Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Dual Processor Workstation on the cheap

Last response: in Systems
Share
September 4, 2006 8:48:38 PM

Hi, first time posting here. Every so often I decide I'm going to build a dual-processor workstation, but when I hit the web, it's more like hitting a wall. No one seems to bring all the info together in one place.

Using my existing eide harddrives and agp video card, I'd like to put together a dual processor workstation for 3D applications such as 3D Studio MAX and other graphics/audio purposes. I'm happy using last generation (or earlier) cpus to save a buck, nothing so far back as PIII. I'm happy using AMD (can't remember the last time I built an intel system). But whatever's both cheap and effective. I realize cheap is relative, so to be specific, I'd like to spend less than $600.

Please advise.
September 4, 2006 9:12:32 PM

Quote:
Hi, first time posting here. Every so often I decide I'm going to build a dual-processor workstation, but when I hit the web, it's more like hitting a wall. No one seems to bring all the info together in one place.

Using my existing eide harddrives and agp video card, I'd like to put together a dual processor workstation for 3D applications such as 3D Studio MAX and other graphics/audio purposes. I'm happy using last generation (or earlier) cpus to save a buck, nothing so far back as PIII. I'm happy using AMD (can't remember the last time I built an intel system). But whatever's both cheap and effective. I realize cheap is relative, so to be specific, I'd like to spend less than $600.

Please advise.


What have you got that still works? If you are looking for a cheap option there may be some things that you do not realise you can re-use.
September 4, 2006 9:23:46 PM

For about $600.... you're going to have to reuse a LOT of hardware if you want to stay around that budget. I'd recommend maybe getting a barebones workstation and that still would bring you up around $1000 simply because it's a dual CPU system. Monarchcomputer might have something though...
Related resources
September 4, 2006 9:28:03 PM

How about dual core instead of dual CPU, your $600 could get a faster dual core then a dual CPU setup IMHO...

Athlon 64 X2 4600+, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Motherboard (AGP and PCIe) so you can you your current card, and upgrade some time http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... Also this mobo has all the legacy connectors so your existing kit will be OK with it.

4GB memory (so 2 of these kits) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Together a little over your $600, but you wont find a faster workstation for the cash....
September 4, 2006 9:32:13 PM

anyone thot that he mite have meant dual-core?
September 4, 2006 10:58:55 PM

Instead of the OCZ value line, get this faster, higher-quality RAM for a similar price: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
Since WinXP will only make use of 3GB (and each program is usually limited to 2GB), hold off on buying the 2nd 2GB. Memory prices have gone up recently; if you're patient, you may be able to get a better price later or on eBay.
September 4, 2006 11:46:32 PM

Quote:
Instead of the OCZ value line, get this faster, higher-quality RAM for a similar price: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
Since WinXP will only make use of 3GB (and each program is usually limited to 2GB), hold off on buying the 2nd 2GB. Memory prices have gone up recently; if you're patient, you may be able to get a better price later or on eBay.


Memory limits can be overcome, either with 64 bit, or 32bit memory tuning - http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PA...

For workstation apps I would go with as much memory as possible. Overall memory is very cheap these days, so don't wait then risk getting second hand kit that may have compatibility issues with your other kit.

I would agree that the memory above is slightly higher quality, but you need to know how to configure the BIOS setup to make it perform fast and reliable, notably the 2.8V required for this memory is non standard.
September 5, 2006 12:37:58 AM

Not dual-core (that's part of the wall you hit when you start looking for dual processor info via price watch or tiger direct, all this dual-core, dual channel crap pops up).

Everything in my current system works, it just steps out for a beer whenever I ramp up Vue 5 Infinite. I have 1 GB of DDR-SDRAM, an Nvidia based 8x agp with 128, 10/100 card.

