Quick Packet - Dual Intel Xeon L5420 - Dell CS24-SC - Dedicated Server Review

wdq

Quade
[SIZE=10.5pt]For the past year I have been ordering VPS's of various different sizes to run many different things including game servers, and websites. One comment that I see a lot is that if you have a lot of VPS's then you are probably better off getting a low end dedicated server.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10.5pt]So naturally, I tried out dedicated servers a couple of times in the past, but sadly I really wasn’t impressed. I'm not going to name either of the providers, but last fall I ordered a dedicated server from a provider and found it randomly dropping packets, and sometimes even shutting down. Earlier this year I tried a dedicated server from another provider, but found the Intel Atom processor to be too slow, and I really didn't have a very great connection to their network in Europe, so that really didn't work out very well.

Because of the issues I had with previous dedicated servers, I narrowed my search down to a dedicated server that supported IPMI, or some sort of remote control functionality, and one that was in the United States with a solid network.[/SIZE]

In April I saw an offer on LowEndBox. Quick Packet was offering a dedicated server for $50 per month. That dedicated server had pretty good specs when compared to my previous dedicated servers; it also had IPMI, and was fairly cheap. Since the offer interested me I took a look at the comments. I found quite a few people talking about how good the provider was, and how good the offer was. I didn't end up ordering the server because it sold out very quickly. Even when more stock became available I managed to convince myself that having a bunch of VPS's was better than the dedicated server.

In June I started to need just a little bit more resources. I had a friend who wanted me to host his game server, and I wanted to host another game server of my own. I went ahead and setup a new VPS for that friend, and decided to wait a little while before I created my new game server.

A month later in July I saw a new thread on vpsBoard where Quick Packet was offering that same dedicated server at that same discount. This time I ended up opening a few pre sales tickets, and then a day or so later I ordered the dedicated server.

Here's the initial configuration that cost me $53.99 per month. Essentially it is stock with additional IPv4 addresses.

  • Dual Intel Xeon L5420 processors
  • 1TB Western Digital Black hard drive
  • 16GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory
  • 12 usable IPv4 addresses
  • 10TB of bandwidth on 100Mbps port
  • IPMI
  • Proxmox VE 3.0

A few things made me hesitant to switch over to this dedicated server. First off was the processor, which was six years old. Older processors can be kind of hit or miss, and when running multiple game servers the processor is pretty important. The hard drive was another thing I questioned. A single hard drive is quite a bit slower, and quite a bit less reliable than a RAID 10 configuration found in the servers of many VPS providers. Going from 300MB/s to 100MB/s could increase lag for players on the game servers.

It took Quick Packet a few days to get my server up and running. They said that they had to wait for some hard drives to ship, and there were some delays with the shipping. Once the server was up and running I spent a few hours messing around with Proxmox VE in order to get everything figured out and configured. While I was messing around I compressed all of the data on my VPS's so that I could easily transfer the data over to the dedicated server.

While transferring all of the data over to the dedicated server I was pleased to see how fast their network is. With a 100Mbps port I was expecting to have everything copy over at 12.5MB/s, but in reality I was getting near gigabit speeds at around 90MB/s. I assume Quick Packet puts several 100Mbps customers on a shared gigabit switch so that the customers can burst to around gigabit speeds every once in a while. It really didn't take very long to get everything copied over to the dedicated server because of the really fast network.

Once I got the Minecraft servers up and running I was able to compare the performance between the VPS’s and the dedicated server. I noticed that chunks, or parts of the map, seem to load, and render slower when flying around, but I also noticed that jumping between different parts of the map seemed to be much snappier. This could be network related, or maybe I just have a higher priority on the system resources so everything feels snappier.

After having the dedicated server for a little over a week I decided that I was going to stick with it. I went ahead and ordered an additional 1TB hard drive for $89.99. It was installed within that hour. The hard drive installed was a Seagate Barracuda, which is a bit slower than the Western Digital Black hard drive, but it was still fast enough for me.

After another week or so I went ahead and had the RAM upgraded from 16GB to 24GB for another $89.99 setup fee. It was, just like with the hard drive, installed very quickly. However when I tried booting up the server I started to get some errors. I assumed some faulty memory was installed so I replied to the support ticket letting Quick Packet know. They were able to quickly resolve it by installing new RAM, but you'd think that they would test the RAM before installing it. The whole process took somewhere around two hours.

