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That's the processor I'm thinking about getting for a home server / development machine. Going for $80 as intel motherboard + dual core processor combo is a really tempting deal.

What I'm planning to do is ethernet/wifi sharing, rails development and some minor other tasks. Would this be a good choice as a platform to run XEN on? It doesn't support VT, but I'm not planning on using an OS that depends on it to run on XEN.

My question is, would this processor be capable as a light server machine to run XEN and aforementioned services. How powerful exactly are these little boys are?

If you have one, what's your experiences? If you don't, would you get this or search for some more powerful options (possibly Phenom X3?)

Thanks!

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Not appropriate for Serverfault. Per the faq; "if you paid for that desktop hardware, and it's your personal workstation, it is unlikely that your question is appropriate for Server Fault." And "This is not a discussion board, this is a place for questions that can be answered! " –  Brian De Smet Jun 11 '09 at 17:57
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closed as off topic by Jeff Atwood Jun 11 '09 at 22:59

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2 Answers

I have the Atom 330 on the Intel D945GCLF2 motherboard and I use it as the base of a home file server. I've played around with it doing other things, but at the end of the day, if you're expecting real power, get something else. If you just want to do the small development and testing you mentioned above, it's not bad for the cost.

More than the processor, I think it's most limited by the lack of ports on the D945GCLF2 and similar motherboards. If you want a huge file server, it's difficult because of only two built-in SATA ports. If you need memory for virtual machines, the single slot with a 2GB max is not that much these days. For network sharing, it only has one built in network port. All of this and only a single PCI expansion slot so you can only really give it one "boost" (extra SATA controller, extra network ports, wifi card, whatever).

I never compared it to the Phenom X3 or similar. I did compare it to regular Intel desktop processors which would have used a lot more power and ran a lot hotter and noisier and to 2 and 4 drive NAS boxes which ran much slower and had less flexibility.

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This really shouldn't be on server-fault, given this is for home, but I'll try to answer a little more generically.

If you're going to be creating a server for virtual machines, the limiting factor will be memory; the more memory you have, the more machines you can run at once. Processing power is probably a secondary concern. Obviously the more virtual machines you run, the more processing power is likely to be needed, but it depends on how much stress you're going to be putting on those virtual machines. If you're doing something like testing your code on different platforms, you're most likely to be doing that on one server at a time, in which case you could probably get away with a lower powered server. If however more than one person is accessing them at the same time, or they're all interconnected, then you're going to want something higher powered.

As far as the atom processor is concerned, I have a dedicated server for personal use based on one, with 1GB memory and it hasn't felt slow or a bottleneck. Obviously for a busier site it would be completely inappropriate. For the price, it might be worth buying anyway.

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