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2xClovertown As A Workstation? Why Not?

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December 7, 2006 8:12:43 AM

I asked this question in another thread but got no takers. Let's see if I can propose this to the high and exalted gurus on this forum and pray that they may properly interpret the sacred goat entrails for the benefit of this mere humble prole.

Ok, I admit it. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. I watch Maury and still get a kick when the big ugly dude IS the father. So I'm not afraid to ask stupid questions.

Registered RAM is more expensive than the garden variety. Fair enough. Now what other reason is there to not use a twin Clovertown as my own workstation?

Will it run Vista? Has to.

Will it run all the sw that runs on Vista? Should.

Will the sw that can take advantage of megacores run like a hamster trying to get away from Richard Gere? Damn straight.

So what are the reasons why this is being marketed exclusively as a server product? What am I missing here?
December 7, 2006 8:58:44 AM

There are workstations being reviewed/announced with 2P Clovertowns totalling 8 cores, so I'm not sure what the question is.

If you mean to ask why they are so expensive like other servers, then the answer is probably that Intel understands people needing 8-core workstations can afford such prices. There are or will soon be 4-core 1P systems at much lower price points.
December 7, 2006 9:04:17 AM

Quote:
There are workstations being reviewed/announced with 2P Clovertowns totalling 8 cores, so I'm not sure what the question is.

If you mean to ask why they are so expensive like other servers, then the answer is probably that Intel understands people needing 8-core workstations can afford such prices. There are or will soon be 4-core 1P systems at much lower price points.


Let me rephrase it. I have a very average user profile. A little bit of gaming. I up and download (fully legal, paid content... :twisted: ) 24/7. My apps are mostly Office, Adobe CS & Web Authoring. That's it. The CS is supposed to be able to take advantage of as many cores as I can feed it. So if I were to get a 2xClovertown, run Vista Ultimate on it, mortgage the house to fill it with RAM, is there any reason why that would not be an appropriate and killer-fast system for my uses?
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December 7, 2006 9:39:28 AM

You should be able to do it, I mean I don't see why not... the only question is... are you willing to spend that kind of money on RAM and everythign else. If you're getting something with that kind of power I'd highly suggest getting over 4 sticks of ram.

Edit: Also... make sure you have a potent PSU...
December 7, 2006 9:46:14 AM

I hope this isn't taken the wrong way. 8)

But Parallels for Windows XP, or Boot-camp, pretty much the same software for your uses, and a BSD based Kernel for an image editing professional (or prosumer). (Just add a Logitech mouse though :wink: )

http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/coreanimation.html
http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/index.html
http://www.apple.com/macpro/ (wait for this line to be updated for 2 x quad-core processors - Note that it uses FB-DIMMs, which will enable much density / quantity of memory).

I am not pro mac, nor am I anti-mac.

Just thought that perhaps, based on your usage patterns, you'd enjoy a more granualar OS Kernel (BSD), with applications that typically take immedate advantage of more cores (vs Windows Scheduler / App coding style + methods which oft require 6+ month waits, patches and/or new versions of software to take advantage of more cores).

I could say the same for BSD or Linux, or BeOS, but they are not as user friendly.

8)

Note: I am 70% PC User, The remaining 30% is dynamic depending what the market offers, and what my (and others) demands are.
December 7, 2006 9:55:51 AM

You know... that's an interesting idea... although I see what you're saying. True... linux... BSD... those do take advantage of those extra cores quite nicely. I will admit that linux isn't as user friendly... but SuSe and Redhat aren't that bad in my experience...

I too am more of a PC user... although simply out of the fact that I'm too broke to get a MacPro...
December 7, 2006 10:18:47 AM

I'd put him in the prosumer / workstation - server hybrid group. (Much like myself, after a decade of over-clocking PCs and testing stuff to near destruction).

Tyan - www.tyan.com - others, heck even Gigabyte have a server/workstation main-board line)*, and Apple Mac - www.apple.com - would cater for his 'long term' desires in a PC.

*[ http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/products/Networking/Products... ]

2D Image editing doesn't require a powerful GPU, unless you're using software that offloads to the GPU (some Apple software can do this, easily) such as Adobe Premiere (Video editing, but not every function is offloaded).

Prosumer / Workstation - Server Hybrid group:
The ocassional 3D render only really needs a mid-line video card.

Unlikely to overclock.

Doesn't need SLI or Crossfire

Most likely only a light gamer now, but used to be a heavy gamer

'Old SCSI' not desirable over SAS/SATA RAID

Apple use an EFI instead of the old BIOS system. IA-64 machines used an EFI, and future PCs will use EFI.

Most likely has a vested interest in photography, of 8 to 10.24 Megapixels and beyond (high DPI scans of film or printed photos), and/or High Definition Video.

Before work is cached a 2 or 4 drive RAID setup would assist loading large files, and/or with streaming uncompressed video.

If an application is threaded (almost every application is) it will not scale on Windows until it is specifically re-designed & re-compiled to be 'multi'-threaded.

BSD applications do not really have this issue, you give the BSD Kernel more cores to use, and it dispatches threads to them, it scales well, and uses very short (and most likely fixed length) timeslices.

