Best Bang-for-the-Buck ASUS MoBo for running VMWare?

Discussion in 'Asus' started by Lynn, May 18, 2008.

  1. Lynn

    Lynn Guest

    My old P4P800-E Deluxe (3GHz CPU, 3GB RAM) has been serving me well
    for running VMWare 5.5.4 so far.

    But times are changing and what was considered fast enough 3 years
    ago, is considered slow today... Time to upgrade.

    I have been "sleeping" for a while, not really tracking the hardware
    MoBo/CPU market. I have heard "Core 2 duo" and "Quad Core" and if I
    understand correctly, the more cores/CPUs I have in my PC, the better
    VMWare will perform. Is this correct?

    If so, then Quad-Core (or more) is for me. But the problem is...
    *which* Quad-Core? If you look at newegg.com, you will see a range of
    Quad-Cores (52 of them), starting from $215 only:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115017

    and going up to $2,389:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117040

    So the first obvious question is: why such huge gap between one Quad-
    Core and another?

    But more importantly, I would like to know which one of those provides
    the "bang-for-the-buck" (i.e. Performance/Price ratio) ?

    It seems that *any* Quad-Core will MUCH better than the 3GHz HT P4 CPU
    that I currently have. However, if I am going to replace motherboard,
    put more memory (at least 8GB RAM), I'd rather pay for a worthwhile
    Quad-Core.

    Any recommendations?


    Thank you!
    Lynn
     
    Lynn, May 18, 2008
    #1
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  2. Lynn

    Paul Guest

    The $2389 Xeon is socket LGA771. So that would more likely be for a
    server board of some sort.

    If you select Intel/LGA775/quad_core, the list is a bit shorter.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...E&N=2000340343 50001157 1051707842 1302825342

    Factors separating the processors are:

    65nm versus 45nm (different generations of silicon, small % more performance in 45nm)
    rated power dissipation (sometimes, the smaller geometry ones are lower power, but check the spec)
    FSB1066 to FSB1600 (affects potential bandwidth, but also affects overclockability)
    core speed

    When you get to 3GHz, generally that is about $1000 for a quad. Yet a
    2.4GHz to 2.66GHz core is not that much slower, and might run $280.
    If you visit the enthusiast sites, they continue to like the
    FSB1066 processors, as there is more headroom to go from
    FSB1066 to FSB2000, than there is to go from FSB1333 to FSB2000.
    That is for the purpose of overclocking, by increasing the FSB speed
    so that the core will run faster too.

    Now, whether overclocking is part of your purchase plan or not, is
    a personal decision. Some people are opposed to overclocking, some
    people want "dependability" in their machine due to the applications
    they run, and so on.

    So you can buy a 2.4Ghz Q6600 or a Q6700 at $280, and overclock easily
    to 3GHz, or you can spend $1000 and buy a processor that runs at
    3GHz without overclocking. That is where philosophy meets economics.

    For a reliable system, you'd probably want ECC protection on the memory.
    But in desktop systems, that is becoming increasingly difficult to get.
    There simply aren't enough documented experiences of a working ECC,
    like on a LGA775 desktop like one of the X38 based ones, to buy one with confidence
    that the ECC feature will be fully working in the OS of your choice. At
    least, I cannot quickly find any experiences like that. I see people
    asking questions, but not a lot of answers. Some X38 based boards don't
    even mention unbuffered ECC DDR2 memory as an option. (And yet ECC support
    is mentioned in the Intel X38 chipset datasheet, downloadable from the
    Intel site.)

    http://shop.kingston.com/partsinfo.asp?promo=PRCGRBR&ktcpartno=KVR800D2E5/2G

    If you go with a server system, say socket LGA771, and FBDIMM memory,
    it may be easier to get working memory protection that way. The server
    market is more conscious of the need for ECC, so the feature is more
    likely to be working in the BIOS and elsewhere. But that is a lot
    more expensive way to build a computer. (FBDIMMs are 2x to 4x more
    per GB of memory. Just because they know they can get the dollars for it.)

