Linked by David Adams on Wed 10th Sep 2008 21:33 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems It this post Geek.com offers a walkthrough of the building of a powerful, yet affordable workstation. Each of the parts was carefully chosen and the build was extensively detailed. There were some problems, but those were worked around and the end result was an impressive 64-bit workhorse.
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Inefficient use of capital
by rajj on Wed 10th Sep 2008 21:40 UTC
rajj
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'll wager that 6-7 of the 8 cores do absolutely nothing 99% of the time under his workload.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Inefficient use of capital
by poundsmack on Wed 10th Sep 2008 21:55 UTC in reply to "Inefficient use of capital"
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

the sad thing is most software and even OS's still arnt fully (or in some cases at all) able to utilize mutiple cores to their full extent. truely multi-threaded aplication development isn't in full swing yet. but its getting there so thats good.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Inefficient use of capital
by rajj on Wed 10th Sep 2008 22:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Inefficient use of capital"
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

A lot of tasks can't even be "parallalized" (crypto) or incur so much synchronization overhead that most of the benefit is lost --at least that's been my experience in my admittedly short dev career so far--, and it certainly didn't seem worth the pain.

Secondly, most desktop workloads aren't compute bound in the first place. You might see some benefit with 2 cores, but after that there just isn't anyway you'll have enough mutually independent tasks to keep them all busy --definitely not enough to warrant the expense.

This isn't to say that no problems benefit from threading, I just have trouble seeing it help significantly for desktop applications. Gaming and other 3d applications, that's a whole different story.

Reply Score: 2

vermaden Member since:
2006-11-18

A lot of tasks can't even be "parallalized" (crypto) or incur so much synchronization overhead that most of the benefit is lost --at least that's been my experience in my admittedly short dev career so far--, and it certainly didn't seem worth the pain.


That depends on the application, TrueCrypt 6.0 uses all avialable cores for example:

from http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=version-history:
"Parallelized encryption/decryption on multi-core processors (or multi-processor systems). Increase in encryption/decryption speed is directly proportional to the number of cores and/or processors."

Secondly, most desktop workloads aren't compute bound in the first place. You might see some benefit with 2 cores, but after that there just isn't anyway you'll have enough mutually independent tasks to keep them all busy --definitely not enough to warrant the expense.

Unless you use virtualization ...

Reply Score: 2

wanker90210 Member since:
2007-10-26

I was a happy owner of an Abit bp6 mobos with the 2 x Celeron hack. Needless to say, in '99 multithreading was Star Trek. I remember ripping mp3:s on it and was annoyed that the encoder completely ignored the extra CPU.

So i made a script that started more than one encoder in parallel.

Edited 2008-09-10 22:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Inefficient use of capital
by helf on Wed 10th Sep 2008 23:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Inefficient use of capital"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

yeah, I used to run a dual ppro-s 200 tower. I was in heaven ;) Right now my main computer is a dual PIII-600 Katmai with 1gb of PC100. Still plenty fast for my purposes. I'm planning on upgrading to at least quadcores in a few months.

Reply Score: 3

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I was a happy owner of an Abit bp6 mobos with the 2 x Celeron hack. Needless to say, in '99 multithreading was Star Trek....


I had that mobo (and still use it from time to time even now).

One of the best computers I've owned.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Inefficient use of capital
by bnolsen on Fri 12th Sep 2008 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Inefficient use of capital"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I used to have this board too.
The capacitors were crap and leaked all over the place after a couple of years. I did a capacitor replacement job but the board never was stable again.

Anyways... As a developer 8 cores are AWESOME. Building applications can very efficiently use all 8 cores, building one object file per core.

Also as a developer you start to notice when your own applications aren't using all 8 cores and it's kind of annoying.

Basically all developers should have SLOW machines with 8 cores (I use an 8 core 1.6GHz setup).

Last machine I bought from dell in march this year with 8GB ram for just under $1250 shipped. That's without MS tax.

Edited 2008-09-12 20:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Inefficient use of capital
by melkor on Thu 11th Sep 2008 01:51 UTC in reply to "Inefficient use of capital"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

So? It's up to him if he wants such a system. Who are you to make snide remarks about his system only using some of the cores?

Dave

Reply Score: 2

RE: Inefficient use of capital
by tyrione on Thu 11th Sep 2008 22:12 UTC in reply to "Inefficient use of capital"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I'll wager that 6-7 of the 8 cores do absolutely nothing 99% of the time under his workload.


