which dual board should I use? (freebsd, 64bit pci slots, gig-E, 3ware raid)

Discussion in 'Tyan' started by bryan, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. bryan

    bryan Guest

    anyone have any recommendations on which server class motherboard I
    should use?

    I will be running freebsd (latest stable, 4.9 probably). I'd like to
    have SMP, since its a server. any video onboard is fine since its a
    headless server and needs video only to boot. gig-ether onboard would
    be nice.

    what I really want is 'fast/wide' pci support. the usual workstation
    pci slots (32bit/33mhz style) that you get seem unserverworthy <g>. I
    am currently using a 3ware pci card and I love it, so I want to retain
    that. and I can also use a decent gig-e card, like an intel
    pro1000/xt. both support 'fast/wide' mode (as I call it) and so I
    want a motherboard that can do justice to server cards like those.
    i/o and bus thruput are the most important, here, I think. (the
    machine is going to be a compile/build server).

    big question: should I think about opteron/amd64 at all? or use dual
    k7-mp chips? or even dual xenon?

    remember, this is a headless freebsd box. optimized for the 3ware
    card and the gig-ethernet card - and good fat pipes from those devices
    to/from the cpu.

    given that, what's my ideal motherboard? a decent dream-system for
    build farms, that has respectible pci b/w?

    TIA,
     
    bryan, Feb 19, 2004
    #1
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  2. bryan

    Rob Stow Guest

    Xenon ? LOL :)
    A friend of mine built an Opty 240 dualie based on a Tyan S2885.
    Real sweet little system. 4 port SATA controller, built in gigabit
    ethernet, 3 or 4 PCI-X slots, 1 PCI, AGP Pro 2 slot. 4 DIMM
    sockets per processor. My memory is fuzzy on all those details,
    but you can find it easy at Tyan's site.

    He has beening running WinXP, the WinXP 64 bit beta, Solaris 64 bit
    beta, Red Hat, and a 64 bit Linux - Suse IIRC. He sometimes hangs
    out in the forums at places like 2cpu.com.

    Tyan also has similar boards that omit the AGP slot and give
    you integrated 8 MB ATI AGP video.
     
    Rob Stow, Feb 20, 2004
    #2
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  3. bryan

    Bruce Burden Guest

    :
    : what I really want is 'fast/wide' pci support. the usual workstation
    : pci slots (32bit/33mhz style) that you get seem unserverworthy <g>.
    :
    Currently I have a 2466-4m w/2600MP's that I use for a desktop.
    It will rebuild the 4.9FBSD source in 35 minutes.
    :
    : big question: should I think about opteron/amd64 at all? or use dual
    : k7-mp chips? or even dual xenon?
    :
    The only problem with Athalons is the heat that they generate.
    I understand that the Opterons are much better.
    :
    : given that, what's my ideal motherboard? a decent dream-system for
    : build farms, that has respectible pci b/w?
    :
    I have been toying with the Tyan S2885, as another poster
    mentioned. The best thing about it is that Tyan used AMI BIOS,
    rather than the Phoenix BIOS in the 2466.

    However, I don't need a faster system, and I tell myself that
    the 2-way Opterons are still too expensive. :)

    Personally, I prefer a bare-bones main board, since I have
    everything that I need to populate it, and it can be upgraded
    a lot easier...

    Bruce
    --
     
    Bruce Burden, Feb 20, 2004
    #3
  4. bryan

    bryan Guest

    should that matter much? once its booted and running BSD, it will
    stay running for months at a time. I will never overclock since its a
    production system, so not sure bios brand matters (does it?)
    I am not religious, so if xeon is the right thing, that's fine. its
    just that their chips are slower than opterons and their pci busses
    are not as nice as the latest chipsets from amd (pci-x etc).
    my view is that onboard items, as long as they're good brand items,
    are preferable to cards since there's no physical connectors to have
    noise or get oxydized. less phys contact = goodness, when it comes to
    long term reliability. I won't ever be able to find a good 3ware ide
    raid chipset on a mobo so that HAS to be a card. but I don't need
    video other than to boot the system, so I'd rather not have a card
    plugged in and blocking airflow and also possibly being a failure
    point later on. so onboard video and onboard gig-ether would really
    be nice to have.

    otoh, if gig-ether in today's boards go thru a less fast pci bus than
    some external card (for example, the intel pro 1000 that supports
    64/66 pci mode) then maybe it WOULD be better to ditch the onboard
    ether and just use a card.

    finally, power supply needs on a dual cpu system have changed since I
    last built one. it seems there is an eps12v standard. so I can't
    just use any decent atx ps anymore, can I? certainly not on an
    opteron! but maybe - MAYBE - on a dual xeon since those tend to use
    less juice than the k8 chips?

    and lastly, since its freebsd, I'm thinking that dual xeon MIGHT have
    better SMP o/s support than the very-new dual opterons. yes/no?
     
    bryan, Feb 20, 2004
    #4
  5. bryan

    Bruce Burden Guest

    :
    : should that matter much? once its booted and running BSD, it will
    : stay running for months at a time.
    :
    It matters when you are used to Award, and AMI is close in
    features/feel. Phoenix is very basic, so it doesn't have over
    temp features - that may be important to a co-loc server. Also,
    I need to enable USB, and I can't get the board to ack F2 - it
    drops into video and then into the Adaptec set up for the 29160.
    Sigh. Well, I was going to install the new BIOS anyway...

    But, yes, once running - who cares. It is a minor point to
    an otherwise good board.
    :
    : I am not religious, so if xeon is the right thing, that's fine. its
    : just that their chips are slower than opterons and their pci busses
    : are not as nice as the latest chipsets from amd (pci-x etc).
    :
    I am not willing to forgive Intel for Slot 1 and RAMBus.
    Now when there is an alternative. :)
    :
    : my view is that onboard items, as long as they're good brand items,
    : are preferable to cards since there's no physical connectors to have
    : noise or get oxydized.
    :
    As long as it is supported, that is a valid point. Naturally,
    the cards I have are supported, so it is one less thing that I
    need to check.
    :
    : otoh, if gig-ether in today's boards go thru a less fast pci bus than
    : some external card (for example, the intel pro 1000 that supports
    : 64/66 pci mode) then maybe it WOULD be better to ditch the onboard
    : ether and just use a card.
    :
    The boards I have looked at tie the Gig-E into the 64bit PCI
    bus. Of course, if you drop a 29160 into the 64 bit slots, you
    have just slowed your 64bit slots down. :-/
    :
    : finally, power supply needs on a dual cpu system have changed since I
    : last built one.
    :
    I have an Enermax 660W unit that supports ATX 2.0, EPS+12 and
    GES. I expect that I can get adaptors for the 24 pin connector if
    I need something else. Of course, it won't fit in a standard case,
    but... I don't
    have a standard case. :)
    :
    : and lastly, since its freebsd, I'm thinking that dual xeon MIGHT have
    : better SMP o/s support than the very-new dual opterons. yes/no?
    :
    No. One of the main FBSD servers is a dual Opteron box.
    The instruction set for SMP chips should be a hidden detail
    to the code, as long as it is properly designed. Since the
    Opteron's are an extension to IA-32 instruction set, I would
    not expect there was anthing significant between Xeon and
    Opteron.

    Now, Itanium may well be another story, since it is a completely
    different architecture.

    Bruce
    --
     
    Bruce Burden, Feb 21, 2004
    #5
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