What frustrates me, other than the above mentioned wall, is what you do find references Xeon, etc., and even the old ones of those are expensive, unless you go real old. My current system has an Athlon 2400+, it should be possible (though I doubt that it is) to simply buy an additional 2400+ processor and a new board capable of hosting the two.

I've long been surprised that Intel, etc. didn't just start offering cpus chipsets that utilized multiple existing processors, and this dual core processor thing seems more of a kludge than anything--hey, now it's a two trick pony...well, not really.
September 5, 2006 12:51:08 AM

Hmm... athlons don't run in a dual-cpu setup. The only dual-cpu mobos out there are socket 940 and 1207. You'd have to go opertron to get that. Although I do think that you could upgrade to a dual-core CPU since if I'm correct AMD-based mobos are dual-core capable. Don't quote me on this as you might have to do some research. But dual-core is the only way you'll be able to go under or around $600
September 5, 2006 1:20:33 AM

I have something you might be interested in, I'll pm you about it. 2opteron 248 clocked at 2.2gz Full coper heatsinks and an asus mobo with some nice features the modle number is K8N-DL. I could part with this for $600 plus what ever shipping is. I also have any other parts you could need, all in perfect working condition. PM me if you are interested or have any questions.
September 5, 2006 8:26:32 AM

Quote:
Not dual-core (that's part of the wall you hit when you start looking for dual processor info via price watch or tiger direct, all this dual-core, dual channel crap pops up).

Everything in my current system works, it just steps out for a beer whenever I ramp up Vue 5 Infinite. I have 1 GB of DDR-SDRAM, an Nvidia based 8x agp with 128, 10/100 card.

What frustrates me, other than the above mentioned wall, is what you do find references Xeon, etc., and even the old ones of those are expensive, unless you go real old. My current system has an Athlon 2400+, it should be possible (though I doubt that it is) to simply buy an additional 2400+ processor and a new board capable of hosting the two.

I've long been surprised that Intel, etc. didn't just start offering cpus chipsets that utilized multiple existing processors, and this dual core processor thing seems more of a kludge than anything--hey, now it's a two trick pony...well, not really.


Whats the problem with Dual core exactly? Dual channel is a completely different animal and is abuot increasing the capability of 2 memory strips by making themwork together, and could be overcome by using faster memory, which you could then dual channel...

But dual core is having two well specified cores in one package. Whether they share Cache. or not, could be said to be a kludge, but I believe that industrial multicore machines (not Xeon, I'm talking about Sun etc.) have been having multiple cores in one package for a very long time. Having the cores so close together with a very high bandwidth connection allows good communication between the two, which is not a bad thing.

If you think that having 1 giant core in the same package would be more effective, I doubt it, you'd get to the point where a processor is doing individual tasks very quickly, but then doing nothing whilst it sorts out what to do next, and gets the IO to pass it over. With 2, or more, cores the processor might take a little longer with each task compared to our hypothetical processor, but the other processor can be getting on with the next task.

Imagine a 4x100 relay team Vs a single 400M runner, imagine if the only rule was that in total the runners had to complete 400M. If the 4x100M runners trggered the next runner at the 20M mark and not the 100M mark they'd complete their 400M a lot quicker.

I'm just trying to enquire as to what justifiable reason do you have for wanting to buy something rare, difficult to support (mobo's are not easy to find, nor are the chips) and probably more expensive, vs something that is as functional, and potentially cheaper.
September 5, 2006 8:56:42 AM

Quote:
Everything in my current system works, it just steps out for a beer whenever I ramp up Vue 5 Infinite. I have 1 GB of DDR-SDRAM, an Nvidia based 8x agp with 128, 10/100 card.