This is one of the main reasons people want Apple to open up 10.6 which will leverage all those cores and thus be able to buy those CPUs and get more bang for your buck.

Reply Score: 2

I never was convinced by your arguments
by Googol on Wed 10th Sep 2008 22:58 UTC
Googol
Member since:
2006-11-24

yes, not everything can be parallelized... so what.

1-2 core for the OS (Vista anyone?!).
1 for my HD encryption
1 for the virus scanner in the back ground
1-2 for open apps, although idle WHILE I AM GAMING, which takes at least another 2 cores.

Doing the math, that makes it exactly 8 cores already in that totally normal, every day application scenario. Why am I typing this? Because I am having this scenario sitting right here on my table, except I am limited to 2 cores right now, so bring on the other 6.

Reply Score: 2

6c1452 Member since:
2007-08-29

yes, not everything can be parallelized... so what. 1-2 core for the OS (Vista anyone?!). 1 for my HD encryption 1 for the virus scanner in the back ground 1-2 for open apps, although idle WHILE I AM GAMING, which takes at least another 2 cores. Doing the math, that makes it exactly 8 cores already in that totally normal, every day application scenario. Why am I typing this? Because I am having this scenario sitting right here on my table, except I am limited to 2 cores right now, so bring on the other 6.


More like 4. You can dump most of that (OS, encryption, virus scanner, non-cpu-intensive apps) on two cores and have two left over for gaming. Although I'm not aware of tools on windows which make it easy to assign a process to a given core.

Reply Score: 2

umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Although I'm not aware of tools on windows which make it easy to assign a process to a given core.


You mean like the plain stock task manager that comes with Windows?

On Windows XP box anyway, you can set the processor affinity of just about any process using that pretty easily with a right-click on the process, and choose "Set Affinity..."

Reply Score: 6

6c1452 Member since:
2007-08-29

There are a lot of things about windows I'm not aware of. :p

Being able to save the affinity setting would be better, but that does work.

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a program that I've completely forgotten the name of that is "enterprisy" that lets you do all kinds of resource management. And I'm pretty sure that one of the features was making it run specific executables on certains cores automatically. It was pretty cool.

I'll have to dig it up, I used to run it.

Reply Score: 3

rhost Member since:
2008-09-11

You can also set the affinity for programs before you start them. I did this many years ago with System Shock 2 because of a bug that crashed it when running on more than 1 processor.

Reply Score: 1

Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm not aware of tools on windows which make it easy to assign a process to a given core.

Task manager.

Reply Score: 3

bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

yes, not everything can be parallelized... so what.

1-2 core for the OS (Vista anyone?!).
1 for my HD encryption
1 for the virus scanner in the back ground
1-2 for open apps, although idle WHILE I AM GAMING, which takes at least another 2 cores.


An OS that occupies 2 cpu cores on its own is ridiculously bloated and totally unsuitable for gaming and virtually anything else for that matter...
HD encryption can be handled far more effectively by a dedicated processor build in to the drive or controller.. Do you even need to encrypt the drive if your just playing games? And if your machine is just a toy for general gaming/browsing/etc it really shouldn't be used for business purposes as well.
Virus scanners are a kludge and really shouldn't be there at all.
Idle apps should be just that - idle, you just need ram to keep them open, or disk space for them to get swapped out to, the presence of background apps shouldn't affect your games unless you have insufficient ram.

Reply Score: 1

To be Fair
by cyclops on Wed 10th Sep 2008 22:59 UTC
cyclops
Member since:
2006-03-12

I bought a 4 core and 8 gigs because I run gentoo. I use the processors for compiling, and most of memory as a ram disk it makes for a very quite quick install even of large packages, and it was a lot cheaper than a copy of Vista. Plus this was one of the few chips that supported paravirtualization on chip, and it was surprisingly cheap.

Its a shame that Windows Licensing killed the 2CPU market, its seriously expensive for those motherboards and they are not standard.

But the bottom line is I think if someone aims for best value they will always be pleasantly surprised the way technology marches on. You can put a damn powerful machine together dual-core, onboard nvidia, 2 gig of memory for £100 for some months now, but then someone who has the money and enjoys computing...and cutting edge computing at that why shouldn't they spend it on what they enjoy and can afford it looks a quite fun project, and he is king of the hill for a little while anyway.

Reply Score: 3

RE: To be Fair
by BluenoseJake on Thu 11th Sep 2008 00:09 UTC in reply to "To be Fair"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Its a shame that Windows Licensing killed the 2CPU market, its seriously expensive for those motherboards and they are not standard.


