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I've seen some people suggesting to get a motherboard that supports two processors and stick two Xeon Nehalem processors in it.

Could you use this system as a desktop PC or is this useless or even impossible?


It's more hypothetical question if Windows 7 would support such a set-up. I know you could just take an i7, but wouldn't two of those processors be a whole lot more awesome? Like the previous generation Skulltrails?

The idea would be to have a motherboard like this ASUS Z8NA-D6C Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX and two Xeons (since I don't think i7's could be used) Intel Xeon E5405 Harpertown to run something like Windows 7 Ultimate.

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8 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Dual processor desktop. Is it possible? Yes.
Should you do it? -- don't bother unless you have custom requirements for it.

In fact, do not even go beyond Dual Core processors.
Do i7 and Nehalam architecture in general have advantages? yes.
Recheck your need for a multiprocessor setup and take the call.

There are a lot of other hardware parts you can use the money on.
Memory for instance: Dynamic, Magnetic or Solid State these days!

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Ah thanks for pointing me back to those other questions –  Ivo Flipse Jul 27 '09 at 12:27
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It depends on the operating system you want to use. If you want to use Windows XP Home, I'd say it does not come with a multi processor kernel.

But the question is: Why would someone use a multi processor PC as a desktop PC? What about dual and quad core CPUs?

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If someone is going to shell out the cash for a dual processor system with multiple cores per physical processor (either a 4 or 8 core total system), why would they use the cheap home version of an 8 year old OS that only supports 32 bit architecture and is limited in almost every way conceivable by man? If you're gonna build an awesome system, throw the right OS on it. –  phuzion Jul 27 '09 at 13:08
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It's possible and great, but expensive solution. And if you didn't use software, which can use multi-processor, then it's useless.

If you are developer or you using VM software, you get some improvement. But still this question is subjective. Each user have opinion for this.

Developer

  • 1st CPU
    • OS, IDE, clients and others
  • 2nd CPU
    • VMs with servers (same configuration like production server)

But if you want better performace for your OS, it's better invest to SSD HDDs (Intel or Samsung), because HDDs is most slowest component in computers.


Multi-core vs. Multi-Processor Performance

Multi-core Vs. Multiprocessor, the advantage? at The Joel on Software Discussion Group

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I don't see any advantage in contrast to a dual core CPU on a workstation. –  Manuel Faux Jul 27 '09 at 11:46
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There is no reason why you could not... but beware that typically this might mean you need a whole bunch of components specifically suited to the motherboard too... from specific processors, to ECC memory, to in some cases, special expansion cards.

There is however a potential benefit in that multi-socket motherboards typically have a much better aggregate memory bandwidth than a multi-core-single-socket solution with the same total number of cores. Not to mention that there are usually more memory sockets meaning you can put a whole lot more memory in, which may make sense depending on what you intend to do.

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In normal desktop applications, the bottleneck is almost always I/O. So I'd say spend your money on one of those new Intel SSDs and lots of fast RAM.

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I also don't think CPU utilization is the problem most of the times. Better good a processor with a large cache and a shit load of memory so that swapping/disc I/O is not necessary. –  Alfred Mar 13 '10 at 12:34
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People did that all the time before they came out with those dual/quad core rigs.

In practice I saw a few people in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) with dual Xeons.

I'd follow some of these fellows advice and refocus your efforts though. Wasn't the main feature of Win7 not needing a lot of processing power?

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Dual Processors will be advantageous to you if you do a lot of number crunching with software that can take advantage of the multiple cores. If your performing typical user tasks however you'll never reach the bottleneck from the processors but as everyone else has note from the I/O.

Until you have a sufficient amount of memory for your computer to use to avoid hard drive thrashing (when your disk becomes used extensively for temporary / swap space) put your budget there. If you feel you have enough memory then upgrade your hard drives. A lot of people are recommending SSD (solid state) devices though they are still pretty expensive.

A cheaper alternative would be:

Fast Dual-Core Processor, a good helping of RAM (4-8 GB depending on need) and a simple 1+0 RAID array with some mid-high disks (good 7200 rpm drives with a healthy cache). Investing in a cheap SATA RAID card would probably be a much better investment than a dual processor setup.

If your a heavy multitasker / use virtual machines heavily - get a quad-core processor.

Overclocking Intel CPUs will get you extra bang for your buck, the Core2Duo's (Merom) seem to overclock nicely, the Quads are a bit tougher. For blistering performance in a single application - the higher clocked Dualcore will most likely win.

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Yes, absolutely !!
The EVGA Classified Super Record (SR-2) is an excellent board for LGA 1366 Core i7 and XEON 5500 - 5600 series chips. Sad to say, they have disappeared from the marketplace. They can be found used, but expect to pay between $500-$2,000 just for the board. If you don't want onboard audio or video, Supermicro dual Sockets can be had for $300-600 new. It all depends on what your use for it (the desktop) is. Are you building a workstation to crunch numbers, run scientific software or render graphics, CAD or fractal Flames ? Then it's worth it as you can utilize up to 24 threads of processing power at up to 3.3 GHz w/o overclocking. The chips & board for that described set-up will set you back $4,300 +. Yah, not cheap. If you just want to build one to say you have one, you would be better off putting your money into SSDs and RAM. If you can get the chips cheap, it will really cut down your costs but you need software designed for multi-threading to utilize/justify a dual or quad (AMD) socket system.
08 Jan 14

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