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AMD Processor Advice please

lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 334
Registered: 26-08-2007

AMD Processor Advice please

Hi all
I have a Linux PC running Mandriva 2011, 64-bit version.
It has 8Mb DDR2 PC2-5300 RAM (max the board will take).
CPU is a Sempron 140 in an AM2+ socket.  The motherboard will take an AM2 or AM2+ CPU
The PC is mainly used as a file server for music, and sometimes  runs a Minecraft server.  Hence it sits in the corner with no keyboard, mouse, or monitor.  I do occasionally VNC to it and do a bit of desktop computing though (I'm writing this on a KDE desktop now).
Am I running it to the best of its ability (mainly for the Minecraft server) or would a cheap processor upgrade be a good idea?  If so,any suggestions?  I'm kind of looking at £20-£30 on eBay as a rough guide, but I don't really know much about M2/AM2+ sockets (the board will take both).
Cheers
-Dave
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.
11 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,382
Thanks: 5
Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

Ok - I've been through this decision myself and the result was "interesting" to say the least.
First thing to do is get a £8 power meter plug to see what your "server" is consuming power wise. My old Athlon system which I was using as a server was idling at between 180 and 200 watts. When I was video encoding it was consuming 280 watts.
Every watt you use equates to around £1 per year on your electricity bill. I soon realised that old power hungry technology was not going to be much good in the long term.
I looked at building my own server using AMD technology but it was just too power hungry. To get the kind of performance I wanted I'd have been using a quad core Athlon which would heat the house quite happily.
I settled on a couple of HP ML110 G7 servers and a N40L microserver. One ML110 is the E3-1220 and the other is the G840 - both idle at around 30-60 watts while the N40L idles at 30-40 watts. With the cashback I got on the servers, they will pay for themselves in under two years jut in power savings alone.
In fact the E3-1220 has so much spare processing capacity, I'm running three seperate servers on it through Virtualbox and turned the other two servers off. One will be kept as a backup (G840) the other (N40L) is being sold to a customer as a fileserver.
In answer to your original question (I assume you have 8Gb ram - not 8Mb ?), run the command "top" from a terminal prompt and see what your overall CPU usage is - if it's running at 100% or close to all the time then you could do with an upgrade.
lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 334
Registered: 26-08-2007

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

Thanks for the info.  Didn't know about Top (been running Linux for years, but still know very little about it). 
All that time spent on this forum typing "Mbps" has taken it's toll.  Yes I did mean 8Gb!
I hasten to add that the MS server only ever has my son & his friends on it (4 at most) and for most of the time only 2 users on the Lan.
I'll give it a hammering later on this evening and see what Top reports.  I've already found that the KDE Plasma Desktop running under VNC is a bit of a resource hog.
-Dave
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,382
Thanks: 5
Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

P.s. I run an Ubuntu 12.04 server with Virtualbox running a server for web and email, three DVB-T tuner cards and tvheadend for the PVR, a seperate development environment with KDE on another virtualbox session and it acts as a CCTV server using Motion and various Acer Revo machines (low power) with hidef webcams.
I'm about to set up some kind of web filtering / proxy server on it to enable my stepson to be able to browse the web a little more safely and monitor his usage.
Current power consumption looking at the plug with 4 hard drives in and everything running (including the APC UPS) is hovering between 80 and 90 watts
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
Thanks: 2
Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

I put a Phenom II X4 905e in an old AMD 690G Socket AM2 system, and it's still more than fast enough for anything I do (a few VirtualBox VMs, various games, SolidWorks 2013), and more responsive than the Athlon X2 BE-2350 it had in it before. I wouldn't go for a first-generation Phenom, but the Phenom II are decent enough, as are the Athlon X4. Just watch out for the 125W versions, because most AM2 boards and some AM2+ can't handle them (my 905e is 65W).
This Phenom system idles at around 80W (including a quad TV tuner and GeForce GTX660ti). My home server is based on a Sandy Bridge Core i3 and idles closer to 30W (before adding in hard drives), so is much more power efficient. As the Phenom is my desktop PC, it would take 6 or 7 years for the power savings to recover the costs of upgrading (motherboard + CPU + memory). If it was being used in my home server, the power savings would be more attractive.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

Similar to me CX - I use an Athlon X3 for my everyday workshop machine which is only on for a few hours a week at the moment.
The price difference between building a server with an Athlon vs a ready build HP Intel server (with cashback) was negligible - in fact it was marginally cheaper to buy a ML110 G7 when the cashback deals were running (G840 was around £120 and the E3-1220 was around £280 with an extra 4Gb ECC ram).
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
Thanks: 2
Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

Agreed, the HP cashback made their small servers very attractive. I bought an N36L Microserver to use as a backup server (came out at around £130 if I remember correctly) and then was going to pick up an ML110 when time came to replace the main server, but the deal had ended by then. My only complaint with the Microserver is that it doesn't support S3 standby.
lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 334
Registered: 26-08-2007

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

AT £60+ second-hand, a Phenom II is a bit out of my price range.  Sad
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,382
Thanks: 5
Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

Keep an eye open on www.hotukdeals.com and if you see a microserver N40L or ML110G7 pop up for <£110 then go for it.
What you'll spend out on the server you'll recoup over the next couple of years in energy savings Smiley
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,976
Thanks: 265
Fixes: 11
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

You could sell some of the excess memory chips.  Grin
You could also easily run a couple of virtual machines on it.

lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 334
Registered: 26-08-2007

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

What excess memory chips?  I only have one server, with two 4GB DIMMs on it.  Virtualisation is of no use to me as I have no other servers to virtualise. 
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.
lorisarvendu
Grafter
Posts: 334
Registered: 26-08-2007

Re: AMD Processor Advice please

I've just found a little setting in my BIOS called "unlock CPU" which has turned my Sempron into an Athlon.  Only had the PC about 2 years and never noticed that.
There are some obvious gaps in my education.
A tortoise? What's that?
You know what a turtle is? Same thing.