How did Windows Licensing kill the 2cpu market? Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista has always supported dual processors, and the workstation and professional EULAs allowed them, not to mention the server OS's. No extra cost for Windows. I think the cause may lie elsewhere, the expense of 2 socket motherboards and the advent of multiple core x86 comes to mind.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: To be Fair
by helf on Thu 11th Sep 2008 01:12 UTC in reply to "RE: To be Fair"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

yeah, from at least windows 2k pro to xp pro (all ive paid attention to), the system is automatically "licensed" for 2 processors.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: To be Fair
by B12 Simon on Thu 11th Sep 2008 10:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: To be Fair"
B12 Simon Member since:
2006-11-08

Also NT4. The standard Workstation boot disks said 1-2 CPU edition. Server was 1-4 as standard.

Reply Score: 1

A little pricey
by Freebasen on Wed 10th Sep 2008 23:59 UTC
Freebasen
Member since:
2006-01-11

$4k hardly seems to be what I would call a budget workstation. I used to be a DIY guy too, but lately I've found it's better to just buy a prebuilt and add RAM and a video card to it. Especially for a business machine, the warranty coverage by itself makes this a wise decision. Also if you are planning on running windows and do not already own a copy, the inclusion of the OS saves a good deal of money. I think these days the difference in overall price is largely a wash.

Reply Score: 1

RE: A little pricey
by melkor on Thu 11th Sep 2008 02:00 UTC in reply to "A little pricey"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Agreed. I ended up paying around 3.5k (AU) including a 24" Samsung monitor for my new system (quadcore 6600, 8GB ram, Vista 64 bit, 1.5tb of hdd space, motherboard etc etc). I could have picked up a similar spec machine probably cheaper pre built. The OEM market is dead these days, it's not like the good ole days of circ 97/98, when real bargains could be had by buying OEM and building yourself.

As an aside - my system flies. I very happy with Vista, less happy with hardware manufacturers though (more on this later on). I see my 4 cores being used quite often, certainly not fully utilised 100%, but still being used. And yes, XP lets you assign the cores to processes etc, but Vista is EVEN better in this respect by all accounts (I've been too lazy to bother playing with this feature).

3rd party hardware manufacturers are crap with 64 bit support. This is *not* Microsoft's fault, it's lazy, good for nothing, hardware manufacturers who like making nice profits but not spending the small change to build 64 bit drivers. Case in hand - Canon EOS 1DMark IIn (pro camera, out of the price range of your average person) - absolutely no 64 bit support for the ieee1394 connection (which I need for a variety of reasons), and they have absolutely NO intention of doing so. If Canon treats its customers so badly like that, then it's Nikon for me. This time next year I'll be over to a Nikon D3. I'm not going to waste anymore time with such a shyte manufacturer.

Dave

PS I've been a loyal Canon user for 20 years...so much for goodwill, or customer support, let alone technical support. Canon sucks. BIG time.

edit: I shoot RAW (and convert to 16 bit tiffs later either using Canon's DPP or Capture One Pro v3.8). The USB port on the camera ONLY supports JPEGs, not RAW files, so it's useless to me. I could use a memory card reader, but why should I have to? The camera *comes* with a damn well ieee1394 port, so it should be God damn usable. I should not have to change my operating system choice because Canon is a bunch of lazy, tight a$$ed a$$holes. I chose Vista because it was a good, solid improvement over XP, and I chose 64 bit for the better memory management, which is highly useful with Photoshop as you could imagine.

Edited 2008-09-11 02:03 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: A little pricey
by aesiamun on Thu 11th Sep 2008 14:14 UTC in reply to "RE: A little pricey"
aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

The USB port on the camera ONLY supports JPEGs, not RAW files, so it's useless to me. I could use a memory card reader, but why should I have to? The camera *comes* with a damn well ieee1394 port, so it should be God damn usable.


So why not actually use the IEEE1394 port instead of the USB port? It takes a different cable, but it'll be faster than the USB.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: A little pricey
by melkor on Fri 12th Sep 2008 07:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A little pricey"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Sorry, thought I made my previous Canon rant clear lol! Canon cameras (pro ones, the normal ones don't use ieee1394) like the 1D series are primarily designed to use the ieee1394 port for data transmission. If you shoot RAW, then you MUST use the ieee1394 connection, the USB connection ONLY supports JPEGs via PTP. Canon uses a closed proprietary variation of the ieee1394 interface I believe, so a standard driver does not work. Canon will NOT produce a 64 bit driver for the ieee1394 connection. Herein lies my problem.

