tend to use less power and they support ECC RAM which makes them more reliable.

    Maybe you are right in the case of the W5xxx Xeons as these aren't really server chips.
    Last edited by jpwjpw; 09-17-2009 at 07:08 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jpwjpw View Post
    This isn't true, the Xeon CPU, motherboard and RAM architecture all give higher performance than desktop architecture. Server CPUs also tend to use less power and they support ECC RAM which makes them more reliable.

    Maybe you are right in the case of the W5xxx Xeons as these aren't really server chips.
    Can you provide a source that xeon cpu/motherboard/ram is higher performance then desktop architecture ?

    I would love to see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwjpw View Post
    This isn't true, the Xeon CPU, motherboard and RAM architecture all give higher performance than desktop architecture.
    That is generally incorrect. You gain reliability (in terms of MB and RAM) and (sometimes) lower power consumption. In a server environment, these are often more important elements that gaining a minor performance edge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elvis1 View Post
    I would get the w3520. as an extra add on you could even buy a 2nd w350 and plunge it in a dual socket mobo when prices go down and you need more power
    I don't believe the W's can run as dual CPUs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooseweb View Post
    My personal opinion of the i7, is it's not a server grade chip. It was never meant to be built in servers, it's a desktop chip.

    I've got mine running at roughly 34C right now with 11 fans in my case, I spend about $25.00 a month in power on it and it runs roughly 12-14 hours a day, so when you take into account how much it would cost to colo a i7, it's significantly more.
    Right, because you probably have a Bloomfield CPU (130W) and not a Lynnfield (95W) like we've been suggesting. You can't use a bloomfield in a 1U case, and no one is suggesting that you do.

    Most Gainestown Xeons ring in at 80W, but are much more expensive than Lynnfields of comparable clockspeed. This is what makes Lynnfield so attractive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Core Game Servers View Post
    I don't believe the W's can run as dual CPUs.
    Correct, as they are Bloomfields. Only Gainestown (dual) and Beckton (quad or more?) will support multi-cpu configurations.
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    What happened with Lynnfield is that Intel realized that designing triple channel into the original i7 was a mistake because it cannibalized into their higher end Dunningtons. So ever since the release of i7 920, Intel had been regretting the design.

    Lynnfield is a castrated i7 in every way. P55 chipset is nothing but a southbridge that Intel used to sell for a few dollars. It makes up with crazy turbo boost and 35W less TDP.

    In the desktop setting, i7 920 or Xeon W3520 is every way a better chip. However, in hosting environments, the 35W TDP savings is huge. Plus it fits into the 1U case. Plus you don't have a 25W TDP northbridge X58 to feed. So TDP savings is close to 0.5Amp.

    People either get it or they don't. Get a 140W Phenom if you don't know what I am talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFactorServers View Post
    Can you provide a source that xeon cpu/motherboard/ram is higher performance then desktop architecture ?

    I would love to see it.
    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/04...tel_xeon_5500/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Game Servers View Post
    That is generally incorrect. You gain reliability (in terms of MB and RAM) and (sometimes) lower power consumption. In a server environment, these are often more important elements that gaining a minor performance edge.
    What do you mean? That makes no relation to the performance comment I made.

    You do get those benefits, but you do get a performance benefit as well. I'd never host any of my servers on desktop technology unless I had a completely redundant environment. I'd cut my budget elsewhere than skimp on server hardware.

  26. #26
    How is that a source... you are comparing a 55xx series to a i7 920... lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwjpw View Post
    What do you mean? That makes no relation to the performance comment I made.

    You do get those benefits, but you do get a performance benefit as well. I'd never host any of my servers on desktop technology unless I had a completely redundant environment. I'd cut my budget elsewhere than skimp on server hardware.
    I was pointing out that is what you get, there is generally no or little performance increase. The link you sent shows a single Xeon and a single i7 that run at the same speed running pretty much head-to-head . . .

    It came as little surprise that a single Xeon and the Core i7 delivered performance that was nearly identical.
    Obviously the Xeons are going to be faster if you use a dual-CPU setup, that's comparing apples to oranges . . .
    Last edited by Microlinux; 09-20-2009 at 03:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Game Servers View Post
    I was pointing out that is what you get, there is generally no or little performance increase. The link you sent shows a single Xeon and a single i7 that run at the same speed running pretty much head-to-head . . .



    Obviously the Xeons are going to be faster if you use a dual-CPU setup, that's comparing apples to oranges . . .
    He's looking for a single CPU solution hence the i7 versus a core2quad. Personally I'd stick with the Q9550, a little slower but significantly cheaper. I use a Q9550 and it is excellent, but I also just ordered a i5 750 for my home system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Game Servers View Post
    I was pointing out that is what you get, there is generally no or little performance increase. The link you sent shows a single Xeon and a single i7 that run at the same speed running pretty much head-to-head . . .



    Obviously the Xeons are going to be faster if you use a dual-CPU setup, that's comparing apples to oranges . . .
    Ah, you are right

    I obviously didn't read that properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFactorServers View Post
    How is that a source... you are comparing a 55xx series to a i7 920... lol
    The 55xx series use the same architecture as the i7's. It's an i7 965 they compare in that article but then it is to the workstation class W5580 so not really a good comparison.

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