I have never worked with a XEON CPU before. Does anyone know how it performs running PostgreSQL 7.3.4 / 7.4 on RedHat 9 ? Is it faster than a Pentium 4? I believe the main difference is cache memory, right? Aside from cache mem, it's basically a Pentium 4, or am I wrong?
Well, see the problem is of course, there's so many flavors of P4s and Xeons that it's hard to tell which is faster unless you specify the exact model. And even then, it would depend on the workload. Would a Xeon/3GHz/2MB L3/400FSB be faster than a P4C/3GHz/800FSB? No idea as no one has complete number breakdowns on these comparisons. Oh yeah, you could get a big round number that says on SPEC or something one CPU is faster than the other but whether that's faster for Postgres and your PG app is a totally different story.
That in mind, I wouldn't worry about it. The CPU is probably plenty fast for what you need to do. I'd look into two things in the server: memory and CPU expandability. I know you already plan on 4GB but you may need even more in the future. Few things can dramatically improve performance more than moving disk access to disk cache. And if there's a 2nd socket where you can pop another CPU in, that would leave you extra room if your server becomes CPU limited.
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