While I was having the problems with the faulty RAM I used IPMI for the first time. In order to see the screen of the server a small Java file was downloaded onto my computer. When I tried to use that Java file on my Mac it just wouldn't open. When I tried it out on my Windows 8 machine I got an error once it started. When I tried it out on a Windows 7 virtual machine with Java 7 it got the same error it did on Windows 8. After booting up an old computer of mine with Windows 7 and Java 6 I was finally able to open it up and see the server's screen remotely. The IPMI on the server is obviously outdated. I have only had to use IPMI twice, but it certainly would be more convenient if it would work on all of my computers.

After adding another hard drive, and upgrading the RAM, I needed once more upgrade. I needed some more IPv4 addresses so that I could have more virtual machines up and running. I opened a ticket with some justification (I basically just listed each IPv4 address that I had at the time along with what each was being used for, and then I listed each IPv4 address that I was going to get with the additional subnet and how I was going to use them.) Within a few minutes the IPv4 addresses were added. rDNS requests are also very quick.

As far as uptime goes I have been impressed. The only time my server has been down physically has been when I have rebooted it. The network has only had an issue once for a few minutes when Quick Packet was under a DDoS attack.

So over the past month I have been really enjoying my dedicated server. I really can understand why so many people have mentioned that a low end dedicated server is better than several VPS's. I have a ton of room on the server for expansion, which I didn't have with the VPS's. I also have more control over the resources and how they are allocated which is great.

There are few things that I miss from when I had a bunch of VPS's. One of those is the variety of locations. Another is the more personal approach to hosting that some of the providers I worked with had. 

[SIZE=10.5pt]In the end if you are looking for a low cost dedicated server that has some serious power then I’d really recommend Quick Packet and their Dual Xeon L5420 dedicated servers. I didn’t include any benchmarks in this review, but here’s a benchmark someone else posted. If you have any questions, or want me to run any benchmarks please let me know.[/SIZE]
 

qps

Active Member
Verified Provider
Thanks for the review.

I looked into the memory issue - it was tested prior to it being installed (it tested good), so we were surprised when it didn't work.

As for the hard drive, the Seagate drive that we installed is actually faster than the Western Digital drive that is installed.  Seagate drives are hard to beat in terms of performance.

As for the KVM over IP / IPMI, there's not much we can do.  Unfortunately, the software is no longer being updated.
 

wdq

Quade
Thanks for the review.

I looked into the memory issue - it was tested prior to it being installed (it tested good), so we were surprised when it didn't work.

As for the hard drive, the Seagate drive that we installed is actually faster than the Western Digital drive that is installed.  Seagate drives are hard to beat in terms of performance.

As for the KVM over IP / IPMI, there's not much we can do.  Unfortunately, the software is no longer being updated.
I was also pretty surprised when I was getting the RAM errors on the machine startup. I don't think I've ever experienced any RAM failure in the past.

The I/O performance difference is very minimal between the Western Digital and the Seagate drive (5-20MB/s depending on the test, in the real world I don't really notice a difference). Maybe it's just how I setup the drives. 

I figured that was the case with the IPMI since it's an older Dell system that was probably designed for Windows XP/7 and Java 6.
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
The L5420's are still seriously powerful, especially for a virtualized server environment.  8 cores total and 16GB of RAM, that's a big box.  Single cores are still competitive with the latest blah blah E-whatevers.

If disk IO is an issue skip the RAID and more drives (unless you need more disk space).   You can allocate RAM as a ramdisk when/as needed and probably better idea overall is a SSD drive.

I'm running a workstation with a E54xx dual quad and 16GB of RAM + SSD and it's magical.   I don't game, but everything is nearly instantaneous.  Task switching is fast.  Opening things up is instant. Gimp takes a whopping < 3 seconds to open.

I've been with Quickpacket in the past and suspect I may end up there again in the future on a dedicated server.   Good prices and really responsive company.

Thanks for the review!
 
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wdq

Quade
The L5420's are still seriously powerful, especially for a virtualized server environment.  8 cores total and 16GB of RAM, that's a big box.  Single cores are still competitive with the latest blah blah E-whatevers.

If disk IO is an issue skip the RAID and more drives (unless you need more disk space).   You can allocate RAM as a ramdisk when/as needed and probably better idea overall is a SSD drive.

I'm running a workstation with a E54xx dual quad and 16GB of RAM + SSD and it's magical.   I don't game, but everything is nearly instantaneous.  Task switching is fast.  Opening things up is instant. Gimp takes a whopping < 3 seconds to open.

