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I'd like to host a small server at home to use it as a router, file server, Docker containers host, TV box and so on, I'm looking for the cheapest option.

I have found some very cheap used desktop computers with 8GB DDR3, PCIe Gen3, USB3 ports and an Intel i5-3750.

My Thinkpad T480s containing a i5-8250U is really enough for what I want to do.

In PassMark, the i5-3750 has almost the same benchmark result as the i5-8250u. 7176 vs 7676 respectively

Can we really compare both CPUs like this? Can I expect the same power from the old desktop CPU even though it's using DDR3 and is old.

  • Just an FYI, there are CPUs that are designed with networking features built-in, which you may want to look into if planning on using this as a router. It would also be ill-advised to run a router OS (Sophos UTM, OpenWrt, etc.) on the same machine unless you're assigning the router OS it's own VM and installing the other OS, such as FreeNAS, in its own VM using a hypervisor like ESXi (free to home users) – JW0914 Apr 28 at 11:46
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It should be perfectly fine to compare the CPUs like that, and the results aren't that surprising, either. Mobile CPUs are optimized towards power consumption (increasing battery life and reducing heat), for which some of the raw CPU power has to be sacrificed.

If you compare the spec sheets for the i5-3750 and the i5-8250u, you'll see a huge difference in power consumption (TDP): 77W vs 15W! The difference in memory performance between DDR3 and DDR4 probably doesn't make that huge an impact on overall performance, as with the max bandwidth being 25.6 GB/s vs. 34.1 GB/s.

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    Agree. Just be careful for the "tv box" functionality if this is driving the display as graphics - and especially Intel graphics have come a long way and this is not reflected in the Passmark score. – davidgo Jun 28 '19 at 9:49
  • From what I've read, it should be enough to play 1080p video x264 and x265. Thanks for the comment anyway! – Alexis Jun 29 '19 at 6:37
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Depending on the application, sustained vs. burst load, etc. the results may not be directly comparable. Passmark is a short-term test which means that, generally, the CPUs will run at or close to(the turbo speeds aren't actually guaranteed and may depend on the cooling solution) their maximum turbo frequency(3.4GHz for 8250u, 3.8GHz for 3570). For a SUSTAINED load, especially for laptops, the CPU typically runs at closer to the base frequency(only 1.6GHz for 8250u vs 3.4GHz for 3570) which can have a dramatic impact on the performance compared to what you would expect if you just look at the benchmarks in a vacuum. The downside, of course, is that the desktop CPU needs beefier cooling and has much higher power draw over time.

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/124967/intel-core-i5-8250u-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-40-ghz.html https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/65702/intel-core-i5-3570-processor-6m-cache-up-to-3-80-ghz.html

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