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I have a certain budget for ordering a couple of new servers from a vendor. The new servers will run Windows Server 2008/IIS 7 with a lot of web sites (ASP.NET and classic ASP). They don't have to run SQL Server or any other database software. All databases are on other, dedicated servers.

The servers will have 24 GB of RAM, but I'm not sure about the CPUs. What configuration would you chose between these two CPU options (both have four cores) and why:

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4 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'd be inclined to choose the 2x nelaheim processors configuration. You've said you'll be running a lot of websites which can translate to a lot of web application threads, and 2 4 core processors translates to a lot of multi-tasking ability, and the throughput on the newest intel processors is much improved over their older processors. You should also see some very good memory performance from that architecture too, which should help with serving website content nice and quickly.

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I'd second Nelahem. It's a big performance jump over previous generations and most system software has good NUMA support these days. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jun 18 '09 at 11:13
    
Correct spelling is "Nehalem-EP" (Gainestown) –  Taras Chuhay Jun 23 '09 at 21:27
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We beta-tested the 55xx series Xeons over the winter in a range of scenarios, including W2K8/IIS7. I can categorically state that for that software stack you will get significantly better performance for multi-site web hosting using the 55xx Xeons over any other mainstream processors, including AMDs Shanghai.

Whether they're better 'bang for the buck' is a different matter, only your own calculations can answer that because your discount levels will be different from mine, but you can be certain that a single E5504 will shred an X3363 in almost any multi-role environment.

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There are some interesting memory considerations (thanks Scott Lowe) with the 55xx's. To summarize, try to put 1 stick of 1333 MHz in each of the 3 memory channels per socket to reach your desired total (fewer big sticks). The more sticks per channel you have, the channels will (may) start to lower the memory speed (1066 / 800). In your case shot for 6x4GB Dual Ranked 1333MHz sticks. Your memory intensive IIS/ASP load will thank you.

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Thank you for the memory tip! –  splattne Jun 18 '09 at 19:03
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The 5504's will eat the 3363 alive and spit sand on it's carcass afterward. Depending on the actual server chosen it's also likely to be more easily expanded.

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