OT: Was: Re: My next Workstation

Rashkae ubuntu at tigershaunt.com
Thu Jul 8 17:38:52 UTC 2010

Francisco Diaz Trepat - gmail wrote:
> I hope you don't mind me asking this here:
> Hi guys, I'm currently in the process of researching some hardware for my
> next ubuntu workstation.
> My goal is to spend between 500 and 600 uds, and I want to put some enfasis
> on what I think is the current bottle neck of speed this days, and that is
> Hard Drives.
> I would like to have a RAID array to have better performance.
> I am thinking in getting Intel 2 Core Quad 8300 processor. But I am open to
> other choices too. Because Ubuntu is more focus on software/fake RAID I
> would like a multicore processor, and 64bit arch sounds good too.
> So right now my options looks something like this:
> Processor   Intel Core 2 Quad 8300
> RAM         1 X 2gb DDR2 800mhz
> Mother      Intel Dg43gt
> HD          2 X 500gb SATA 3.0Gb/s
> If I could I would like more drives in RAID.
> And if possible real RAID?
>      I found about this controller: Syba PCI Express SATA II 4 x Ports RAID
> Controller Card SY-PEX40008
>      PCI Express with transfer rate 2.5 Gb/s Full Duplex channel. Fully Plug
> & Play compatible. Supports Raid function 0, 1, 5, 10. SATA II Interface
> I had some people comments about AMD but I am kind of unfamiliar and I
> thought the Quad was a nice processor but that it used to be too overpriced.

Price/performance between Intel and AMD is usually very close.  Intel 
currently offers the best performance CPU from their I7 and high end I5. 
  However, if you are looking for an older/budget cpu (like the Core2) I 
would strongly advise going with AMD system.  The motherboards tends to 
be more cost efficient (if you don't need high end 3d Graphics, you can 
get an AMD chipset moterboard with ATI video, which is well supported by 
Ubuntu, without having to pay extra for it.)  Also, all AMD cpu's 
support hardware virtualization, which you will want if you want to 
experiment with VM's.. (useful when you want to run Windows for that one 
app that you need, or what not.)  In contrast, Intel is removing 
virtualization support on several of their older CPU architechtures, and 
you have to be careful to verify the model number if you don't want to 
be saddled with a crippled cpu.

Raid, can, and does, double the maximum throughput of the hard drive. 
However, the real bottleneck in hard drive speed is the head seek time 
of random access, and performance benefits from raid to that are few.  A 
mirrored raid array will have very few, if any performance benefits at 
all.  If, however, you intend to combine the two drives in a stripped 
Array with no redundancy, you effectively increase your chance of 
catastrophic drive failure.  I've played around with it, it was fun to 
copy large files form one array to another at over 100MB/s, but actual 
performance of my day to day stuff was not really affected.  I find 
better results with Ubuntu by making sure I have lots of Ram available 
for cache.  That way, the system feels very responsive with the 
exception of when I first launch large applications after a re-boot.

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