I've been with Quickpacket in the past and suspect I may end up there again in the future on a dedicated server.   Good prices and really responsive company.

Thanks for the review!
I realized how powerful the E5420 is once I setup the dedicated server. 

To be honest now that I've had the server for a while I don't mind the slower disk I/O. At this point I don't have enough players on the game servers for it to be a big issue. When I need a faster disk I'll probably get a fairly large 512GB+ SSD as the maps are too big for a RAM disk. I may be able to even just get two more drives installed and spread the maps across the drives to get improved performance. 

I agree about their pricing. $50 is an insane deal for this thing. Many places won't even colocate for that price. 
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Those larger SSDs are becoming rather affordable quickly.  Hopefully it continues :)

Those 54xx differ very little between the E and L prefix.  The L is just a lower power window.  CPU performance isn't much different compared to the E versions.

As for the $50 price point, yep, still is a mighty good price.  Colo pricing remains somewhat stuck with higher pricing (for now).
 

wdq

Quade
Those larger SSDs are becoming rather affordable quickly.  Hopefully it continues :)

Those 54xx differ very little between the E and L prefix.  The L is just a lower power window.  CPU performance isn't much different compared to the E versions.

As for the $50 price point, yep, still is a mighty good price.  Colo pricing remains somewhat stuck with higher pricing (for now).
I remember quite a few years ago buying my first SSD. It had 64GB of storage and cost me a good $200. 

Intel does something similar on the desktop chips as well with the T suffixes.

A lot of times colocation ends up being cheaper if you buy a whole rack from a provider. 
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Totally, colo hasn't continued to decline in pricing like dedicated, VPS, etc.   It's stuck at $100/U in most places.   There are a few bottom level offers but even those (and their are literally few) seem to be in the $50-65 range.  

My days of colo'ing are coming to a close along with with the entire VPS attraction.   Dedicated rentals are where things are best bang for the buck now.  VPS for the ultra low price and random location testing use. :)
 

Nikki

New Member
I got one of these too, except it was late March, and it was a rushed move kind of deal, with the server being setup the same day. Pretty amazing, considering it was a Saturday when I ordered/got it setup.

Glad to see someone else using this like I am! I have pretty much the same configuration (2x1TB, Extra IPv4 for Proxmox/OpenVZ Containers, except on the standard 16GB), and I have had no problems with the hardware, the servers themselves are very solid. The only issue I have is the occasional network issue like you described, usually being a DDoS attack for 1-2 minutes at a time, but it's taken care of very quickly usually.

I'm running 8 Team Fortress 2 servers on it, very few problems, no hardware issues, and it was provisioned perfectly the first time (I didn't expect them to install Debian with the hard drive setup I wanted, but they did :eek:). They put some thought into these, and it's really amazing how well they work.
 
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ThePrimeHost

New Member
Verified Provider
Thanks for taking the time to write a very detailed review about your new server. With today's competition it is definitely a buyers' market place. 

The L5420's are still seriously powerful, especially for a virtualized server environment.  8 cores total and 16GB of RAM, that's a big box.  Single cores are still competitive with the latest blah blah E-whatevers.

If disk IO is an issue skip the RAID and more drives (unless you need more disk space).   You can allocate RAM as a ramdisk when/as needed and probably better idea overall is a SSD drive.

I'm running a workstation with a E54xx dual quad and 16GB of RAM + SSD and it's magical.   I don't game, but everything is nearly instantaneous.  Task switching is fast.  Opening things up is instant. Gimp takes a whopping < 3 seconds to open.

I've been with Quickpacket in the past and suspect I may end up there again in the future on a dedicated server.   Good prices and really responsive company.

Thanks for the review!
I realized how powerful the E5420 is once I setup the dedicated server. 

To be honest now that I've had the server for a while I don't mind the slower disk I/O. At this point I don't have enough players on the game servers for it to be a big issue. When I need a faster disk I'll probably get a fairly large 512GB+ SSD as the maps are too big for a RAM disk. I may be able to even just get two more drives installed and spread the maps across the drives to get improved performance. 

I agree about their pricing. $50 is an insane deal for this thing. Many places won't even colocate for that price. 
These serves are just a few years old and are still great work horses.

