What can $300 buy you? A boatload of performance!

Every day in our personal lives, we’re bombarded with “opportunities” to get a better deal.  At the grocery store, we might be able to buy a single item for $2.50 or 3 for $5.00…which then forces us to go thru the mental gymnastics of figuring out how good of a deal it is, and whether or not we really need three 96 oz. bottles of salad dressing.

But there are some opportunities out there for adding a bunch of compute performance are a bit more straight-forward.

Case in point: Dell recently had Principled Technologies compare the performance for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5520 and E5506 CPUs each running on a PowerEdge R710 server.  Both are 4 core processors, but the E5520 has many advantages over the E5506: 

  • higher frequency (2.26 GHz vs. 2.13 GHz)
  • faster QuickPath speeds (5.86 GT/s vs. 4.8 GT/s)
  • faster memory support (1066 MHz vs. 800 MHz)
  • Turbo Boost
  • Hyper-Threading support.

Long story short:  Buying a slightly better processor with a server purchase can drastically increase your performance.  So if you are looking to buy a Dell PowerEdge server configured with Microsoft SQL Server 2008* and an Intel® Xeon® Processor E5506, for an additional $300 you can get up to 75% more performance by upgrading to an E5520 CPU.  More performance headroom in a similar power envelope, faster QuickPath and memory speeds, Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost functionality – all for $300.  NOW THAT’S A GREAT VALUE!

Check out the summary document for the Dell R710 Principled Technologies performance testing, which also has comparative performance testing for the Xeon® E5540 and X5550 CPUs (also a great value for the money!), along with results for Microsoft Exchange.

NOTE:  System pricing from www.dell.com as of May 13, 2009.  Actual performance will vary based on configuration, usage and manufacturing variability. See the actual Principled Technology report in the following link for complete system configuration