Poor desktop performance

posiden104

New Member
Dec 13, 2021
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Hello,
I'm new to proxmox. I'm experiencing lower performance than expected from my vms, especially any with a desktop environment. I'm pretty tech savvy, but havent worked with server hardware before.

Specs:
Dell PowerEdge server
dual quad core Xeon E5410 cpus
15 GB ram 667 MHz
500 GB sata drive w/ proxmox and some vms
3 TB sata drive w/ 1 vm (media storage)

I currently have 5 ubuntu server vms running, each with 1 or 2 cpus, and around 2 GB ram. Those all run acceptably concurrently. However, any desktop environment I try to use is unusably slow, even if I shut down all the other vms. I tried both Windows 10 and Ubuntu Desktop. I also tried to run a modded minecraft server on one of my ubuntu server vms and it was extremely laggy, although I suspect that has more to do with Minecraft than proxmox.

Any advice on how to tune my vms or proxmox to be able to handle desktop environments would be extremely appreciated. If its just a case of my hw not being up to the task on integrated graphics, that would be good to know as well.
 

Hannes Laimer

Proxmox Staff Member
Staff member
Jul 27, 2020
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Algund
Hey,

how do you connect to the VM? And what type of network are you using? It is very possible that the problem is not the VMs but rather the network over which you connect to them.
 

posiden104

New Member
Dec 13, 2021
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Hey,

how do you connect to the VM? And what type of network are you using? It is very possible that the problem is not the VMs but rather the network over which you connect to them.
I usually connect using rdp from my windows 10 desktop. Both my server and desktop are plugged in with cat5 cables to my router
 

itNGO

Active Member
Jun 12, 2020
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Germany
it-ngo.com
Hi,
are you talking about this
Code:
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/de/de/ark/products/33080/intel-xeon-processor-e5410-12m-cache-2-33-ghz-1333-mhz-fsb.html
CPUs?

What do you expect from CPUs that are nearly 15 years old?
Code:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5410+%40+2.33GHz&id=1232&cpuCount=2

They have a single-thread-rating around 1023....
 
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Dunuin

Famous Member
Jun 30, 2020
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dual quad core Xeon E5410 cpus
That CPU only got 2.33 GHz and its 14 years old so a modern 1 GHz CPU might even be faster.
I currently have 5 ubuntu server vms running, each with 1 or 2 cpus, and around 2 GB ram. Those all run acceptably concurrently. However, any desktop environment I try to use is unusably slow, even if I shut down all the other vms. I tried both Windows 10 and Ubuntu Desktop. I also tried to run a modded minecraft server on one of my ubuntu server vms and it was extremely laggy, although I suspect that has more to do with Minecraft than proxmox.
VMs can't make use of any real hardware your host got, unless you paravirtualize it or use PCI passthrough. It doesn't matter if your host got a iGPU or a dedicated GPU, a VM can't make use of it. So everything like encoding video steams for your RDP has to be done in software mode by your CPU. If I stream/encode a 1080p video here it will bring 7 of my 16 Cores (16x 2,6 GHz 5 years old) to 100% utilization. So I wouldn't wonder if your CPU just can't handle all the load the video encoding is producing. And using Linux with a desktop environment needs also way more RAM. If I run a Debian headless it will run fine with 0.5 GB of RAM and 1 vCPU. As soon as I add a desktop environment to that Debian it wants 1.5 GB of RAM and 1-2 vCPUs.
So if you don't really need the desktop environment (for example if you just want it so you don't need to use the CLI when administrating it) I would run the VMs headless so save ressources.

And Minecraft is heavily bound to single thread performance of your CPU. It doesn't matter how much cores you give your Minecraft VM, Minecraft itself will use most of the time just a single core. So for minecraft you want your CPU to be as highly clocked as possible because it can't parallelize the workload.
 
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posiden104

New Member
Dec 13, 2021
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0
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Hi,
are you talking about this
Code:
https://ark.intel.com/content/www/de/de/ark/products/33080/intel-xeon-processor-e5410-12m-cache-2-33-ghz-1333-mhz-fsb.html
CPUs?
Yes those are the cpus I have, thanks for the links! I'll have to do more research to contextualize the cpu benchmark numbers.

What do you expect from CPUs that are nearly 15 years old?
I expected 2.33 GHz of performance out of each one. As I mentioned, I'm new to both server hardware and Proxmox, I was just trying to get an idea as to what was impacting my performance.
 

posiden104

New Member
Dec 13, 2021
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That CPU only got 2.33 GHz and its 14 years old so a modern 1 GHz CPU might even be faster.
I don't really understand how this works, but it kind of makes sense. Unfortunately the motherboard of the poweredge seems to lock what processors are allowed? I'm not entirely sure, but it also uses the LGA771 socket, so that limits my upgrade options as well.

And Minecraft is heavily bound to single thread performance of your CPU. It doesn't matter how much cores you give your Minecraft VM, Minecraft itself will use most of the time just a single core. So for minecraft you want your CPU to be as fast as possible because it can't parallelize the workload.
Thanks! My research also led me to this conclusion. I guess I expected better.

VMs can't make use of any real hardware your host got, unless you paravirtualize it or use PCI passthrough. It doesn't matter if your host got a iGPU or a dedicated GPU, a VM can't make use of it. So everything like encoding video steams for your RDP has to be done in software mode by your CPU. If I stream/encode a 1080p video here it will bring 7 of my 16 Cores (16x 2,6 GHz 5 years old) to 100% utilization. So I wouldn't wonder if your CPU just can't handle all the load the video encoding is producing. And using Linux with a desktop environment needs also way more RAM. If I run a Debian headless it will run fine with 0.5 GB of RAM and 1 vCPU. As soon as I add a desktop environment to that Debian it wants 1.5 GB of RAM and 1-2 vCPUs.
Thanks for this. I guess I'll just look into more modern hardware whenever I have the budget for it!
 

Dunuin

Famous Member
Jun 30, 2020
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Yes those are the cpus I have, thanks for the links! I'll have to do more research to contextualize the cpu benchmark numbers.
According to Passmark your CPU got a single threaded benchmark score of 1024 points and a modern Ryzen 5800X got 3498 points. So a modern desktop CPU is 3.5 times faster at single threaded workloads and because the 5800X also got double the cores and four times the threads a single 5800X should also atleast be 3.5 times faster than both your CPUs together for multithreaded workloads.

And both your CPUs together consume 160W. A single 5800X will just use 105W. So you pay way more for your electricity bill for just a fraction of the performance. So depending on the electricity price where you live it might not make sense to run a such old server at all. It will easily eat several hundreds of dollars a year of electricity. So what you save on the short term when buying cheap but old hardware, you pay even more in the long term because it is so energy inefficient. With the newest price increases my homelab now costs me 80$ of electricity a month so 1000$ a year. If I would get newer hardware that olny needs half the electricity for the same performance I would save 500$ a year. Maybe I would need to initially pay 1000€ more for newer hardware but its woth it because after running it for 4 years I would have spent 2000$ less for electricity.

So I wouldn't expect great performance of that server.
 
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Dunuin

Famous Member
Jun 30, 2020
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Just renting a server also might make sense. Keep in mind how much you can spend to keep in running. All the electricity, maybe something fails you you need to replace hardware. SSDs/HDDs will wear with usage and need to be replaced regularily. And you don't need to buy the hardware.
So renting a server in a datacenter might sound expensive but depending on your contries energy prices it might even be cheaper.
 

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