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Are cores or clock speed more important? (CPU)

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I'm trying to narrow down my CPU search. I'll probably run a bunch of Dockers. Don't know if I'll get into Plex yet but probably only have 3 users ever. 

 

What's more important for Dockers & VMs?  Number of Cores /Threads or overall speed? 

 

Comparing these: 

E5-2683 v3 = 17369 passmark 14 cores

E5-2690 v3 = 18487 passmark but has 12 cores

Ryzen 7 3700X = 23879 passmark but has 8 cores

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Cores never hurt, however neither does some long term planning. If you want to build and use VM's you will need cores, at least two per if not more depending on what you plan to do with them. So if you want, say three VM's, you'll need at least six cores off the bat. You'll always need some for unRAID itself, I would suggest a minimum of two, four would be better. So now we are at 8-10 cores. If you want to run plex, you'll need some more, at least four, maybe more. Better to start with more than you need rather than not enough, although upgrading can fix that. I would say cores are more important, but you don't want to get stuck with a slow CPU either, most in the E5 family are pretty good so I think you are ok.

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16 hours ago, ashman70 said:

Cores never hurt, however neither does some long term planning. If you want to build and use VM's you will need cores, at least two per if not more depending on what you plan to do with them. So if you want, say three VM's, you'll need at least six cores off the bat. You'll always need some for unRAID itself, I would suggest a minimum of two, four would be better. So now we are at 8-10 cores. If you want to run plex, you'll need some more, at least four, maybe more. Better to start with more than you need rather than not enough, although upgrading can fix that. I would say cores are more important, but you don't want to get stuck with a slow CPU either, most in the E5 family are pretty good so I think you are ok.

Thanks @ashman70 for the response. I'm generally hearing the same thing. I'll add a GPU for any Plex work. 

 

Now when you say cores, are you referring to physical cores? Or does the threading help with this? So the 14 core E5-2683 v3 will have 24 cores to distribute? 

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On 9/3/2019 at 10:47 PM, adminmat said:

I'm trying to narrow down my CPU search. I'll probably run a bunch of Dockers. Don't know if I'll get into Plex yet but probably only have 3 users ever. 

 

What's more important for Dockers & VMs?  Number of Cores /Threads or overall speed? 

 

Comparing these: 

E5-2683 v3 = 17369 passmark 14 cores

E5-2690 v3 = 18487 passmark but has 12 cores

Ryzen 7 3700X = 23879 passmark but has 8 cores

 

You are asking a sweeping question on a highly "it depends" matter.

For example, let's talk Plex:

  • The typical passmark recommendation is a generous generalisation of how much processing power you need to transcode. Because there are so many possible configurations out there, providing an "overall speed" rec is the least specific way to make sure 99% of users won't be unexpectedly disappointed.
  • Throw in the "right" combination (in my case, PGS subtitle on 4k HEVC mkv) and no amount of passmark will be sufficient because Plex only use 1 single core to transcode.

As for VM, it's just like normal barebone PCs. A gaming PC should emphasize more on single-core performance while an AI home-lab prefer more cores and a video-editing workstation needs a carefully balanced middle ground. And that's without considering available instruction sets from different CPU generation / manufacturer.

 

So in short, to answer your question, you need to provide details on what sort of use you are doing. "dockers and VMs" is like saying you are using a car to commute to work. My commute can do with a Nissan hatchback. My friend's dad commute needs a proper Land Rover off-road.

 

Also in terms of hyper-threading, the passmark already take that into account. So when we refer to "cores" we typically mean physical cores. The only context when logical core is relevant is when assigning them to docker / VM which shouldn't be yet relevant to your queries.

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@testdasi Hello and thanks for the response. Question specific to Plex and transcoding. I have very limited knowledge on the subject but should I assume that if I'm using a graphics card such as a GTX 1050ti or a P2000 the CPU is relieved of the workload? 

 

I'm considering a 2 x E5-2680 v3   which should give a total of 24 physical cores, passmark around 36000 albeit a clock speed of 2.5 GHz. I think it will give me some room for "growth" unless i'm missing a limitation of this system. I already have a dedicated i7-8700k gaming PC with a 1080Ti so I wont use the new system for games. I may run ESXi on this new build and run unRAID as a VM. Is that currently stable?

 

Yes, I wish I could provide more info on what dockers and VM's i'm going to run but I'm just getting into this. I do run ESXi on my little Dell 9020m with Ubuntu and Unifi Video. Works well but is using 6GB RAM. I have to figure that out. 

