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Multi-purpose PC Parts list help

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  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,060

    Yeah - your VM use is CPU-light, but could be RAM-heavy. A light command line Linux VM can get by on as little as 256M of RAM and still provide a single-point service (just a light SQL server, just a light email server, etc). Windows or anything with a GUI your going to want at least 2G per image (keeping in mind that graphics are emulated, so video ram comes out of that system ram pool as well). And the host OS you need at least 2G for it. And then RAM is one of those things you can't really have too much of, but you certainly can have too little of.

    CPU will largely depend on your gaming requirements past that. AMD will work find for the types of titles you list.

    I would probably go with a nice AMD build, look for at least 16G of RAM if you really are planning on running 4 VMs simultaneously, and then after the other basic parts are purchased throw the rest of the budget at the GPU. Quiz's build comes darn close to that, you just may need to juggle the video card a bit to double the RAM.

    Once your done running those VMs, 16G of RAM is overkill for a just a gaming machine - but any GPU apart from basic graphics is overkill for a VM host, so you are paying a bit extra to do both either way you look at it.

  • mklinicmklinic Member UncommonPosts: 1,639
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    Yeah - your VM use is CPU-light, but could be RAM-heavy. A light command line Linux VM can get by on as little as 256M of RAM and still provide a single-point service (just a light SQL server, just a light email server, etc). Windows or anything with a GUI your going to want at least 2G per image (keeping in mind that graphics are emulated, so video ram comes out of that system ram pool as well). And the host OS you need at least 2G for it. And then RAM is one of those things you can't really have too much of, but you certainly can have too little of.

    CPU will largely depend on your gaming requirements past that. AMD will work find for the types of titles you list.

    I would probably go with a nice AMD build, look for at least 16G of RAM if you really are planning on running 4 VMs simultaneously, and then after the other basic parts are purchased throw the rest of the budget at the GPU. Quiz's build comes darn close to that, you just may need to juggle the video card a bit to double the RAM.

    Once your done running those VMs, 16G of RAM is overkill for a just a gaming machine - but any GPU apart from basic graphics is overkill for a VM host, so you are paying a bit extra to do both either way you look at it.

    Agreed. I am working with the build Quizzical provided and will likely just add some RAM. I put it together in pcpartspicker at: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/GG8rWZ. That build shows the 8 GB as well as a different case. I've only ordered the HDDs and processor thus far and there is some room in the budget so pretty sure I can swing the extra RAM (as 2 x 8s or 4 x 4s).

     

    -mklinic

    "There's a point I think we're missing.
    It's in the air we raise our fists in."
    -from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against

  • AnirethAnireth Member UncommonPosts: 940

    Given that VMWare/Virtualiziation is listed, i'd definitvely use Intel CPUs. AMD *should* be enough for Windows, but they simply don't handle virtualization all that well. Even some older Intel CPUs are kinda limited. It's not the raw power, gaming shows that, but specific technologies that are (not) available and the support of that CPU by the VM software.

    I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
    And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
    Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
    And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,094
    If you're planning to upgrade the memory in a few months anyway, you might as well just go with 16 GB now rather than waiting.  That lets you get two 8 GB modules rather than two 4 GB now and two more 4 GB later.  Two modules rather than four means less stress on the system.  It also leaves room to upgrade again later if that becomes necessary.  More than 16 GB is thoroughly unnecessary for most people, but then, so is the capability to run 3 VMs.
  • mklinicmklinic Member UncommonPosts: 1,639
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    If you're planning to upgrade the memory in a few months anyway, you might as well just go with 16 GB now rather than waiting.  That lets you get two 8 GB modules rather than two 4 GB now and two more 4 GB later.  Two modules rather than four means less stress on the system.  It also leaves room to upgrade again later if that becomes necessary.  More than 16 GB is thoroughly unnecessary for most people, but then, so is the capability to run 3 VMs.

    i updated the build to show the 16 GB RAM (2 x 8): http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dkXRHx. It looks like there is a similar combo with the video card you listed as well so that's a nice bonus. Going to try to get the rest of the parts purchased this evening or tomorrow.

