I'm making a Xen server for my house. It's going to run something like the following VMs:

  1. Windows 7 VM as a personal/frag box (I anticipate doing some 3D gaming via a VT-d passthrough of a video card)
  2. Linux development server (CentOS--low load webserver for me to play with Django on).
  3. Nexenta ZFS file server (potentially with a VT-d SAS card, but not sure yet)
  4. Windows Server 2008R2 Domain Controller.
  5. Windows 7/XP test environment.
  6. Linux (probably gentoo) test environment.

The last two won't be on all of the time, nor will I be doing development/heavy load tasks on the other VMs while I'm using the first to play games or whatnot.

My question is this:

Should I buy a single-socket motherboard and a single CPU, or a dual-socket/dual CPU combo? I know it depends on the CPU: If I go with the single option, I'll probably buy a Core i7 2600 or better CPU (not the K edition, since it apparently doesn't support VT-d). If I go with the double CPU option, I'd probably buy two somewhere in the 5520-5550 model range. Obviously these are at different price points, and I'd prefer the cheaper option, but I don't want to trade low cost for performance. How necessary is dual-processor configuration for this server? What other suggestions do people have for this build? I ask because it's very difficult to match Xen performance benchmarks to specific use cases like this, and am hoping that others have anecdotes/references that I don't.


closed as off topic by womble, joeqwerty, Sven, Ladadadada, Rob Moir Mar 6 '12 at 22:32

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  • with virtualisation , get as much memory, cpu, disk, everything that you can! – The Unix Janitor Mar 6 '12 at 22:13
  • Home machines are off-topic for ServerFault and shopping questions are off-topic for StackExchange. You might have better luck on a Xen-specific forum. – Ladadadada Mar 6 '12 at 22:31

2,3,4,5,6 do not seem to be CPU intensive applications, but the 1 worth a CPU with more processing power. An I7 when you need CPU power (especially when it has to make calculations) can be more effective then the 55xx Xeon. We benchmarked them several times.

The only reason to go for 55xx this time if you need more memory than 24 gig, because i have not seen any desktop with more ram in it, and the server chipsets support more mem.

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