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Question Upgrade time -- best value CPU for virtualization?

PanicMaster85

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I want to virtualize a Mac, Windows, and Linux all at the same time with very good performance. I am a developer so the multi-platform compatibility on a single computer is a must. I will be using a Radeon R580 as passthrough to the Mac, GTX 1060 for windows, and hopefully onboard graphics for linux. I want to given all machines superb processing power (8 threads).

In addition to this I need DDR4 memory and a solid amount at that, probably at least 8-16 GB between windows and mac and then 4-8 for linux; linux will primarily be a host and background services server.

My case is only compatible with a micro-atx board, and only has 4 extension slots. I like the small form-factor so micro-atx is also a must.

Finally, I have fidelio X2 headphones that I use frequently. I don't need anything special, but some sort of integrate sound system would be very nice.

This all fitting in a micro-atx with no extra connection is also a must because I'm on the move frequently.

Assume that money is mostly not a concern (CPU ~400 used).

to summarize:
24-32GB DDR4 RAM

micro atx board with...
- 2x PCI-e
- some sort of integrate sound capable of driving a fidelio X2 heaphones

CPU with at least 16 threads and ideally 24 threas.

thanks ;)
 

QwerkyPengwen

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For virtualization I would suggest Ryzen.
Running a VM for Linux seems redundant, since the best way to do things would be to run Linux natively as your main OS with the other OS being virtualized, and running graphics passthrough so you still get the performance of your GPU in the VM's. But you pretty much stated that's what you will do.

I would suggest for mATX Ryzen and not something like Threadripper or Epyc because you'll have a hard time finding an mATX board for that.

You can get either a B550 or an X570 motherboard and a Ryzen 9 3000 series CPU, or wait a bit until the 4000 series comes out and try to get 3000 series for a bit cheaper.
Ryzen 9 Brand new right now in the US goes for $420 at the cheapest for the 3900X with 12 cores so you might hopefully find one for less on the used market.

And I would highly suggest 32GB of RAM, especially if you plan to run more than one VM at the same time.}

For RAM speeds I would suggest 3200MHz. Get 3600 to 4000MHz if you can, but that gets real pricey at that point, so I think 3200MHz will do you just fine being that sweet spot between price and performance.
(Ryzen likes faster memory and performs better with it)

And while you can go the route of trying to snatch up used RAM and doing mix and match, I would suggest not wasting time and money doing that in the event that things don't work and instead just buy a new kit of 32GB so that the RAM sticks are guaranteed to work together since they are in a kit together.
 
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PanicMaster85

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For virtualization I would suggest Ryzen.
Running a VM for Linux seems redundant, since the best way to do things would be to run Linux natively as your main OS with the other OS being virtualized, and running graphics passthrough so you still get the performance of your GPU in the VM's. But you pretty much stated that's what you will do.

I would suggest for mATX Ryzen and not something like Threadripper or Epyc because you'll have a hard time finding an mATX board for that.

You can get either a B550 or an X570 motherboard and a Ryzen 9 3000 series CPU, or wait a bit until the 4000 series comes out and try to get 3000 series for a bit cheaper.
Ryzen 9 Brand new right now in the US goes for $420 at the cheapest for the 3900X with 12 cores so you might hopefully find one for less on the used market.

And I would highly suggest 32GB of RAM, especially if you plan to run more than one VM at the same time.}

For RAM speeds I would suggest 3200MHz. Get 3600 to 4000MHz if you can, but that gets real pricey at that point, so I think 3200MHz will do you just fine being that sweet spot between price and performance.
(Ryzen likes faster memory and performs better with it)

And while you can go the route of trying to snatch up used RAM and doing mix and match, I would suggest not wasting time and money doing that in the event that things don't work and instead just buy a new kit of 32GB so that the RAM sticks are guaranteed to work together since they are in a kit together.
are you sure about AMD, though? I've heard bad things from people in IT about its reliability. I don't want to have to worry about bios compatibility issues
 

PanicMaster85

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Speaking of which, what's a good xeon I could pick up for cheap that would virtualize like a boss? I'm very much so not comfortable with AMD on a workstation. I've had bad experiences in the past, and I don't care to repeat the experience
 

QwerkyPengwen

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The cheapest 12 core Intel that isn't a Xeon is the i9-9920X for $645 USD, and you need an X299 motherboard.
The cheapest X299 motherboard is a MicroATX board that costs $160.

Also, unless your past experiences with an AMD CPU were not with Ryzen, then your past experiences mean nothing in relation to the new Zen architecture.

I would not bother with Xeon since there is no good upgrade path other than buying a whole new motherboard and CPU platform, whereas with Ryzen 3rd gen and a 500 series board, you can simply just update the BIOS and then update the CPU in a two to three more generations.

In regards to Xeon though, if you really want to go that route, I cannot help since Xeon's are not meant for consumer desktop and meant more for server rack situations, and since I don't ever consider Xeon for things such as desktop virtualization and daily tasks on a consumer level, I cannot offer any knowledge on the matter as to which one you should use.

Hopefully someone else here in the forums can help in that regard.

I'll ping a couple peeps to see if they have any insight.

@TechyInAZ @Rogue Leader @Darkbreeze @Math Geek
 

PanicMaster85

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Good point about the xeon; I did a lot of searching and found a W-2150B for 400, but the X299 (which I also found) doesn't support the necessary ECC memory so that's a wash.

Yeah, my main concern is whether or not the Ryzen processors will bluescreen me all the time. I'm doing development work, and random failures / issues is not something I want to deal with. So the 9920X is tempting. I'm less worried about upgrade paths versus stable and powerful workstation that gets the job done.

p.s. I'm thinking of getting a new SSD (500-1TB); any suggestions?
 
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