Choosing between AMD and Intel for the Virtual Infrastructure

My ESXi v5 runs on a Mini-ITX Z68 motherboard with Intel Core i5 2500T (Quad core). I choose this because I wanted to have a silent (fanless) and low consumption box. The box runs quite well. The only thing that I regret is that I don’t have access to any sensors from the vSphere client. I was looking at the SuperMicro motherboards as they seem to provide IPMI.

The SuperMicro H8SCM-F looked really really nice. Micro ATX Form, integrated IPMI and KVM, support for up to 128GB of RAM and AMD Opteron 4000 Series ; the Opteron 4256 EE @2.5 GHz have 8 cores and a TDP of 35W! So I started to wonder how whould an Opteron 4256 EE (8 cores, 2,5GHz, 35W TDP) performs vs my Core i5 2500T (4 cores, 2,3GHz, 45W TDP). According to SPECfp2006 Rate Results, the AMD Opteron 4256 EE would have a baseline of 67 and the Intel Core i5-2500T would have a baseline of 87. A better comparison should be done with Opteron 3250 HE (4 cores, 2,5GHz, 45W TDP) which is ranked 52.

Then the big question raised: is it better to choose AMD or Intel for the virtual infrastructure. I recall reading than AMD processor were perfect for virtualization because they have more cores and use less power. But this was the marketing chat and was published a year ago. What I’m going to do here is try to understand how to compare processor in the case of hypervisor.

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The new box is here and ready

I ordered bits from everywhere in the world to get a new, quiet and fresh box. This idea is to replace the “old” Dell XPS M1330 with something better suited to virtualization. And here are the specs :

  • H3.S Fanless Chassis, with 80W Open Frame Fanless PSU
  • Zotac Z68-ITX WiFi (Z68ITX-A-E)
  • Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500T 2.5GHz 6MB 45W 32nm Quad Core
  • G.Skill Kit Extreme3 2 x 8 Go PC12800 Ripjaws X CAS10
  • Samsung SSD (MMDOE28G5MPP)
  • M4-CT064M4SSD2Crucial m4 2.5-inch (M4-CT064M4SSD2)
  • WD Scorpio Blue (WDC WD2500BEVT-7)

And here’s the baby pic:
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