Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machine.

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Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machine.

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:14 am

Purely out of curiosity, I am on a quest to build out the fastest build machine for cheap. The software I build takes about 3-4 hours to build on a mid-range Core i7 2600 with conventional hard drives. I want to get this down to ~1hour. And I want to get this done as cheap as possible. No-shame cheap - refurbished/used preferred if cheaper.

I recently came across some Sandy Bridge Xeon ES chips on ebay for $175 for an 8 core 2.3ghz version. Grabbed a couple of those, and dropped them into a Asus Z9PED8 WS mobo with 32GiB of 1600MHz RAM split across 8 channels.

Now I am looking into options for Storage.

I need the fastest, largest solid state storage money can buy for under $500. I need at least 500 GiB of space. I will go over budget - up to $750, but it has to be worth it. Recommendations?

Right now, I am leaning towards buying a bunch(2x or 4x) of Refurb/Used ssds and RAID0'ing them together. But I don't really know what is involved. Do I need a RAID controller card, etc? The deal with TRIM + RAID?
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:25 am

Samsung 840 Pro, 256 GB is about $250, get two of them in RAID 0 and call it a day? Just use the onboard "RAID" or a software RAID; I don't think you'll gain much getting a dedicated controller unless you're running a real server and something like parity calculations like RAID 5 or 6.
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:00 am

sid, SSDs won't help you much.

We here at TR actually built a multi-threaded Qt compiling benchmark, and the bottom line is that a SSD helps very little - compiling is all about CPU first and RAM second. See here, at the bottom of the page: clicky clicky

Granted, if your project has hundreds of thousands of tiny files (well, tinier than even your usual code file is already), maybe you can get a little more speed if you buy an SSD, but it won't be much. You'll be far better off grabbing some super-duper CPUs.
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:30 am

While they may not help you, Newegg has been running a special on the Intel 335 240GB, $186.99 with promo code at checkout. That would be 720GB of storage (3 x 240 GB) for $560.97. Or you could go down to 2 (480GB) for $373.98.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820167128
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:36 am

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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:04 pm

As an FYI, your mileage may differ severely, but for builds here, I've setup a tmpfs RAM disk on Linux which is large enough to fit the entire build output (object files), but not the build input (C, C++ code). We generate around 6G of objects, static, and shared libraries across about 3100 output files. Putting it onto a tmpfs RAM disk sped up the build around 10% for our workload. As the host has 32G of RAM and sits idle using a small portion of that, allocating 8G for a tmpfs RAM drive doesn't hurt. Large link steps were causing some pretty horrific system response times when on spinning disk, but those have gone away with using RAM.

I don't put the input files into tmpfs as I don't want to lose changes in the event of a system failure.
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:38 pm

Grateful for your responses. So I did some research as well. As morphine pointed out, the SSDs probably make much less of a difference than the CPU/RAM.

esc_in_ks, the ram disk would not be an option for me. The full build spits out multiple version of the binaries - all of which combined can be in excess of 30-40 gigs.

I will be on the look out for the Samsung 840/840Pro deals. Apparently, some time ago, there was a sale on the 500GiB 840 for $260. Two of those would be the sweetest deal for me.

Anyway, thanks, guys!
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:03 pm

No point in RAIDing those SSDs unless you have a very good reason to do so (or it's just RAID-1).
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:03 pm

Wouldn't two RAID0'ed SSDs give much better performance than just one large SSD?
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:16 pm

sid1089 wrote:Wouldn't two RAID0'ed SSDs give much better performance than just one large SSD?

Not necessarily, because of the lack of TRIM support in RAID volumes. Besides, access time for SSDs is already near-zero, so the practical gains are marginal, and you'd be setting yourself up for a failure in either of the drives taking out your data.

Granted, you get to join up both drives under a big hunk of space, which is nice, but the advantages don't outweigh the benefits.

Note 1: There is support for TRIM+RAID in some Intel chipsets and Windows 8, but off the top of my head I can't recall exactly under what conditions that's available.
Note 2: There are certain very limited scenarios where one would need the massive linear throughput that RAID0+SSDs would provide, but yours doesn't sound like one of them.
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:37 pm

morphine wrote:
sid1089 wrote:Wouldn't two RAID0'ed SSDs give much better performance than just one large SSD?

Not necessarily, because of the lack of TRIM support in RAID volumes. Besides, access time for SSDs is already near-zero, so the practical gains are marginal, and you'd be setting yourself up for a failure in either of the drives taking out your data.

Granted, you get to join up both drives under a big hunk of space, which is nice, but the advantages don't outweigh the benefits.

Note 1: There is support for TRIM+RAID in some Intel chipsets and Windows 8, but off the top of my head I can't recall exactly under what conditions that's available.
Note 2: There are certain very limited scenarios where one would need the massive linear throughput that RAID0+SSDs would provide, but yours doesn't sound like one of them.


Gotcha! Thanks for explaining that so well! Yes, my case would require fast random access more than sustained throughput.

Now it seems then I have pretty much nailed my option to a single 500GB Samsung 840. I will wait till the deals hit under $300 and then make the purchase. Thanks everyone!
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:07 pm

While the RAM disk may not be an option, it does prove a point that the media latency and throughput can play a pretty significant role in compile-time. At work we made a 64GB tmpfs RAM disk for a build that usually takes around 3 hours on (I believe 10k?) SAS disks, and we were able to cut that down to about 85 minutes by doing everything on the RAM disk (input files, output files, everything). So your media choice can make a serious difference.

That being said, I second everything that's already been said in favor of a single large SSD.
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Re: Recommendations for Cheap SSDs for Dual-Xeon Build Machi

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:35 am

sid1089 wrote:esc_in_ks, the ram disk would not be an option for me. The full build spits out multiple version of the binaries - all of which combined can be in excess of 30-40 gigs.


I'm just curious what would generate 30 to 40 GB of binaries? That's one hell of an .exe! :D
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