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Though it's a n00bish question I haven't found any clear answer anywhere even after long days of googling.

Recently I am planning to use an AMD Opteron Quad Core 2350 for my home lab.
I'll not run it as a pro server. Rather I'll use it for development only. It will have the following things:

  • 2 instances of Apache Server (I'll need this)
  • 1 FTP server
  • always running VNC
  • MySQL, PostgreSQL
  • I need very fast compiler performance
  • I'll run several Eclipse driven tools like VPUML, Zend IDE, Eclipse or may be Net Beans, too

I'll also run a lot of desktop applications that every desktop user needs. Though this all can be run smoothly with a desktop processor like Phenom X4 I want to use a server processor for greater performance.

My question is would a server processor really increase the performance? If I run a lot of GUI Apps? Or it will decrease the performance?

Obviously there will not be heavyweight mathematical calculations. I am just fearing whether a server processor can afford GUI apps better than a desktop processor?

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migrated from Oct 20 '10 at 17:30

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Server chips generally have only one difference from their desktop counterparts: The ability to work with multi-socket motherboards.

EDIT: In your specific case, the Opteron 2350 is a 2.0GHZ Barcelona chip. It is therefore the same chip as the Phenom X4 9350e, except the Opteron can work with multi-socket motherboards.

EDIT2: Actually the Opteron has a TDP of 75W, while the 9350e has a TDP of 65W. I suspect there was a non "E" version of the 9350 which also had a TDP of 75W, but I can't find it at the moment.

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+1; answer is a slight oversimplification but is the stone truth 99% of the time. (See also Core i7 vs Xeon in 1366 socket; the only difference is in the QPI.) – Shinrai Oct 20 '10 at 17:48
@Shinrai: True -- just didn't think the more complicated differences really mattered here -- the difference is +/- 1% or less in any case. – Billy ONeal Oct 20 '10 at 17:54
They don't; I'm in complete agreement with you. ;) – Shinrai Oct 20 '10 at 19:43
:( What is QP ? – user36582 Oct 21 '10 at 5:32
@user36582: QPI == Quick Path Interconnect == The mechanism Intel uses to allow the processor to "talk" to the motherboard. AMD's equivalent is HyperTransport. – Billy ONeal Oct 21 '10 at 5:39

Looking for fast I/O (i.e. good SSD) will bring you much more than having server grade vs. desktop grade chips, equal core count assumed. In many cases IO is even more important, so the transition from good a SATA HDD to a good SSD will bring you more than the transition from 2 cores to 4 cores. Compiler and Postgresql could benefit a bit both by CPU and good I/O, the rest of your applications only benefits from good I/O

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That depends on the workload. Compile times aren't going to be helped much by an SSD, though the other workloads might benefit slightly. Load times will of course be improved with an SSD. – Billy ONeal Oct 21 '10 at 5:40
All longer compiles I do comprise of a vast amount of files (thousands), and a big portion of that is finding and loading those (IOPS helps here most). As is said, compiler and postgres will benefit from better CPUs and/or more cores. – knitti Oct 21 '10 at 7:23

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