Dave

Reply Score: 3

Comment by truckweb
by truckweb on Thu 11th Sep 2008 02:10 UTC
truckweb
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like the "a powerful, yet affordable workstation." when the thing cost $3900 !!!

I know lots of stuff was included in this workstation, it's a nice rig and all, but please, $3900 is not affordable by today PC standard.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by truckweb
by umccullough on Thu 11th Sep 2008 02:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by truckweb"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

I like the "a powerful, yet affordable workstation." when the thing cost $3900 !!!

I know lots of stuff was included in this workstation, it's a nice rig and all, but please, $3900 is not affordable by today PC standard.


To be fair, I did a quick check using a Dell configuration and similar features were already pushing over $5k. I really didn't try to hard though ;)

I try not to build machines that cost more than $500 personally... but I don't really need an 8-core workstation anyhow

(edit: typo)

Edited 2008-09-11 02:22 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by truckweb
by Bobthearch on Thu 11th Sep 2008 05:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by truckweb"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

I agree that a $3900 computer is not what most people would call "affordable." More like a high-end luxury machine.

But compared to the price of a similarly-outfitted Dell, I have no doubt that $3900 is a bargain. Why pay someone else a thousand dollars or more just to snap a few pieces together? And I bet that more expensive Dell computer wouldn't have an all-metal Lian Li case; those big new XPS cases are cheap plastic.

He won't have to spend hours removing all of the Crapware either. Or worry about his PSU being a standard size, or if a different motherboard can be used with his front case switches, etc., etc.

Edited 2008-09-11 05:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Hakime
by Hakime on Thu 11th Sep 2008 03:42 UTC
Hakime
Member since:
2005-11-16

Who will spend 3900+ for that crap, and the author even claims (in the comments) that getting a mac pro with the same config costs more than what he got.

Well, lets check,

A Mac Pro with:
- Two Quad cores Xeon 2.8 Ghz
- 4 GB Ram
- 1 TB SATA drive 3.0 Gb/s
- 500 GB SATA drive 3.0 Gb/s
- NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
- One 16x SuperDrive

Costs $3949 (even cheaper with education discount), but i get faster processors (2.8 vs 2.5 ghz), a bigger second hard drive (500 vs 300 GB) and a much faster graphical card. The FX 1700 has a 128 bits bus and develops 12.8 GB/sec of graphic memory bandwidth, the GeForce 8800 GT has a 256 bits bus and develops 57.6 GB/sec of graphic memory bandwidth. That's 4.5 times faster..... but hey he got a blue ray drive!!

Plus look at the inside of his machine, its a total mess, this is porrly designed. What i get with the Mac pro is an engineered machine, 20+ sensors to monitor the machine, a reliable motherboard, a easy access to memory and to the drives, a better design, i mean look here

http://www.apple.com/macpro/design.html

and compare with what he got. Who will pay the same price as a Mac pro with the same configuration to get a poorly assembled computer with cables everywhere and low reliability?

Assembling a workstation does not make sense, you get better quality product from a computer compagny for the same price..... And with workstation you need reliability and quality, which is not the things that can be find in assembling computers. This is for gamers not for real work....

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Hakime
by umccullough on Thu 11th Sep 2008 06:02 UTC in reply to "Comment by Hakime"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

a bigger second hard drive (500 vs 300 GB)


You sure you priced that "smaller drive" as a 10k rpm disk?...better check that again ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Hakime
by mdoverkil on Thu 11th Sep 2008 07:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by Hakime"
mdoverkil Member since:
2005-09-30

Just because someone built the machine themselves doesn't make it unreliable. You are under the assumption that OEMs use 'special' parts for their machines. (or atleast it seems that way) They don't, they use the same parts that are available to consumers.


Assembling a work station DOES make sense when you want control over the choice of components go into your machine. Bad experiences with Hitachi drives, build it yourself and you can go Seagate.

Does Apple or any other OEM for that matter give me the choice over the manufacturer of components that go into the machine?


And there is also the hobbiest persvective to this. Some people out there really enjoy building and toying with computers. Just like a person who's really into cars, they usually have a custom car. Those whose hobbies involve computers tend to have nice custom computers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Hakime
by Laurence on Thu 11th Sep 2008 09:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by Hakime"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Who will pay the same price as a Mac pro with the same configuration to get a poorly assembled computer with cables everywhere and low reliability? Assembling a workstation does not make sense, you get better quality product from a computer compagny for the same price..... And with workstation you need reliability and quality, which is not the things that can be find in assembling computers. This is for gamers not for real work....


