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Hi, I'm getting ready to setup a new linux file server to replace an old ailing one. I'm not entirely sure about the difference between processor speed and amount of ...
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  1. #1
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    Processor Speed vs. RAM?


    Hi,

    I'm getting ready to setup a new linux file server to replace an old ailing one. I'm not entirely sure about the difference between processor speed and amount of RAM when it comes to running linux on a file server. Which is more important? The machines that are available to me would be in the 2-2.5ghz range and would probably have 512mb to 1gb of ram. Is more processor power less RAM better for a machine that is just a file server? Or is more RAM slower processor better? Or are both equally important.

    Thanks,

    Pablo

  2. #2
    Linux User IsaacKuo's Avatar
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    On a file server, processor speed is more or less completely irrelevant. A slow old Pentium III would be plenty. RAM can be helpful in certain circumstances (like heavy multi-user database access), but it may make more sense to put more RAM in your most heavily used workstation than the file server itself.

    What sort of files are going to be on this file server, and what speed of network is it connected to?
    Isaac Kuo, ICQ 29055726 or Yahoo mechdan

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    The server is on a small (5 computer) network of all macs, so we're using some form of linux called netatalk i think? (I'm not too clear on that). Though all our macs are gigabit capable, out switch is only a 10/100 model, but we might upgrade that sooner or later. The server is not running any apps, just being a centralized file server for projects in ms office, adobe creative suite, and a few other apps. The server is being accessed by at least 3 machines simultaneously on a regular basis. File sizes aren't huge, but can occasionally be in the couple to few Gb size.

  4. #4
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    I'd second the RAM option, filecaching and relieving the disk writes would be more important than processor. Heavy heavy network connections can benefit occasionally from extra clock cycles but I would in this case give preference to the RAM.

  5. #5
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    Any new mainstream cpu will do just fine (Celeron/Sempron). 512MB of ram should also be perfectly adequate. I'm always more concerned with the lan connection and storage when it comes to file servers. Get yourself a couple of nice hard drives (16MB of cache) and mirror them in a RAID 1 array for redundancy. Then upgrade your switch to 10/100/1000, make sure your file server has a gigabit nic and you'll be set. The faster lan and hard drives would probably make a bigger difference than anything.

  6. #6
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    Well pablo,

    I'm running only a file and ftp server.

    Here is my configuration of that machine;

    pentium 2 350 mhz
    256 megs of ram.
    2 x IDE controllers (Promise)
    4 x 30 gb harddrives on motherboard
    4 x 120 gb harddrives on the IDE controllers.
    2 x 3Com 100 mbit network controllers
    A very big tower.

    My cpu and memory doesn't hurt anything.

    It's running 24/7 without any problems.

    So you don;t need any machine that tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by pablodo
    Hi,

    I'm getting ready to setup a new linux file server to replace an old ailing one. I'm not entirely sure about the difference between processor speed and amount of RAM when it comes to running linux on a file server. Which is more important? The machines that are available to me would be in the 2-2.5ghz range and would probably have 512mb to 1gb of ram. Is more processor power less RAM better for a machine that is just a file server? Or is more RAM slower processor better? Or are both equally important.

    Thanks,

    Pablo
    Computers Are Like Air Conditioners... They\'re both useless with Windows open!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Aye, just to agree with everyone else...

    The bottlenecks you'll experience will firstly be your LAN, then the speed of your hard disk read and write. Both of these will probably be using DMA access of some kind, so the processor wont really be strained. You can probably buy a really cheap processor to do all this stuff and spend the money saved on a bigger better network infrastructure (as others suggest 100Mb or even gigabit if you got the cash) if you find performance isn't what you'd like.
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

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