Here is how they compart to a very common E3

Dual Intel Xeon L5420  Avg CPU Mark : 6599

vs

Common E3-1230 : Avg CPU Mark : 8145

Not bad at all for the cost. Good luck and enjoy your new server!
 

drmike

100% Tier-1 Gogent
Here is how they compart to a very common E3

Dual Intel Xeon L5420  Avg CPU Mark : 6599

vs

Common E3-1230 : Avg CPU Mark : 8145

Not bad at all for the cost. Good luck and enjoy your new server!
The dual quad Xeons in the 54xx series are a pretty big cpumark uptick from many common processors.   Even many of the newer processors that are more common to consumers still can't compete with them.

Aside from the "old" stigma, the 54xx's are probably more than sufficient for the next 8-10 years.  That's absent some massive cost reduction in chips and sudden mass increase in CPU performance.
 

ThePrimeHost

New Member
Verified Provider
The dual quad Xeons in the 54xx series are a pretty big cpumark uptick from many common processors.   Even many of the newer processors that are more common to consumers still can't compete with them.

Aside from the "old" stigma, the 54xx's are probably more than sufficient for the next 8-10 years.  That's absent some massive cost reduction in chips and sudden mass increase in CPU performance.
They're an exceptional value cost wise right now. The only drawback (from a providers standpoint) is that they use a lot more power than the newer, more efficient E3's.
 

qps

Active Member
Verified Provider
They're an exceptional value cost wise right now. The only drawback (from a providers standpoint) is that they use a lot more power than the newer, more efficient E3's.
They do use more power, but I wouldn't say a lot more power.  Most of our Dual Xeon L5420 systems that use DDR2 ECC (not FB DIMMs) use right around 1 amp of power @ 120V.  Most of our E3 servers use just a bit less.

Even if you say that the power difference is 30%, the price of the hardware on Dual Xeon L5420 systems is so low right now that the extra power cost doesn't come close to making the E3s worth it unless you need the extra CPU performance.
 

Francisco

Company Lube
Verified Provider
They do use more power, but I wouldn't say a lot more power.  Most of our Dual Xeon L5420 systems that use DDR2 ECC (not FB DIMMs) use right around 1 amp of power @ 120V.  Most of our E3 servers use just a bit less.

Even if you say that the power difference is 30%, the price of the hardware on Dual Xeon L5420 systems is so low right now that the extra power cost doesn't come close to making the E3s worth it unless you need the extra CPU performance.
Yup. Good work on not using FBDDR. I know SonicVPS has FBDDR L5420's and the RAM alone eats 1/3rd of his power.

Are you looking at L5520's for your next round? You can rig them up for like $500 but I bet the L5420's are coming in sub $200/ea.

Francisco
 

SkylarM

Well-Known Member
Verified Provider
Yup. Good work on not using FBDDR. I know SonicVPS has FBDDR L5420's and the RAM alone eats 1/3rd of his power.


Are you looking at L5520's for your next round? You can rig them up for like $500 but I bet the L5420's are coming in sub $200/ea.


Francisco
We've been buying 5520's for ~300 each not factoring drive cost. They are really great for their cost.
 
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Francisco

Company Lube
Verified Provider
We've been buying 5520's for ~300 each not factoring drive cost. They are really great for their cost.
Yep.

We upgraded our L5520's to L5638's last year. We were hoping to sell off the L5520's for $150 each......then the tsunami of Dell 5520's hit the market.

We got like $40/ea in the end :D

They're good rigs and should use about the same power as the L5420's, likely less if you use 8GB sticks. If you leave power savings on it'll help a lot.

Francisco
 

qps

Active Member
Verified Provider
Yup. Good work on not using FBDDR. I know SonicVPS has FBDDR L5420's and the RAM alone eats 1/3rd of his power.


Are you looking at L5520's for your next round? You can rig them up for like $500 but I bet the L5420's are coming in sub $200/ea.


Francisco
We have some L5520s coming soon.  

Yep.


We upgraded our L5520's to L5638's last year. We were hoping to sell off the L5520's for $150 each......then the tsunami of Dell 5520's hit the market.


We got like $40/ea in the end :D


They're good rigs and should use about the same power as the L5420's, likely less if you use 8GB sticks. If you leave power savings on it'll help a lot.


Francisco
We bought a few L5639 servers recently, and they're pretty sweet.
 

JayCawb

New Member
Them L5520s are crazy cheap in US, I can only get the 2.5" bay Dual L5520s (DL160 G6) for £350 ($500 ish) here in UK.
 
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