    Thanks all for the comments/advice.

    edit: One follow-up question. Looking at various AMD builds, it seems people tend to purchase a separate CPU cooler. Is that something to consider on this build or is the stock cooler fine? Guessing those separate coolers are for overclocking scenarios?

    -mklinic

    "There's a point I think we're missing.
    It's in the air we raise our fists in."
    -from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,094
    The stock cooler is basically always fine if you're at stock settings; at worst, it will be a little noisy and let the CPU run at temperatures hotter than desired but hardly dangerous.  Intel ships an awful stock cooler with their CPUs, so on a big enough budget to go with Intel, I usually recommend an aftermarket cooler.  AMD ships an okay cooler with their FX-series CPUs, so I wouldn't bother buying a separate cooler unless you're looking to overclock.  The cooler that AMD ships with their A-series APUs is about as bad as Intel's, but that's not what you're getting.  Though in a low enough power system (e.g., a Core i3 with discrete graphics), even the stock cooler will keep the CPU cool.
  • syntax42syntax42 Member UncommonPosts: 1,378
    I own a FX-8350 and the stock cooler on it is too noisy under gaming loads.  I replaced it with a $30 cooler that uses a large 120mm fan.  The Hyper Evo 212 cooler works well enough for overclocking.  The stock speed on the FX-8350 is 3.2GHz but I overclocked mine to 4.2GHz.
  • mklinicmklinic Member UncommonPosts: 1,639

    Well, I managed to pick up everything except the motherboard, RAM, and video card. The RAM and Video Card had sold out by the time I got to them.

    For the RAM: I noticed the same brand/amount was on sale today and the only real difference I saw were some timing and CAS latency differences: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231528. I can't imagine that the difference would be terribly noticeable, but figured I'd ask just to verify.

    Regarding the video card, I did't notice any R9 280 cards close to the price of the PowerColor card that Quizzical had listed. Assuming I'm not just completely overlooking one, would a 270 be sufficient? Is there another card I should be looking at or should I be looking for more money to put to the video card?

    Regarding the motherboard,  Would there be any value in getting a board that is a few bucks more or is one board as good as the next as far as my budget is concerned?

    I have about $50 of 'wiggle room' in my initial budget. I realize that may go to an alternate video card, but if the money would be well spent on a better motherboard as well, then I can drop to 8 GB of RAM and get another $50+ back. In that scenario, The RAM is for my use of the computer whereas the 8 GB would more then satisfy the wife and kids' use of the machine. I can circle back in February and fill out the RAM as needed.

    for what it's worth, here is the updated parts list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7fhGHx. I haven't added a cpu fan as I'll see how loud/hot the stock one runs considering I'm not overclocking. If it becomes an issue, I can revisit that.

    Sorry to keep coming back on this, but thanks for the continued feedback. It's been much appreciated.

    -mklinic

    "There's a point I think we're missing.
    It's in the air we raise our fists in."
    -from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,060

    The price of motherboards basically goes:

    Absolute junk level (avoid these at all costs)
    Barebones, but good
    Has additional widgets that you probably won't use
    Has heavy duty power delivery for overclocking
    Has additional widgets + heavy duty power for overclocking
    Has additional widgets, heavy duty power, and cool looking LED lighting

    Once you get into the Barebones but good level, everything else past that has a heavy price premium intended for niche uses that have to pay for it.

    DDR3 RAM:

    You want at least
    1.5V (or lower)
    PC 1333 (or higher)
    9-9-9 (or lower)

    The voltage is the most important part - some companies will sell 2300 or 7-7-7, but it has to run at 1.65V (which is technically overclocking, because the DDR3 spec says 1.5V).

    You won't really be able to tell much with regard to either the clock or the timings, and in most cases, the timings are more benchmarkable than the clock speed (although you won't see much from either).

    There will actually be a pretty substantial difference between a R9 280 and R9 270. The real question though, is will it matter? Looking through those benchmarks - a 270 can polay at 1080, just not always at High. A 280 will more often than not run at High. Neither can really get up to Ultra consistently. If your ok having to turn the occasional game down to Medium, then the difference doesn't really matter that much.

