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Old 08-07-2009, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 8-core Workstation?

Hi,

I've been offered money to buy a workstation and I'm exploring options. This computer will be used to run numerical simulations, which means it must excel in (double-precision) floating point operations, and have a decent amount of RAM (> 8GB). I was thinking something along the lines of a 2x quad-core Xeons on the LGA1366 platform.

Does anyone have experience buying / building such a system?

Thank you.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

There's probably not too many people that have built such a system as it is a very high end server/workstation and extremely expensive. I would think about using 12GB of ram if are going to go all out, that way you can run it in triple channel.
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

Yes, being a former member of this board, I know most people here (myself included) usually build gaming systems which have different requirements.

I know workstations of this kind are high-end - I already know the offerings of companies which sell this kind of machines (Cray for instance), and yes, they're usually expensive as you have to buy the whole system pre-built from them.

I guess what I'm asking here is: is it possible to buy a semi-decent workstation retail and build it yourself? That would significantly decrease costs and offer much more flexibility (in the same way it does for desktop PCs).

The truth is that I'm being offered around $1,500 at the university to buy a desktop computer for my personal use (at the university), and I was exploring whether it's possible to build a low-end workstation (high core count / performance is the most important parameter). Maybe I'll have to go with a "normal" system, but I have decent laptop and a high-end desktop at home, so it would be kind of redundant.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meithan View Post
Yes, being a former member of this board, I know most people here (myself included) usually build gaming systems which have different requirements.

I know workstations of this kind are high-end - I already know the offerings of companies which sell this kind of machines (Cray for instance), and yes, they're usually expensive as you have to buy the whole system pre-built from them.

I guess what I'm asking here is: is it possible to buy a semi-decent workstation retail and build it yourself? That would significantly decrease costs and offer much more flexibility (in the same way it does for desktop PCs).

The truth is that I'm being offered around $1,500 at the university to buy a desktop computer for my personal use (at the university), and I was exploring whether it's possible to build a low-end workstation (high core count / performance is the most important parameter). Maybe I'll have to go with a "normal" system, but I have decent laptop and a high-end desktop at home, so it would be kind of redundant.
I'd go with the AMD Opteron 2427, but even with something like that, it would be over the budget most likely.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

$1,500 is a pretty tight budget for a dual CPU machine but it can be done (possibly not with the new xeons though).
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

I went to Newegg and tried to make a dual-cpu build. This is what I came up with:

2 x Intel Xeon E5506 Nehalem quad-core
1 x TYAN S7002G2NR-LE Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 Motherboard
4 x Kingston 4GB DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) ECC Registered Server Memory
1 x CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W Power Supply
1 x Western Digital 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
1 x Sunbeam Transformer Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Total: $1,574.89

It lacks a monitor and keyboard & mouse, but I think I can salvage those from the university. Also notice it doesn't have a graphics card; the integrated graphics should be enough.

How does this build look?
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

I hate the case but that is a personal perference thing, you don't need a PSU that powerful but you do need some sort of converter to power that second 8 pin CPU plug (4-8 pin does the trick).
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 8-core Workstation?

My company will shell out close to $7k for a good 8-core machine - configured from HP. Quadro video cards, SAS harddrives really drive up the price.

You might look into putting in 2x500gb harddrives mirrored - data is important.
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