Today I did one of the first performance upgrade on a server I built back in 2010 before moving to CO. This is a beast of a home server with 20TB of disk (including 512GB of SSD), 48GB of ram, and 2x Xeons. The CPUs were fine, and they were as much as I could afford when I bought them new. Xeon E5620’s ran around $380/chip back in 2010.
I was lurking on Ebay and ran across what seemed too good to be true, X5650s (nearly 12% faster in clock speed, and with 50% more cores, and a much faster memory and bus speed). These are 6 core (12 threads), 2.66 Ghz, 6.4 GT/sec CPUs. Vs the E5620 which was a 4 core, 2.4Ghz, 5.8 GT/s. Last I saw, these CPUs were running on the order of $1000/cpu even as recent as a year and a half ago. Way outside my price range.
Well it seems HP is offloading CPU upgrade kits, because for $144 for 2 CPUs I received a new, unopened, HP CPU upgrade kit with 2 brand new procs in it. Something that cost over $2000 used last year, now $144 new! It makes sense since these CPUs are hitting the end of a normal enterprise server lifecycle being 4 years old. But they are still brutally fast and efficient.
So for little more than what 2 heat sinks cost these days for servers, I just jumped the performance of my home virtualization server by over 50%.
If you are looking for some cheap speed, look on Ebay for some X5650s. On a few websites, I recently saw these listed as the best bang for the buck CPU around today.