What rubbish.

Ignoring the Mac comment for now (as that will just lead into fanboy-flame wars), there's absolutely no reason what-so-ever why someone can't build a powerful, stable, reliable and tidy workstation. I know because this was my job 10 years ago.

You complain about messy wires: PC World (et al) just use cable ties. Guess what: Cable ties are available to joe public too.

You complain about reliability: Well even Mac work stations have hardware failor on newly bought systems (I know of one mate who have had a massive HDD failiour on a 3 month old system and another who had to have the DVD writer replaced on a 2 month old MacBook Pro). Sometimes people do just get unlucky and end up with a dodgy component. Shit happens - that's why there's such thing as a 'warranty'.

You complain about price: Well if you buy a pre-built desktop then sure you might have a fast CPU and lots of RAM, but they'll save money with cheap RAM (that runs at a slower speed or uses some of the available memory for check sum - thus 2GB RAM would work at less than 2GM) or they'll use a cheaper HDD which is less reliable. The problem with computer specs at high street / online stores are that they're a lot like statistics - easy to hide the true value of components behind fancy (yet misleading) headlines.
Plus at least if you build the system yourself then you can save money where you want to save money rather than where PC World (et al) think the average Joe would least spot when reading a spec list.

And finally you comment saying custom built computers are alright for gamers but not for work stations (for the reasons you state) - well that's a contradiction anyway as games require a massive amount more of power and stability than your average office application (office suite, web browser, e-mail client and a few custom applications (some of which would probably have been developed in VB (for speed and ease) specifically for that organisation).

In short - you're post couldn't have been further from the truth if you were deliberately out to spread anti-PC propaganda

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Hakime
by BluenoseJake on Thu 11th Sep 2008 11:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by Hakime"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I have several computers that I have built myself, and a Dell Inspiron 531 desktop that I use as my desktop system.

I have been building computers for around 20 years, and if you know what you are doing, a DIY rig can be much more reliable than a OEM box, as self built computers don't usually come with 15 pounds of crap installed.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Hakime
by xeniast on Thu 11th Sep 2008 15:11 UTC in reply to "Comment by Hakime"
xeniast Member since:
2006-02-04

Who will spend 3900+ for that crap, and the author even claims (in the comments) that getting a mac pro with the same config costs more than what he got.


http://www.apple.com/macpro/design.html


Assembling a workstation does not make sense, you get better quality product from a computer compagny for the same price..... And with workstation you need reliability and quality, which is not the things that can be find in assembling computers. This is for gamers not for real work....


OBTW Unix(OS X) uses all eight cores, cause it is a real operating system.<P>
Snow Leopard will be a full 64 bit op/sys.<P>
And it does real work.

Reply Score: 0

Workstation with 64GB RAM?
by kloty on Thu 11th Sep 2008 06:39 UTC
kloty
Member since:
2005-07-07

Hi,

I'm thinking of buying a workstation for my work, but I need about 64GB of RAM (I'm working in EDA industry and the latest designs need lot of RAM). Can anyone recommend which workstation can provide this?

Thanks,
Anton

Reply Score: 1

RE: Workstation with 64GB RAM?
by collinm on Thu 11th Sep 2008 07:25 UTC in reply to "Workstation with 64GB RAM?"
collinm Member since:
2005-07-15

check hp and dell workstation

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Workstation with 64GB RAM?
by Vlad on Thu 11th Sep 2008 07:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Workstation with 64GB RAM?"
Vlad Member since:
2006-03-23

Or Sun.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Workstation with 64GB RAM?
by cjcoats on Thu 11th Sep 2008 19:11 UTC in reply to "Workstation with 64GB RAM?"
cjcoats Member since:
2006-04-16

Have a look at the Colfax CX1275 [ http://www.colfax-intl.com workstation (about $10K with two X5450 3GHz quad-cores, 64GB RAM, 4TB RAID, dual Samsung 245T's, and the rest of "nice fixings":

Supermicro 7045A-WTB

Supports 2-way Dual-Core / Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® Processors (45nm)
Intel 5400 Chipset
Up to 64GB 800/667MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM (Fully Buffered DIMM)
2(x16) PCI-Express 2.0 Slots
2 64-bit 133MHz PCI-X Slots
2 32-bit PCI Slots
1 UIO Slot

Tower / 4U Rackmountable Chassis
8 x 1" Hot-Swappable SAS / SATA Drive Bays
2 x 5.25" Peripheral Drive Bays

Cooling - 4 x 5000 RPM Hot-Swappable PWM Cooling Fans
- 1 x 4000 RPM Hot-Swappable PWM Rear Exhaust Fan
- 1 x Air Shroud

865W Low-Noise Power Supply
ALC 883 High Definition 7.1 Channel Audio
Intel® 82575EB Dual-Port Gigabit Ethernet Controller

Reply Score: 2

"nonsightful"
by l3v1 on Thu 11th Sep 2008 09:24 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Uhmm, after four years guy builds a new machine. News time.

