As it has done in the past Microsoft based the Windows 2012 GUI on the latest generation of consumer Operating System (OS) in this case Windows 8, so the Start button is gone, replaced those annoying tile designed for a touch screen interface. Do I miss the Start button? YES, I DO! Once you get used to a particular interface/ feature you come to rely on it, especially one that has been around as long as the Windows Start button.
I have to admit–as have other Windows Server administrators–that it has taken me a while to get used the new (Metro) GUI absent the Start button and other touchstones of Windows Server NOS. The now familiar Server Management Console has been redesigned to give it a more modern look and feel. The way one manages the server hasn’t really changed radically, it will however take some time to figure out where everything is and how it functions together. For instance it took me a couple of days to figure out how to shut the bloody server down!
Like the NOS it replaces Windows 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 can be had in (4) editions: Foundation (OEM only), Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter. The first two editions as meant for small business users and are limited to 15 and 25 users respectively; they have basically replaced Microsoft Small Business Server and have no support for Hyper-V. The latter two editions are meant for enterprise environments.
Windows Server 2012 can only installed on 64-bit hardware underpinnings. One of the biggest reasons to choose 64-bit computing over 32-bit is memory; how much can be utilized by the process and in what configuration. The typical computer with one or more 32-bit processors can address up to 4 Gigabytes (GB) of RAM–depending on motherboard–which is split between the Operating System (OS) and any applications; e.g. 2 GB for OS and 2 GB for applications.
With 64-bit processors (both Intel and AMD offer them) one of the most striking features is the amount of memory the system can support. Intel and AMD 64-bit architecture will allow system motherboard architecture (chipset, bus(s) etc.) to address up to one terabyte (TB); that is 1000GB, of memory. This ability becomes important when we discuss virtual and cloud computing, both of which are touted as the wave of the Data Center future. Virtual computing eats RAM, and cloud computing count in large part on virtual computing to achieve economy of scale.
Also consider that databases, also known for their particular affinity for lots of RAM are multiplying like spots on a Dalmatian; even medium sized companies like mine store vast amounts of information on databases. Consider as well that the year-old Microsoft Exchange 2007, 2010 and 2013 were released on 64-bit architecture only primarily to take advantage of the more robust RAM usage; i.e. the program will consume as much RAM as you can throw at it.
This is one of the reasons why an increasing numbers of business and organizations are moving to 64-but computing, at least in the Data Center. They typically need to access increasing amounts of data and need servers that can support a greater number of larger files and can efficiently load large enterprise-class databases into RAM. The result is faster overall network throughput, data searches and records/data retrieval.
Windows Server 2012 (Standard and Data Center) can address up to 4TB of memory and support up to a staggering 64 (physical) processors, and up to 640 (logical) processors with Hyper-V disabled; the number is cut in half when Hyper-V is enabled. Unlike Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 does not support Itanium processors.
Upgrades from Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 are supported, however earlier OS upgrades are not.
What’s New in 2012?
As I touched on briefly earlier in the review, the GUI has changed, but other features have as well such a new version of Windows Task Manager that now relays more information to the administrator. Hyper-V has been updated and there is a new file system called Resilient File System (ReFS). Other new features include IIS 8.0, and improved Active Directory with tighter support for Hyper-V.
A Word, or Two, About Server Core
Like Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 can be installed without the GUI in a configuration called Server Core. The Server Core interface is a command prompt with PowerShell support, so if you are a Wiz with PowerShell, Server Core might be for you.So what’s the point of Server Core? Server Core functionality is more than a nod to UNIX and Linux administrators; it is an attempt by Microsoft to make Windows Server more powerful, less cumbersome, and less hardware intensive. And oh yes, Server Core is designed to reduce the surface area of the NOS, thus limiting the security threats that have heretofore forced…
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Though it doesn’t state it anywhere, this is the OEM version of the software. Windows Server 2012 is quite nice.
This is one of Intel’s highest-value quad-core chips. It has very low power usage, a number of enterprise features missing on the 3770K, and does in fact overclock.
i7 3770: 3.4 GHz* Hyperthreading (4 actual cores, 8 visible ones)* Partially unlocked turbo multiplier* vPro, VT-d, Trusted Execution (for better security and faster virtual machines)
i7 3770K: 3.5 GHz* Hyperthreading (4 actual cores, 8 visible ones)* Unlocked base and turbo multipliers
The i5 3750 and 3750K have the same differences, but both operate at 3.4 GHz and neither has Hyperthreading. The latter can add 10-20% performance with heavily multi-threaded workloads like CAD rendering and video compression. VT-d reduces processor load with certain virtualized I/O operations by a factor of 2. For a workstation or server, I’d choose a chip with that feature, but verify that your motherboard supports it. Most ASRock and Gigabyte boards do; Asus boards for this chip do not. See the comments attached to this review for some useful guidance.
