My company has tasked me with ordering servers for testing software before the software enters production in a business to business environment. We will have 12-15 people on these machines at all times with numerous virtual machines running on top of a vmware hypervisor.

Our company has a contract with Dell and I've been looking at what CPU we should purchase for a Dell PowerEdge R640. I'm looking at 2 of them, an Intel Xeon Gold 6130 and an Intel Xeon Gold 6126. The 6130 has 16 physical cores but only runs at a base frequency of 2.1GHz, while the 6126 has 12 cores and runs at a base of 2.6GHz. On Dell.com, the 6130 is only $80 more than the 6126 which isn't a big deal, but what do you guys recommend?

I'm leaning more towards the 6130 because it has more cores which means more multitasking and running more virtual machines or giving more cores to a virtual machine, but it runs at a slower base frequency.

  • Hot damn that's some fancy hardware! By VMware you mean ESXi, yes? What's the intended use for the clients? – JMY1000 Feb 5 '18 at 10:25
  • This depends on what software you will be running and your use cases. Can you edit your question to add a few details about how these machines will be used? Things like software, OS, and anything else you can add that might make a difference in our recommendations. – Cfinley Feb 6 '18 at 22:00
  • gold 6254; 18-core @ 3.1ghz base frequency – ron Feb 14 at 16:54

They both Turbo to 3.7GHz, so all else being equal, you are unlikely to see much difference per core, and indeed, Passmark shows an ~8.8% increase in single thread rating for that ~23% clock increase from 2.1GHz to 2.6GHz, and yet going from 12 cores to 16 cores resulted in ~0.3% decrease in rating. Keep in mind,the sample size is exceedingly small (1 and 10 results).

Without knowing your use case, it's very difficult to make a good recommendation, so I'll make a recommendation of unknown quality:

If you will be running Windows Server VMs, get the 6130. You'll have 32 vCPU instead of 24 vCPU. Since they both turbo to 3.7GHz, intensive users won't see much difference and casual users probably won't feel the difference. But what really leads me to make this recommendation, when running Windows VMs, is that licensing costs the same either CPU. Microsoft requires minimum 8 core licenses per CPU and minimum 16 core licenses per machine, so you will have to license 16 cores regardless.

The question then is how many Windows VM's do you expect to run? List price for Windows Server Datacenter for 16 cores is $6160 and you are licensed to run an unlimited number of VMs (not equipped to run unlimited, but still, many VMs :).

Windows Server Standard is cheaper if you are running 12 or less VMs: $5832 gets you licensing for 11 or 12 VMs, and decreases in price at 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 VMs, with 1 or 2 VMs costing $972. To license 13 or 14 VMs, WS Standard lists for $6804, so there it is. More than 12, Datacenter is cheaper, less and Standard is cheaper, but the point is, anyway you license it w/Microsoft, the 12 core CPU costs the same as the 16 core because you must license 16 cores minimum.

Generally, given the relatively small difference in performance per thread, having 32 vCPU available is better than 24 vCPU for VM hosting 12 - 15 people simultaneously, but it is possible that your particular workload would benefit from a higher base frequency more than an increased vCPU count, although I doubt it, seeing as having 15 simultaneous users results in < 2 vCPU per user on the 6126, while the 6130 gives you 2 vCPU per user + 2 for the host.

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I think you're leaning on the right side and feel that not because it has more physical cores but also it has the more Static ram which makes multi-tasking much smoother.And as you said it has less clock rate but in specs, it also mentioned that you can turbo boost that up to 3.7GHz I fully suggest you on picking 6130 for your server

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