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RE: [Xen-users] CPU reccomendation?

To: "Tod Detre" <tod@xxxxxxx>, xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [Xen-users] CPU reccomendation?
From: "Petersson, Mats" <Mats.Petersson@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 18:37:56 +0200
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Thread-topic: [Xen-users] CPU reccomendation?
> Hi, I'm new to the list. Please forgive me if this has been discussed
> recently.
> I'm looking at buying a server for at home and I'm looking 
> for advice on
> which cpu to base it on. I will want to put a lot of vm's on this
> server, but the load will probably not be very high. Most of the VM's
> will be linux, but I love to try out OS's so I may try any OS that has
> an x86 port (including windows). The server I put together 
> will probably
> be 1 socket, but have a dual core chip.
> I know both Intel and AMD offer virtualization instructions on their
> chips, but I can't wade through the marketing fluff to figure 
> out which
> one I want. I'm also very new to xen so I don't really know 
> what to look
> for.
> I've been looking at the Opteron and the Intel Core 2. From 
> what I found
> the Xeon 7000 series is the conroe core. Is that right?

I don't know anything about the Intel numbering and it's relationship
with the actual core that is being used. 

I would also say that the difference between the Intel and AMD
implementations is very small - there's no inherent advantage in one
over the other - there are some minor differences in the actual way that
certain functionality is implemented, but that is only something that
bothers us that write code for either processor (or both in relevant

There is one or two notable differences: AMD has "paged-real-mode",
which allows the processor to run real-mode code (such as what's in GRUB
or the OS installer for example) in a virtual machine. It's not a big
deal, there is emulation code in Xen to do this on Intel processors, and
for most parts that emulation code works, and for the portions where
it's not working, there are people out there that are fixing things...

So the conclusion is that from a virtual machine standpoint, there's not
a whole lot to differentiate the two. There are probably a whole range
of benchmarks out there to prove that one or the other processor is
faster than the other running one thing or another. It's up to you which
ones you look at, and who you listen to. 

Obviously, if you check my mail-address, you'd know which I think you
should buy, but this is a public mailing-list, and I'm trying to give
open, non-biased advice. ;-)


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