The basic mechanism to determine clock speed is to multiply the system clock (a ‘base’ clock, typically 100 MHz or so that regulates the various other components in the system) by a multiplier. With modern chips, the multiplier varies dynamically based on system load. At idle, this chip operates at 1.6 GHz. At full load, it upclocks all four cores to 3.4 GHz. If the chip senses additional leeway in temperature and power use, the cores continue to 3.7 GHz. A three-core load could reach 3.8 Ghz, and two cores or less, 3.9 GHz.
Each core has its own multiplier that is often, but not always, the same as the others. Some workloads may benefit from one or two cores clocked higher than all four could be without exceeding the chip’s thermal capacity. Intel deems this ability to individually regulate core multipliers to provide maximum performance within a given thermal envelope “Turbo Boost”.
With the i7 3770K, the base multiplier and the turbo multipliers are unlocked. You can force the chip to hold a base multiplier above 35. Turbo may be unnecessary or counterproductive if the base multiplier already has the chip near the edge of its thermal capacity.
With this i7 3770, the base multiplier is never higher than 34, but you can add up to four 100 MHz ‘bins’ to the Turbo multiplier. The maximum four-core frequency becomes 4.1 GHz, though subject to the whims of the turbo system. If your hardware allows, you can also boost the base clock to perhaps 105 MHz, yielding 4.3 GHz. Most people with the 3770K model don’t do better than 4.6 or 4.7 GHz with air-cooling, so it’s not as if this 3770 leaves a lot on the table.
Those interested in frequency records might prefer the Sandy Bridge 2500/2600/2700 chips that predated this Ivy Bridge line. The Sandy Bridge die was about 1/3 larger and more effective at dissipating heat, outstripping the power reductions Ivy Bridge gained by moving to a smaller manufacturing process. Sandy Bridge chips are more easily pushed to 4.8 to 5 Ghz. They’re about 10% slower at the same frequency, however, so the performance result is a wash.
i7 3770Asus P8Z77-LK4 x 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz256 GB Samsung SSD2 TB 5400 RPM Samsung HDSeasonic S12II-430W (~85% efficient)Kill-A-Watt meterPrime95 x64
Idle: 44WLoad: 148W
Idle: (turbo + 4 bins): 44WLoad: (turbo + 4 bins): 185W
Idle: (turbo + 4 bins, 105 MHz base): 55WLoad: (turbo + 4 bins, 105 MHz base): 215W
This is a very impressive performance. Idle power use is even lower than my dramatically slower, underclocked AMD Athlon X2 system. Under load, it benefits from a larger third-party heatsink. The stock cooler is effectively silent at idle, but tends to ramp the fan up quickly with heavy computing. The fan character is not offensive. It does constantly vary itself, though, so it’s difficult to tune out. I favor large, heavy tower heatinks (700g or more) with 120mm fans for silence.
PERFORMANCE & ALTERNATIVES:
Windows runs noticeably faster with this chip than the i7 875K @ 4 GHz system I assembled in early 2010. Photoshop CS5 takes 4 seconds to open on that system and 2.5 on the new one. The best alternative for many users will be the i5 3570, which is about 80% as fast for $100 less with all the same enterprise features.
The gulf between all of these top-tier Ivy Bridge quads isn’t terribly wide; unless the chip is physically missing a feature important to you, you can’t take a step wrong.
I believe this is an excellent CPU. It runs with no problem. I have a couple of additional comments to make, especially concerning some comments in other reviews. By the way, I used this to replace an i7-920 (which also required a new motherboard because it uses a different socket).
1. Although this CPU is supposedly not able to be overclocked (except for turbo mode), I find that is easily overclocked. My Asus P8Z11-V Deluxe motherboard (and its utilities) will automatically overclock it to about 4.22 G. It runs there 24 hours a day with no problems or instability. Of course, it won’t overclock as much as the i7-1770K.
2. Concerning using the Intel CPU cooler that came with it: I used that at the beginning because I needed to get a different backplate for my CoolerMaster V8 CPU cooler. It did work, but was hot. With the V8 installed it runs more than 15 C cooler (at full load,(running folding at home with SMP (using 6 or 8 cores) and 2 GPUs) than with the original Intel cooler. So, if you overclock it and run it hard, I would recommend getting an after-market CPU cooler even though it will run somewhat OK with the original Intel cooler.
I highly recommend this processor.
Extremely happy with the speed, temp, and power draw of this processor. Seems to match the benchmarks of the 3770k (when that one isn’t overclocked…). I even liked the stock CPU fan enough to use it instead of a aftermarket cooler (a first for me).
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