    Comparison Benchmarks:
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1332?vs=1080

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,060

    Also, starting out with 16G across 2 DIMMs and then upgrading later to 32 if necessary is a good idea if you really are thinking about pushing 4 simultaneous VMs.

    You could possibly start out with 8, and then upgrade to 16 (or 24) later on if needed as well - 8G will almost certainly start to struggle after 2 GUI VMs, but if you are running light CLI hosts you may can get away with more, or once they get up and running and the cache kicks in the performance is acceptable with a lesser amount (as long as you don't deviate the work load significantly).

    32G is a lot of RAM once you get away from those VMs. Even 16G is a lot of RAM for a gaming box.

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,950

    I know it's a little late, but I want to pipe in here about VM work. I do a lot of database work, for medical software, and run several different VMs on my workstation. I have 3 Win8.1, 2 Win7 and 1 Server2012. They each run Oracle or MSSQL Server. I run them to do programming, some query work and sql programming, and ETL (extract, transform, load) design using Pentaho Data Integration. I don't run them to serve other users or for network access.

    Like Ridelynn suggested I use VirtualBox because it's sufficient for what I use them for and it's free. One of my coworkers has a VMWare license and uses that. They both work fine. I'm not a fan of the new Hyper-V.

    There are a few ways VMs can work. The two main methods is through software virtualization and hardware virtualization. For both VMWare and VirtualBox in order to run 64-bit operating systems under the machine you must have hardware virtualization. For Intel that means running core i7 with a motherboard that supports VT extensions. Not all do, especially not the older hardware. Unless something has changed in the last generation or two for core i5 it won't support that.

    Another reason to use core i7 over i5 is hyperthreading and virtual cores. With i7 you can provide 2 - 4 virtual cores to the VM and let the OS and the hardware sort out which gets processor time. It's much more manageable.

    My VMs that run Oracle and SQLServer I usually give 2 cores and 8GB ram (I have 16GB on the host workstation). If I have to run multiple programs while running queries/reports and it's a heavy load I bump it up to 4 cores. I only run one VM at a time though so that is why each gets a bigger chunk of resources.

    Like Ridelynn said RAM is a major bottleneck and so is disk I/O. I would recommend a couple smaller (128GB - 256GB) SSDs if you can afford it. Have your OS on one physical drive and your VMs on others. Add other HD space as needed for your games and other software.

    Just some thought and feedback from someone who uses VMs a lot and does db work. In summary I highly recommend core i7 (or the AMD equivalent) and motherboard that supports virtual extensions. Don't skimp on the SSDs or RAM.

    Fedora - A modern, free, and open source Operating System. https://getfedora.org/

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  • mklinicmklinic Member UncommonPosts: 1,639

    Ridelynn,

    Thanks for the explanation. If I interpreted it all properly, it sounds like there is really no reason to spend more on the motherboard. As for the video card, not playing everything on "High" isn't really a deal breaker for me so the 270 may be fine.

    As for the memory, I think 4 VMs running concurrently would be uncommon. I specified that as my expected 'heaviest usage' scenario and typical usage would be 1-2 VMs. At any rate, based on your feedback, I am pretty sure I can go with the 16 GB to start and then, should I start running into more scenarios where that is tight, I can expand to 32 with the motherboard Quizzical specified.

    Torvaldr,

    Thanks. Like you, I would not run these to provide service to any end-users. In my scenario, the VMs would largely be used for AD DS/LDAP which aren't terrible resource hogs. I've had the luxury of running all this on a corporate ESXi and I only had to worry about the vSphere client. Now, I have more occasion to stand-up and test things in an environment I have more control over. Aside from the LDAP requirements, the SQL requirement would typically be a single DB deployment for product testing/dev. It may be that I can get away with a SQL Express install on the base OS as opposed to running it in VM. 

    I've not really tried VirtualBox, but I'll take a look. Historically, I've used VMware products with some exposure to MS' product over the years (largely in training labs/workshops).

    -mklinic

    "There's a point I think we're missing.
    It's in the air we raise our fists in."
    -from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,094

    So you see why I generally recommend buying something quickly.  Try this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127744

    Or if you'd rather scale the budget down some, there's this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500314

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