Reply Score: 2

similar build
by RoyB on Thu 11th Sep 2008 17:07 UTC
RoyB
Member since:
2007-12-26

A friend of mine did a similar build a few months ago. Semi-pro landscape photographer who works on pretty massive image files (just switched from 100 MPixel large format film scans to 39 MPixel PhaseOne). If memory serves, the build was in the $3300 range and specs were pretty close, though he went for a midrange graphics card because he doesn't do 3D (Antec P190, dual 2.5 45nm Xeons, Tyan mobo, Noctua NH-U9 coolers).

Most big name dual-Xeon systems (Dell, HP, etc.) are really expensive ($6K+) because they are targeting business customers. Apple prices are pretty damn reasonable, but are still a bit more expensive than an equivalent high-quality home-built system, though considering the difficulty of a dual Xeon build, its probably worth it.

Reply Score: 1

Take a visit to any hardware geek forum
by biffuz on Thu 11th Sep 2008 18:07 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

Come on, any "hardware geek" forum contains dozens of projects more interesting than this. I'm talking about heavily overclocked machines, watercooled with self-tooled waterblocks, inside modified cabinets.
This one is nothing special, believe me.

Reply Score: 1

$3900?
by Anonymous Penguin on Thu 11th Sep 2008 21:10 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

How about this?

http://hubpages.com/hub/A-266-GHz-Nehalem-Quad-Core-Complete-System...

OK, it has (much) cheaper components, but bet that it will compete on speed?

Reply Score: 2

Like tires
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Sep 2008 15:28 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Cores are like tires; the more you put on your car the better it performs...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Like tires
by Chreo on Fri 12th Sep 2008 16:14 UTC in reply to "Like tires"
Chreo Member since:
2005-07-06

Cores are like tires; the more you put on your car the better it performs...

Very off topic: Err... no! First, taking that statment simply, it is incorrect. Try that on an icy road. Second, "perform" has loads of different meanings. So please, leave car analogies at the door when discussing computers.

On topic: I rarely even hit 100% use on the dualcore systems I use both at home or at work so why oh why would a 4 (or even 8) core system "perform" better? Limiting factors are 99% of the time others than the amount of cores, like disk IO, network IO, user "latency" etc. Playing games will also show you that your multi-core (more than 2) system are wasted in comparison to a dual-core system with higher "instruction per second" throughput.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Like tires
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Sep 2008 16:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Like tires"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I am so very sorry that I didnt include a smiley in there. I guess it was just too hard to see the joke.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Like tires
by Chreo on Sat 13th Sep 2008 15:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Like tires"
Chreo Member since:
2005-07-06

I am so very sorry that I didnt include a smiley in there. I guess it was just too hard to see the joke.


Yes that was unfortunate. Would've saved us both time ;)
Smileys are there for a reason and the amount of numbnuts on the net are far too many for such a comment to be seriously ment. My bad as well for not detecting it though

Reply Score: 1

Fun build, but...
by Morgan on Fri 12th Sep 2008 17:38 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I think this is more of an exercise in hardware hacking fun, than truly seeking a "cheap" 3D workstation. As others have pointed out, HP, Dell and Apple all offer complete systems with comparable specs for the same price in Apple's case, or slightly more from the other two. These complete systems have full support from the manufacturer and will save a lot of downtime, and all are capable of running Vista 64-bit with full driver support. The author mentioned a couple of times how badly downtime affects his business, so I'm very surprised he went the DIY route again.

If I were in his position, my personal choice would be a Mac Pro, not only to save money but also for Apple's excellent support should I ever need it. One thing I would not do, however, is go with Apple's upgrades. They are known to charge 300% markup or more. I would get the standard 8-core system at $2800 and purchase some quality RAM and hard drives from other sources. Off the top of my head, that would place the total system price around $3500, saving about $400 from Apple's prices.

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