What would be more cost effective for clustered web hosting: 10 dual core pcs or 5 quad core pcs?

Flora L August 2, 2013
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So, I want to run my website from my apartment I’ll soon be getting, and there is a computer shop here in town that will sell me REALLY old refurbished slim form factor desktops, were talking Athlon 64 x2’s, and I can get 10 for $500, then you have the cost of electricity to consider.

the other option is to get 5 latest and greatest custom builds from microcenter that I’d build myself for about $300 to $350 a piece plus the electric.

my question is this: over all in the long run, what would be more cost effective over the years, the cheapo replaceable dual cores for 50, or the brand spanking new and insanely more expensive custom builds that would actually have a warranty on all the parts??

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  1. Harshal T
    November 2, 2013 at 10:00 am

    For website related work I don't think a quad core is all that necessary untill and unless you are going to do some graphical work. You can go for dual core, just make sure they are not too old and if possible ask for Intel core2duo instead of AMD athlon, as Intel has a longer life span that AMD.

  2. Flora L
    August 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    That's part of the problem, my database is growing in size quite substantially every day and is currently at 200 megs, not a huge amount right now, maybe, but that's from just one year of existing. So I'm getting fairly power hungry for my liking on shared paid hosting, and I'm getting fearful of being booted by our host.
    On the Internet speed, we're going to have roadrunner 30 Mbps Internet that I may upgrade to 50mbps speed business class.
    I'm already well aware of the electric costs as well.

  3. Oron J
    August 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I agree with Jan. I think you're much better off (financially, but not only) using a hosted service. I don't think there's much sense in running a fairly complex operation (cluster of several computers with web servers, and presumably databases etc) from home as a way of saving money.
    To make use of 20 cores (10x2 or 5-4) you are presumably planning to have substantial traffic, which you won't be able to handle over ADSL, so you'll need a leased line, which will cost, a lot. Having made such this investment, you'll want to keep your systems running 24x7, so you'll need security appliances, UPSs, at least one drop-in server, physical security (to prevent the equipment from being stolen or damaged) etc etc. This will all cost a fair bit, and you would STILL have nothing like the setup a proper service deserves. On the other hand, if you use a hosted service (whether it's an ISP, a general hosting company or a mega service such as Amazon), you'll simply be using a small fraction of their capacity, and will only be paying for what you use, while you use it, and the responsibility for keeping the servers running (at least on the the hardware side, and probably the OS) will be the host's. It's a much better proposition.

  4. Jan F
    August 3, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Let me ask you a question in return first:
    From the context I assume you have a running website. What is your peak visitor count, requests per second and traffic?

    I'm far from being an expert on web server and hardware requirements but unless you have like over 1.000 concurrent visitors or an insanely large SQL DB or something I believe a single quad-core and enough RAM (12-16GB) could easily handle hosting your own website. The remaining money would be best invested into a SSD for the www-root and databases.

    Considering the costs of electricity up-to-date hardware should offer more performance while using less power.

    Another thing you should consider is internet connection. The more visitors you have the more bandwidth you will need. If your peak visitor count is around 1.000 than you should have at least 1Mbit upload speed. If you host a lot of pictures, files or whatever better start at 4Mbit upload.

  5. Jesse
    August 3, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Hi Flora,

    I'm don't work in computer hardware, but to take a shot in the dark, I would guess that in the long run the newer computers would be more cost effective. They wouldn't need to be upgraded to insure compatibility as soon, they're probably greener, and they would have a longer lifespan. Also, 10 old, lower-end processor cores might not have an equivalent amount of power to 5 modern, higher-end cores.

    Jesse