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I am new to database world and would like to know what are crucial hardware specs when it comes to database performance. I have searched the internet and found this so far (In order of decreasing importance):

1) Hard Disk: Get an SSD basically (much more IOPS than spinners)
2) Memory:    Get as much as you can afford
3) CPU:       For the same $ spent, prefer larger cache size over speed.

Are these findings sensible?

EDIT: I would like to focus on CPU speed VS CPU cache size.

EDIT2: The database is used to store some combination of ints and int arrays with few text fields. There are a lot of Select queries looking for existing entries. If entry is not found, then insert it. I would say most of processing would be trying to find a match across a table with 200 columns and 20k rows. The insert statements are very few.

EDIT3: Also, we have a lot of views (basically select queries).

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More info would help. What database? What is teh DB doing? – Dave M Apr 11 '12 at 21:26
Added use case. – nulltorpedo Apr 11 '12 at 21:32
Basically every component of a DB server is going to be based on the specific application. There are no easy answers. Your DB could be minimally utilized, to the point where a 386 from 1990 would be sufficient. Or it could be a heavily loaded OLTP system, where a medium cluster of the most powerful machines available would still be stressed. – Chris S Apr 11 '12 at 21:49

Something like this is going to be very subjective. It depends a lot on what your database is doing. Some require faster disks and less processor while others require the opposite.

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what are your thoughts on CPU speed vs cache size? Are those application dependent as well? – nulltorpedo Apr 11 '12 at 21:25
Its a balance usually, you need to do some testing to see what your DB prefers then buy the best thing you can get in your budget. Theres usually a sweet spot that takes some work to find. – ErnieTheGeek Apr 11 '12 at 21:31
From the edits it doesn't sound like you'd need anything too crazy. – ErnieTheGeek Apr 11 '12 at 21:34
we hit performance issues when the server is doing its nightly backup and vacuuming and cron jobs are running (20-30) accessing the database. we currently have a xeon 2 core 5160 4MB 3.0GHz 7200rpm machine. – nulltorpedo Apr 11 '12 at 21:41
If your box is aging I'd say replacing with any mid-range quad core system, probably shoot for something with like 8MB on it. You currently running raid? If you've got the budget for it raid 10 on SAS or even high end SATA would be great for you. – ErnieTheGeek Apr 11 '12 at 21:46

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