Are you sure you are having CPU performance, and not memory or disk for example? Or even gfx card.... When you have these issues is the CPU sitting solid at 100%?
September 5, 2006 9:22:44 AM

There are multi processor compatible athlons out there called Athlon MP.
September 5, 2006 9:46:03 AM

Hmm... interesting... never heard of that. The only question now is whether or not that would be better than a good dual-core.
September 5, 2006 10:35:06 AM

This is a page on eBay with the Athlon MP for sale.
September 5, 2006 11:32:05 AM

i'm pretty sure the regular athlon can be modded to be a MP version simply by shorting one of the bridges. You can just drop a single strand of wire into the cpu socket shorting two pins before you put the cpu in.

That way you could keep your existing cpu, buy a matching one and buy a new motherbord. That way youd probably be looking at less than $300.
this should get you started:
http://forums.amd.com/lofiversion/index.php/t12480.html

probably not worth the effort though, an entry level athlonx2 or core2 duo will probably outperform it.
September 5, 2006 4:23:43 PM

So, is there a consensus here that a new dual core system (Athlon X2 4400+ or thereabouts) will run faster than an Athlon MP 2400 dual cpu system? What about in conjunction with 3D apps like 3D Studio MAX and Vue, or even Photoshop, which are built for multi-processor threading? Will they be able to take advantage of a dual core in the same fashion they can a dual processor system?
Thanks for all of your help thus far!
September 5, 2006 4:26:19 PM

yes it would be considerably faster. to the program a doubt it would even be able tell the difference between dual core and dual cpu.
September 5, 2006 4:28:19 PM

Dual core is equivelent to dual processor, the only 'style' of dual implementation that might not have drived any benefit was hyperthreading where 1 core acted as if it were two.
September 5, 2006 9:23:55 PM

Interesting. I'm quite certain I read a dual-core -v- dual processor article when dual cores were first coming out that indicated the opposite of what's being said here; however, some more research on the subject does give the gold to the dual-core over the dual processor setup. What I thought was a kludge turns out to be an inexpensive solution. Well, relatively inexpensive, anyway... ;-)

Thanks again, everyone.
September 7, 2006 1:31:20 AM

Quote:
How about dual core instead of dual CPU, your $600 could get a faster dual core then a dual CPU setup IMHO...

Athlon 64 X2 4600+, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Motherboard (AGP and PCIe) so you can you your current card, and upgrade some time http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... Also this mobo has all the legacy connectors so your existing kit will be OK with it.

4GB memory (so 2 of these kits) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Together a little over your $600, but you wont find a faster workstation for the cash....


Looks good, except it doesn't take eide hdd's, that I can see. Still, it's only $521 today.

Thanks.
September 7, 2006 8:21:13 AM

its a good choice, but why did u suggest s939 instead of AM2?
September 7, 2006 9:19:38 AM

how about super cheap?
I've got an HP X4000 dual 2.8Ghz Xeon (socket 603) with a gig of RDram off of a "to be scrapped" pile.
these seem to come up for el-cheapo prices on ebay. i dunno. just a thought.

:wink:
September 7, 2006 11:15:12 AM

you are right, it is just a thought.

never buy computer/computer parts off ebay. u cant guarantee the condition of them.
September 7, 2006 11:37:45 AM

i wouldn't go that far, i've done fairly well with the odd bits and pieces i've got.

the only time i got stung was years ago trying to get hold of 1ghz P3 chips when they had just come out. got a tray of dead chips. other than that, its just common sence really.
September 7, 2006 12:12:18 PM

Quote:
How about dual core instead of dual CPU, your $600 could get a faster dual core then a dual CPU setup IMHO...

Athlon 64 X2 4600+, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Motherboard (AGP and PCIe) so you can you your current card, and upgrade some time http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... Also this mobo has all the legacy connectors so your existing kit will be OK with it.

4GB memory (so 2 of these kits) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Together a little over your $600, but you wont find a faster workstation for the cash....


Looks good, except it doesn't take eide hdd's, that I can see. Still, it's only $521 today.

Thanks.

Sorry, need to brush up on my nomenclature, PATA equals what I've been calling eide, thus it will work with all of my current equipment, so I bought it. Thanks!
!