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Workstation Motherboard recomendation

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May 17, 2006 9:07:39 PM

I am building a number of Auto Cad 3d Design/Render systems and I have a question on what a good motherboard would be. Will a high end DFI or ASUS board be a good choice or are the dedicated workstation boards that are more stable? If you know of a workstation board that would be good please post it as all I really know about is the gamming stuff.

Systems specs (subject to change):
Single Opteron 2.4gh Duel core processor
4gb ECC Ram
Nvidia Quadro 3450
2x 75gb Raptor Drives Raid 0
1x 200gb drive for backups
400w powersupply
Plextor DVD writer

Thanks for the help.
May 18, 2006 12:38:21 PM

DFI Lanparty UT series, either the Ultra or Expert make great workstation boards. Kinda pricey but worth it IMO.
May 18, 2006 3:46:20 PM

This would be my rig if I had a choice.
Let me preface this by saying that many of these items are given by inspiration of the article on Tom's Hardware about the D805 Overclocking.

Asus P5WD2-WS Premium (Very Nice Very Stable, ON board sata raid5) 229$ NewEgg
Intel D920 2.8Ghz 2mbx2 Cache OEM 192$ NewEgg
Zaleman CNPS9500 AT $65 NewEgg
2x CT2KIT12872AA53E Crucial DDR2 PC2-4200 • CL=4 • UNBUFFERED • ECC • DDR2-533 • 1.8V • 128Meg x 72 $244 Ea
3x (for raid 5) Seagate NL35 SATA 250GB Server Grade $114 ea NewEgg
NVIDIA QUADRO 3450
Zaleman 460W PS $107 NewEgg
Plextor DVDRW is fine.

Maul that over in your head. I'm not a big Intel person but, Bert Töpelt, Daniel Schuhmann & Frank Völkel sold me on the value of the D Intel's. The reason I'm recommending the D920 instead of the D805 is that its price is comparable but it has more cache and you wouldn't have to over clock it to get some good stable performance.

I'd be in awe of this system.

Good luck
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May 19, 2006 8:36:51 PM

sounds like a great system.

i have a retired Tyan (workstation) motherboard that i bought to go with a SCSI controller that i bought to go with a SCSI-160 drive about 3 years ago. i love it, but - it's expensive. eats a lot of electricity too.

i have a little CAD experience. (starting in 1988, currently training on 3D studio max, background in engineering CAD).

the ECC RAM correlates to a dual processor system (e.g. xeon or opteron 940). it's understood that you want to minimize crashes & freezes - i think you can do this with "normal" RAM, DDR in this case, for example the OCZ DDR Platinum.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

i just bought a dual-CPU opteron system, so far just using it to back up the Max system. it slurps the files off the Asus P5GD that runs Max. that is, copies files in 10 GB chunks without blinking, drag and drop 10 GB as easy as if it were 100 MB. normally backing up is not fun, but when it's got that neck-snapping whip-cracking acceleration, then it's kind of fun.

i think the Asus motherboards that have the 8-phase power, the Asus A8N32 for example, are a good candidate for your system.

i used a mATX motherboard from MSI for my own dual-core Opteron system, but you're talking full-size ATX or maybe E-ATX, sounds like.

Asus P5WD2-WS Premium - one of the things that makes it a great MB, the 8 phase power. not just a marketing gimmick, notably more stable voltages under heavy load. same for the Asus P5N32.

those 2 intel systems (supposedly) share the power-processing part of their designs with the Asus A8N32.

gaming is not a bad background since it is CPU and GPU intensive. the CAD system is not quite so GPU intensive. i think the expensive CAD cards are un-necessary, a way to make money off nervous engineering managers.

i use an Asus X850XT on my Max system, very rarely hiccups. under $200 at last glance, $400 if you buy it from Asus.
May 19, 2006 9:39:46 PM

One of the things I'd like to clear up is that the A8N32-SLI Deluxe is the AMD board with the 8 phase power.
May 20, 2006 12:00:09 AM

hi

good point, Asus A8N32 correlates to AMD chips, Asus P5N32 & P5WD-something-something, hard to keep up, are intel beasts.

emironov, are you open to a system based on Intel ?

i've been drooling over the pentium 950 (dual core, 2 MB cache for each core, 3.4 GHz), imagining how it wouild look with a zalman 9500 fan, .12 degrees C per watt thermal resistance, good choice for an intel based workstation.

but, you said opteron.
May 22, 2006 4:14:48 PM

I am open to an Intel based system, but right now the best bang for the buck seems to bee an AMD based system.
May 22, 2006 7:07:56 PM

Like I said before, I'm not an Intel person. For the longest time, they were over priced and under powered. That being said, the non EE iterations of the Intel D procs are quite nice since they have made the price reasonable. When you step up from an Opteron 180 that is 2.4Ghz, you're looking at a $700 proc. A D920 (2.8Ghz) and D930(3Ghz) are at $215 and the D940 (3.2Ghz) is $253 (pricewatch.com): Quite reasonable IMO.

Something elso you'll want to think about is the fact that Intel has DDR2 support.
May 25, 2006 12:55:22 PM

Tyan has the Tomcat K8E-SLI (S2866) which is one of the few 939 boards to incorporate "ChipKill" ECC memory support, which can make a very resiliant system combined with the on-board SATA RAID and a redundant PSU - risk of data loss will be very minimal.
a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2006 1:49:02 PM

Check out the Abit AN8 32X. It's got 2 SATA controllers, 1 w/2x SATA ports that support RAID0/1, and the 2nd w/4x SATA ports that support RAID 0/1/0+1/5. It doesn't specifically state it supports opty 1xx series procs, but it does support FX procs, typically, if a mobo supports FX it will support opty 100's. Also, do not discount theTyan S2866 which also offers a impressive features. Both of them would make for an excellent workstation mobo.

Good luck!
May 25, 2006 2:09:53 PM

Asus P5WD2-WS Premium has the 8 SATA channels.

Toms did an article on this board as well as some others. The actually like this one for its features. The only thing they poopoo'd was its onboard sound.

The Intel board did surprisingly almost the best of all.

Here is the link.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/05/22/six_975x_enthusi...
a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2006 9:30:51 PM

Quote:
Asus P5WD2-WS Premium has the 8 SATA channels.


But the OP stated:
Quote:
Systems specs (subject to change):
Single Opteron 2.4gh Duel core processor


Unless he decides with 'subject to change' the Asus board isn't skt 939. Why are all your replies pushing this guy towards Intel? If the guy asks for a recommendation for an opteron workstation board, just give him one, it's his build, let him do what he wants.
May 25, 2006 9:47:48 PM

Because he said it at the first. All he knows about is gaming products and that he's not married to the idea of an opteron. I'm trying to give him my best opinion of what is the best for the money. What I'm not doing is attacking anyone. I'm just selling the high points of my own view.

Most of the current socket 939 mb's are designed with gamers in mind. The may not have features he wants and they may not have the features he does.

With the ASUS board, you have the option to use server type cards with the pcix and you can use pcie stuff as well. Not to mention the stability of 8 phase power and DDR2 memory.
September 17, 2008 3:22:12 AM

I'm looking into building a cheap workstation as well. The only problem is that it seems that the hardware for workstations condemns the computer to do solely that.

It breaks my heart to have to pay more for an old graphics card. I am looking for motherboard suggestions, hopefully something that won't condemn the PC. I'll be using DDR2-800 memory that I already have, and will probably use a PNY FX 570 for solidworks and solidedge.

Any motherboard suggestions? Please stay in the 150$ range, don't go over $200.
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