    If you're going with 8GB of memory, that amount of memory increases the
    chances of occasional memory errors. Memory subsystems which are 72 bits
    wide, rather than 64 bits, allow algorithms that allow single bit memory
    errors to be corrected. Typically called SECDED (but on Athlon64
    systems, Chipkill is a second option for an algorithm).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SECDED

    (This doesn't go into details, but I included it for completeness.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipkill

    HTH,
    Paul
     
    Paul, May 19, 2008
    #2
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  3. Lynn

    Lynn Guest

    You bet it helps. Thank you very much, Paul!

    Your answer helped me focus on the kind of CPU I am willing to
    "invest" in. I will definitely go for the Q6600 or Q6700. I am
    froogle. Which also means that I have no intention to invest in ECC
    for my desktop system. I never used ECC and I never regreted it. My
    approach is to buy a "well reviewed" brand/PN memory. It worked for me
    with configs of up to 3GB. I hope that it will work with 8GB as well.

    So now, that I am zeroed in on the Q6600 or Q6700, which ASUS MoBo do
    you recommend?

    My preferences: Integrated everything - even video. I don't do gaming.
    Most of my graphics are business type, perhaps photo/video editing
    every now and then. In fact, the most important feature to me in a
    MoBo is *minimum* number of fans...

    I hope that I am not too picky. :)

    Thanks,
    Lynn
     
    Lynn, May 19, 2008
    #3
  4. Lynn

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Paul" typed:
    ?


    Paul, you didn't address this question and it's one I'm interested in the
    answer to as well. I've recently been asked for advice on what hardware to
    use for a particular build and one of the uses was VMWare. Knowing the
    answer to this (as I am unfamiliar with VMWare) would help me advise him.
    Currently I've advised him to go with a C2D E8400. I might have to revise
    that advice depending on your answer.

    Oh, to keep it on topic, I've advised him to get a P5K-E.

    Cheers,
     
    ~misfit~, May 19, 2008
    #4
  5. Lynn

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Bill" typed:
    Ahh, ok. Thanks Bill.
     
    ~misfit~, May 19, 2008
    #5
  6. Lynn

    Paul Guest

    Integrated video, generally means going with a microATX board. There
    are occasionally full sized (12"x9.6") motherboards, that use an
    integrated video Northbridge, but there won't be nearly as many to
    choose from.

    Another thing about microATX, is there is a tendency to focus on
    the building of cheap business boxes. Sometimes, that means using
    a barely adequate Vcore regulator.

    A second focus for motherboard companies, is the possibility of
    using microATX boards for HTPC applications. In which you may
    find "integrated everything", like perhaps even a Firewire connector
    on the back. And perhaps an HDMI and a VGA connector. But again,
    the Vcore for powering the processor, may not be the best.

    So, in advanced search, I'd try formfactor="microatx", socket="LGA775",
    memory_slots = "4x240". That returns about 19 choices. The 945 chipset
    is out, because it is limited to 4GB. The most recent ones (may cover
    FSB1333) are G33, G35, Q35. Q35 has AMT (remote server management
    technology - used by IT staff for waking the computer at night and
    doing updates, or rebooting a crashed machine remotely).

    (Chipset comparison charts)
    http://compare.intel.com/pcc/showchart.aspx?mmID=28998,29002,29000&familyID=10&culture=en-US

    (Newegg motherboard page for Intel boards)
    http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=280&name=Intel-Motherboards

    Some choices -

    GIGABYTE GA-G33M-S2L LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX (pretty basic board, vga out, $95)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16813128085

    ASUS P5K-VM LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX (basic board, firewire connector, vga out, $105)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16813131187
    http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?board_id=1&model=P5K-VM&SLanguage=en-us

    One thing to check on these, is what kind of VGA output resolutions they
    support. With stuff over 1280x1024, sometimes there are driver induced
    surprises. It isn't always easy ferreting out info on the available options.
    The hardware itself might not be at fault. Sometimes it takes more than
    a year for an integrate graphics driver to mature and be whipped into
    shape.