 

Another question: What is the Cache unit you have listed in your signature? Is it like an NVME drive? 

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1 hour ago, adminmat said:

@testdasi Hello and thanks for the response. Question specific to Plex and transcoding. I have very limited knowledge on the subject but should I assume that if I'm using a graphics card such as a GTX 1050ti or a P2000 the CPU is relieved of the workload? 

 

I'm considering a 2 x E5-2680 v3   which should give a total of 24 physical cores, passmark around 36000 albeit a clock speed of 2.5 GHz. I think it will give me some room for "growth" unless i'm missing a limitation of this system. I already have a dedicated i7-8700k gaming PC with a 1080Ti so I wont use the new system for games. I may run ESXi on this new build and run unRAID as a VM. Is that currently stable?

 

Yes, I wish I could provide more info on what dockers and VM's i'm going to run but I'm just getting into this. I do run ESXi on my little Dell 9020m with Ubuntu and Unifi Video. Works well but is using 6GB RAM. I have to figure that out. 

 

Another question: What is the Cache unit you have listed in your signature? Is it like an NVME drive? 

You can check the Unraid Nvidia topic for the Unraid (community) build with support for Nvidia transcoding. There's a link somewhere in the first page to the Nvidia official website that states how many streams each GPU can support. (note: you will need Plex Pass for hardware transcoding).

 

Unless you can get the E5 for cheap, Threadripper 1950X / 2950X probably is a better value. 1x E5-2680 v3 giving you 18000 doesn't mean 2x will give you 36000 - things just don't scale that way. My estimate based on typical diminishing return curve from my testing says something closer to 24000 (which happens to agree with the Interweb https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5-2680+v3+%40+2.50GHz&id=2390&cpuCount=2). That is lower than the 2950X and I'm fairly certain more expensive.

 

With regards to ESXi, no experience with that so can't comment. My general stand is running a VM under a VM under a VM is rarely the best idea.

 

And yes, the Intel 750 is a NVMe SSD.

Side note: I actually have not thrown away any of my SSD tracing back to the day I was rocking Windows on an SSD when TRIM was considered bleeding edge tech. Then I was on a M.2 SSD when M.2 NVMe didn't exist (the Samsung SM951 came out originally in AHCI form (i.e. a glorified SATA controller) before Samsung confusingly released the same model in NVMe form). Then the Intel 750 came out as one of the first ever consumer-level NVMe SSD. [end of history lesson] 😅

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, adminmat said:

I may run ESXi on this new build and run unRAID as a VM. Is that currently stable?

i'm running my two unraid servers over esxi for years, BUT this configuration is not supported.

and i run all other VMs on ESXi too, so no nested virtualization - i agree with testdasi, this is not a good idea.

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6 hours ago, testdasi said:

You can check the Unraid Nvidia topic for the Unraid (community) build with support for Nvidia transcoding. There's a link somewhere in the first page to the Nvidia official website that states how many streams each GPU can support. (note: you will need Plex Pass for hardware transcoding).

 

Unless you can get the E5 for cheap, Threadripper 1950X / 2950X probably is a better value. 1x E5-2680 v3 giving you 18000 doesn't mean 2x will give you 36000 - things just don't scale that way. My estimate based on typical diminishing return curve from my testing says something closer to 24000 (which happens to agree with the Interweb https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5-2680+v3+%40+2.50GHz&id=2390&cpuCount=2). That is lower than the 2950X and I'm fairly certain more expensive.

 

With regards to ESXi, no experience with that so can't comment. My general stand is running a VM under a VM under a VM is rarely the best idea.

 

And yes, the Intel 750 is a NVMe SSD.

Side note: I actually have not thrown away any of my SSD tracing back to the day I was rocking Windows on an SSD when TRIM was considered bleeding edge tech. Then I was on a M.2 SSD when M.2 NVMe didn't exist (the Samsung SM951 came out originally in AHCI form (i.e. a glorified SATA controller) before Samsung confusingly released the same model in NVMe form). Then the Intel 750 came out as one of the first ever consumer-level NVMe SSD. [end of history lesson] 😅

 

 

 

Thanks for the detailed info. I had looked at Ryzen and Threadripper but it seemed there were issues with Linux and hardware passthrough? With recent BIOS updates. But wow, you really get a lot of power in that package. The 1950X @ 3.4 GHz and a 21830 passmark. The Xeon i'm looking at same cost used with less cores and lower clock. Am I overreacting to the issues I hear about Ryzen and unRAID? 

