cheap high perf HW
Thomas Waldmann @ EuroPython 2018
moar power wanted!
- have a powerful development machine
- test on all operating systems / platforms:
- linux, BSDs, macOS, OpenIndiana, Windows
- test on misc. releases of these
- 64 bit and maybe some 32bit also
- little endian and big endian (e.g. ppc qemu)
- use vagrant and VMs on a powerful machine
- experiment with multi-server setups using VMs
used workstation / server
- workstation class hardware is usually rather expensive (2K - 10K EUR) -- except when you buy refurbished!
- high performance PC for workplace, Tower
- few disks, many PCIe slots, may be quiet
- rather for computing center, 19" rack mount
- many disks, PCIe slots?, may be loud
- often better build quality than PC hardware
- find the sweet performance / price spot:
- might be ivy bridge (4yo) or
- sandy bridge (5yo)
- (as of 2018, subject to change...)
DELL T3610 Mainboard
DELL T7610 Mainboard
- S2011(-0) machines come for 1, 2, 4 Xeon CPUs
- Ivy Bridge "E5-6xx v2" Xeons (~4yo):
- price new, back then: ~ 250 .. 2500 EUR
- price used, now: ~ 20 .. 400 EUR
- few cores, highest clock (4c 3.7 GHz, 6c 3.5 GHz)
- medium cores, high clock (8c 3.3 GHz)
- many cores, medium clock (12c 2.7 GHz)
- check CPU cache size, it's important
- Sandy Bridge "v1" Xeons (~5yo) even cheaper
- S2011 Xeons take DDR3 ECC/reg memory DIMMs
CPU: Xeon E5-2667v2
RAM, lots of it!
- DDR4 is expensive right now (>10EUR/GB)
- used DDR3 ECC/reg is cheap (<2.5EUR/GB)
- used servers and workstations take DDR3 ECC/reg
(you can not use ECC/reg memory in a normal PC)
- 4 RAM channels per CPU
- 8+ DIMM sockets per CPU
- so 64, 128 or more GB are possible / affordable
- ECC is nice, no worries about undetected / uncorrected memory errors
RAM: DDR3 ECC/reg.
- older machines need a SATA device to boot
- for a higher performance extra device, use:
- a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot to M.2 NVME adapter card
- a fast M.2 PCIe NVME SSDs (like Samsung Pro 970)
- great for vagrant, docker or other busy FS
- workstations usually have quite some PCIe slots with many PCIe lanes (unlike PC hw)
- for even more performance, there are:
- PCIe 3.0 x16 slot to 4x M.2 NVME adapter cards
- but they require PCIe bifurcation support in BIOS and hardware (so x16 slot == x4 x4 x4 x4)
- this is rare and often badly documented
SSDs: M.2 NVME PCIe x4
- Recent CPUs are better with power saving
(but new machines are expensive / need DDR4).
- Ivy Bridge is already decent (22nm), while
- Sandy Bridge draws more power for less performance
- If you need it 24/7 on, newer is maybe better.
- If you need it now and then, doesn't matter much.
- Use Wake-on-LAN (WoL) to power it on when needed, even from remote (ssh).
- high TDP, high load = hot and loud
- refurbished workstation class laptops
- e.g. Lenovo Thinkpads (W or P series)
- there are some 4core machines (Xeon or i7-xxxxQM)
- workstation laptops might have 4 DIMM sockets,
so usually up to 32GB with DDR3.
- usually only SATA SSDs here except for very recent machines.
By Thomas Waldmann