    The Asus P5E-VM HDMI is a little more upscale. It has an HDMI (digital)
    output for driving a monitor. Using a HDMI to DVI adapter plug, you
    get the more conventional DVI-D connector. DVI-D is popular on the
    cheapest of LCD monitors (some LCDs now, don't have a VGA on the back).

    http://c1.neweggimages.com/NeweggImage/productimage/13-131-237-04.jpg
    ASUS P5E-VM HDMI LGA 775 Intel G35 HDMI Micro ATX (firewire, vga, HDMI, $130)
    A few problems noted here. Avoid early revision boards. Probably not capable
    of driving two displays at the same time, but who knows.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16813131237
    http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?board_id=1&model=P5E-VM+HDMI&SLanguage=en-us

    Experiences with 8GB.
    http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx...id=1&model=P5E-VM+HDMI&page=1&SLanguage=en-us

    Paul
     
    Paul, May 19, 2008
    #6
  7. Lynn

    Lynn Guest

    Thanks, Paul.

    I changed my mind. "Integrated everything" is not the most important
    feature for me now. User rating is. Here is what I did on newegg.com:
    I typed in the search box "LGA 775" only.

    Then selected "Intel Motherboards", then "Top Sellers". This narrowed
    down the result set to 28. I then sorted the list by "Best Ratings".

    I was surprised to see at the top "GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L" (1262
    reviews) and "ABIT IP35 Pro" (711 reviews) while "ASUS RAMPAGE
    FORMULA" was trailing far behind with only 50 reviews. Why so few
    reviews for the ASUS? Is it because it costs 3 times more than the
    GIGABYTE?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131284

    OTOH, I looked at the photos of both motherboards and the ASUS looks
    far more professional: heatpipe cooling technology, separate audio
    card (I hope this means better S/N)... Nice!

    In my el-cheapo mind I now have to justify spending extra $200 for the
    ASUS motherboard... I will check the reputation of these 2 boards with
    LINUX, then it will be easier for me to make a choice.

    Lynn
     
    Lynn, May 19, 2008
    #7
  8. Lynn

    Paul Guest

    Cost has a lot to do with it. For the enthusiast camp,

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/

    if a board has the goods, and allows a high overclock while
    remaining stable, then that could mean extra sales. Not to the
    level of getting 1262 reviews, but doing better than 50 reviews.

    It is when a board is expensive, and doesn't distinguish itself,
    that it gets passed over. It is possible, that the buying public
    is trying to send a message, that X48 is expensive for no good
    reason. Some media articles have already suggested X38 as a
    more cost effective solution, with a similar feature set
    to the X48.

    http://compare.intel.com/pcc/showchart.aspx?mmID=54987,29003&familyID=10&culture=en-US

    Paul
     
    Paul, May 19, 2008
    #8
  9. Lynn

    Lynn Guest

    I noticed that the main difference is the 1600 MHz system bus speed on
    the X48. I also checked the X38 ratings. it has more reviews than the
    X48 but lower rating... (4 stars at most):

    http://tinyurl.com/6etsj8

    Interesting learning experience for me.

    Thanks,
    Lynn
     
    Lynn, May 19, 2008
    #9
  10. Lynn

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarweb "Lynn" typed:


    [snip]
    Often people don't bother reviewing products that they're happy with. In
    general, if someone's not happy with a product, they're far more likely to
    want to say so than if they *are* happy. Less reviews doen't mean worse
    quality.
     
    ~misfit~, May 21, 2008
    #10
  11. Lynn

    Lynn Guest

    Ubuntu 8.04 (Linux).

    Do you foresee any problems with such configuration?

    Thanks,
    Lynn
     
    Lynn, Jun 4, 2008
    #11
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