 

So about 10 mins ago (LOL) I ordered a SuperMicro X10SRM-TF. This is single CPU, Micro-ATX (2011-v3) mobo with 2 x 10 GbE ports and IPMI. Lots of room for expansion. Got it with 32GB ram for ~$350. Still need a CPU. I do like how friendly the intel boards are with vurtualizing etc. I think this will be a good start then I can add as I figure out what I'm missing. 

Thanks for the history lesson. This year I bought my dad an M.2 NVME SSD and a PCIe card for his older IBM workstation (Loyalist... he worked for IBM for 35 years). He was quite impressed with the speed increase. I think he was using HDDs.  

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51 minutes ago, uldise said:

i'm running my two unraid servers over esxi for years, BUT this configuration is not supported.

and i run all other VMs on ESXi too, so no nested virtualization - i agree with testdasi, this is not a good idea.

Why is it not a good idea? Because the setup is difficult? I'm really curious if you run into issues with IOMMU and hardware passthrough while using EXSi with unRAID. What are you experiences? 

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2 hours ago, adminmat said:

Thanks for the detailed info. I had looked at Ryzen and Threadripper but it seemed there were issues with Linux and hardware passthrough? With recent BIOS updates. But wow, you really get a lot of power in that package. The 1950X @ 3.4 GHz and a 21830 passmark. The Xeon i'm looking at same cost used with less cores and lower clock. Am I overreacting to the issues I hear about Ryzen and unRAID? 

 

...

Thanks for the history lesson. This year I bought my dad an M.2 NVME SSD and a PCIe card for his older IBM workstation (Loyalist... he worked for IBM for 35 years). He was quite impressed with the speed increase. I think he was using HDDs.  

Ryzen and TR did have severe problems but all the severe issues have been bedded down. 1st / 2nd gen are basically rock solid.

The recent hoo-hah was due to AMD releasing BIOS update for 2nd gen mobo to support 3rd gen Ryzen (probably in a rush). If you run 1st / 2nd gen then you simply downgrade to the last stable BIOS and everything is back to normal.

 

Edited by testdasi

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9 hours ago, adminmat said:

Why is it not a good idea? Because the setup is difficult?

if i look at my unraid server/settings/VM Manager, i get: "Your hardware does not have Intel VT-x or AMD-V capability. This is required to create VMs in KVM"

this is a case with nested virtualization, i have not researched this further cos not needed for me.

9 hours ago, adminmat said:

I'm really curious if you run into issues with IOMMU and hardware passthrough while using EXSi with unRAID. What are you experiences? 

no issues at all. look at mu sig for detailed info on my hardware and unraid VMs.

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5 minutes ago, uldise said:

if i look at my unraid server/settings/VM Manager, i get: "Your hardware does not have Intel VT-x or AMD-V capability. This is required to create VMs in KVM"

this is a case with nested virtualization, i have not researched this further cos not needed for me.

no issues at all. look at mu sig for detailed info on my hardware and unraid VMs.

Got it. As long as it works I guess the error message doesn't matter. I assume you are using other VMs in ESXi or why not just run unRAID on bare metal? 

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2 hours ago, adminmat said:

I assume you are using other VMs in ESXi or why not just run unRAID on bare metal?

yes, i'm running other VMs on ESXi too, and i started that way long time ago - unraid had not KVM support. and why broke things that work?

IMHO, ESXi is very stable system, my ESXi host up-time is several months, and i don't need to restart host/other VMs, when i restart unraid.. so this configuration gives me more flexibility.  

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ok, dumb question here. With my Supermicro X10SRM-TF that's on the way with a E5-2690 v3 that I'll potentially get... How do I access the BIOS menu etc with no graphics card? Or do I need a graphics card to run it? Or do I attach a monitor to the VGA? If so can I install unRAID using the VGA output?  Sorry again. I only have experience with "Gaming" motherboards 😥 

 

Edited by adminmat

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I'm running 9 Docker containers and a W10 VM on a 4-core i5-6400. I even transcode 1 stream for internet viewing with Emby using the Intel GPU and 1 core. No 4k media here yet. It"s a rather pathetic CPU compared to what you are considering but I can't convince myself to upgrade yet because it's still handling the current loading just fine.  Overall, your CPU choice looks great if you you don't have any processor intensive tasks planned besides Plex.

 

I do want to get into Tensorflow camera image processing in Home Assistant and once I start doing that then I'll likely need a better processor. Something for the new house to provide some security and also a more accurate way to activate outside lights instead of old school motion sensors.

 

Edited by lionelhutz

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