BUILD Xeon CPU: One vs. Two

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rmflint

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I have two Intel Servers, one contains a single Xeon CPU and the other has two.

First question: Would two processors have any benefit over one for a Freenas server?

Second question: Would there be much power savings if in a system with one vs. two processors?

Motherboards: Intel Server Board S5000PSL
CPUs: E5405 @ 2.00 Ghz x 1 or E5440 @ 2.83 Ghz x 2
Memory: both systems have 20GB of ECC memory
 

Chris Moore

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You can expect 2 processors to burn more power than one but that depends on the exact model of the processor and how much it is able to idle to a lower power state. How active will the system be?
The advantage of two CPUs, and the reason that servers were often equipped with them, is that you can address more RAM with 2 processors and you have access to more PCIe lanes. Both of those features are useful, but the number of cores is not as important with FreeNAS. However, it might become more important if you want to do any virtualization.

It is really down to what you intend to do with the hardware? Besides just run FreeNAS.
 

rmflint

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Thanks Chris. Initially I just want to create a fast media server with one and a backup server with the other. I don't have any experience with virtualization but the more I learn about it seems like a great way to take advantage of the hardware.
 

joeschmuck

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How about moving the CPUs around, place the E5440 CPUs in each motherboard and you end up with identical systems and the fastest CPUs. Both CPUs have 4 cores and that is more than fine for FreeNAS.

Take the third CPU and stash it away for a rainy day.
 

Stux

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Only quad cores, quite slow with front side bus issues.

Might struggle to saturate gigabit.

I’d use the higher clocked dualie as primary and the other as backup.
 

joeschmuck

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Only dual cores
The Both CPUs R5405 and E5440 have 4 cores according to the ARK page. I'm no expert on these motherboards but if they boot up FreeNAS, they should work fine for the intended use case. They have SATA-2 connectors and the CPU's are more than fast enough.
Initially I just want to create a fast media server with one
This could be the only consern, you need to specify what you mean by fast media server. If you do not need transcoding then it will be fast. If you need to transcode 4K content then it may work but you will need to test it out. Do you want to use Plex?

Might struggle to saturate gigabit.
I don't see that based on the hardware presented.

Since you have these servers I'd stop asking if they would work and put things into motion and give them a test. If you are wanting to try this without buys a lot of hard drives then I'd suggest you try it using a single hard drive just to test things out. You are always better off if you give yourself a few weeks to play with the system before committing to a setup. Create a pool, destroy a pool, do everything you can think of because the time to do bad things is before you put your data on it.
 

Chris Moore

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CPUs: E5405 @ 2.00 Ghz x 1 or E5440 @ 2.83 Ghz x 2
I looked the E5440 up on the Intel site and it is a very old LGA771 socket chip, the CPU Mark for it is only 3994:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5440+@+2.83GHz
It should run Plex for one transcoded stream and a couple direct-play streams, but you may be disappointed in the performance.
It might not be a bad way to get started, but these systems will be slow-ish and they will burn more power / produce more heat, that a more modern system. There is also basically no support for virtualization in this model because that was not much of a thing back then.
You could get your feet wet with this, but be thinking about a newer system. I don't advocate brand new because, just like with a car, the one that buys it new pays a huge premium, just because it is new. You can buy some good server gear second hand if you keep your eye out. You probably want to stay under 5 years of age though. This was first released in 2009.
 

Chris Moore

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You are always better off if you give yourself a few weeks to play with the system before committing to a setup. Create a pool, destroy a pool, do everything you can think of because the time to do bad things is before you put your data on it.
I agree completely with this. Try everything once before you put any data on the system. These CPUs don't have hardware encryption capability, so don't try that. It would be very slow with no hardware support.
 

Stux

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I don't see that based on the hardware presented

I’m basing that on the fact I have a FreeNAS system with the same era quad core in it. It tops out at about 700mbit

Granted, that’s for ssh replications, and iirc there is no AES-NI on these chips
 
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Those chips also are unable to support BHYVE so no VM's. Have to be using at least the 5600 series or better for that to work.

You will be able to run some jails but with the FSB things will be slow when transcoding so it's going to be really important to have the media in a format your devices like.
 

joeschmuck

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I’m basing that on the fact I have a FreeNAS system with the same era quad core in it.
You got me beat, I've no experience with this CPU with respect to FreeNAS. I am a bit surprised it does top out like that.
 
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