Windows works the same way, but for reasons I won't cover in a post applications do not scale until after they are at least re-compiled or unless originally designed for 4 - 32 cores. Windows uses long timeslices, of variable length in most varients of the Windows Kernel. Basically: It is less granular and harder to get software to scale well on it. (Despite the fact the Win32 Kernel has supported 32 processor cores for around a decade).
December 7, 2006 10:57:24 AM

Quote:
So what are the reasons why this is being marketed exclusively as a server product? What am I missing here?
Because it is a server product; you'll probably have a hard enough time finding use for 4 cores as it is.
December 7, 2006 11:47:02 AM

I am in the process of building a server around a Supermicro server board. I will be running virtual machines of Windows XP and Vista, so I can justify the Quad processor and the expensive FBDimms. But when you start pricing out the parts and the high performance drive options such as the Western Digital Raptors or even more expensive the SAS (serial attached scsi) drives. And the server boards typically do not do SLI or crossfire (not that you would really need it with the latest video cards). My system total cost with 2 Terebytes of disk space is over $12,000.00.


Hope this helps.
December 7, 2006 12:19:10 PM

This pretty well suits me to a T!

_________________________________________________________________________

Prosumer / Workstation - Server Hybrid group:

The occassional 3D render only really needs a mid-line video card. CHECK!

Unlikely to overclock. CHECK!

Doesn't need SLI or Crossfire. DX10 FOR VIDEO ONLY. CHECK!

Most likely only a light gamer now, but used to be a heavy gamer. ALWAYS A LIGHT GAMER. CHECK!

'Old SCSI' not desirable over SAS/SATA RAID. SATA RAID 1 ONLY. CHECK!

Apple use an EFI instead of the old BIOS system. IA-64 machines used an EFI, and future PCs will use EFI. EFI MUCH BETTER THAN BIOS.

Most likely has a vested interest in photography, of 8 to 10.24 Megapixels and beyond (high DPI scans of film or printed photos), and/or High Definition Video. HEAVY, HEAVY VIDEO, SOME HD VID, TONS OF STREAMS. CHECK!

Before work is cached a 2 or 4 drive RAID setup would assist loading large files, and/or with streaming uncompressed video. HUGE FILES. SOME OVER 10GB. CHECK!

_________________________________________________________________________

Now the reason why I wanna shy away from Mac or any other OS is that I do play around with software quite a bit, some for work and some just for the halibut. From freeware and shareware all the way to megabuck proprietary sw. I don't use it much and in some cases I install it, use it once and uninstall it, but the vast majority (read 95%) of this sw is Win Only. I'd much rather not get into booting multiple OSs and found that XP SP2 keeps me very happy, thank you very much. My current system passes the Vista test for Ultimate but I'm not gonna move into Vista until I have a killer system that snorts Vista Ultimate and laughs. That's why I'm trying to configure specifically a dynooooooooomite system specifically for Vista Ultimate.

Why Vista Ultimate? Not because of the fancyass transparent windows that you can't read anyway. But there are some features that I want bigtime. Like ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive. SuperFetch sounds like fun too. Plus I spend about three hours a day watching vids on the system so the built-in Media Center goodies are handy. Also I'm hot on DX10 and I'm a bit unsure about the support over on the Linux side.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but I'm under the impression that Adobe CS apps are multithreaded right now and can take advantage of a huge number of cores and a similarly awesome amount of RAM. I wanna pack out my motherboard with as much RAM as I can afford.

Also, just how much more expensive is the Registered RAM over, say, DDR2?

Plus, if I wanna avoid SAS can I use SATA components like the same ol' Raptors everybody else uses?
December 7, 2006 12:44:35 PM

FB-DIMMs cost alot now

Registered (ECC or otherwise) DDR1/2 DIMMs have come down, esp the better 'x4' ones (vs 'x8' ones).

The point of FB-DIMMs is that they'll scale to 64 - 128 GB, likely on the same platform if you purchase one around May 2007, maybe a shade earlier, and last you a good 5 years hopefully (Longevity).

You'd need to check a price grabber for your Geographic localle, as FB-DIMMs are not available every yet.

The other option is to look towards Dell PowerEdge 1950 style rack mountable systems, just something with more CPU grunt.

I am considering a dual-gigabit DIY NAS box to hold all my data (file/web/ftp server), and a seperate PC to manipulate it all with (workstation or workstation-server hybrid).

Custom Tyan / SuperMicro / etc builds can get quite expensive quickly.

In May 2007 the US$ is expected to slump
It'll also be just after a tech boom (new tech, refreshes on all GPU lines and CPU lines - Chaos theory works btw !!!)
Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5 might be out, or almost out), BootCamp / Parallels are very tempting to me (maybe far less so for you though, depends on software, and if you are really under vendor lock in for a Win32 or Win.x64 platform).

Try and generate a list off all the software you use, and use my enhanced Pareto table to class how often you use each app / suite. (If you are spending over $5,000 AU$ or US$ on a machine, a few hours of research might cut off several hundred dollars and/or assist in purchase direction.

Iteration: Positive Balance: Negative Balance:
1 70.71068% 29.28932%
2 79.28932% 20.71068%
3 83.57864% 16.42136%
4 86.27525% 13.72475%
5 88.15894% 11.84106%
6 89.56105% 10.43895%
7 90.65076% 9.34924%
8 91.52485% 8.47515%
9 92.24313% 7.75687%
10 92.84482% 7.15518%
11 93.35679% 6.64321%
12 93.79811% 6.20189%
13 94.18274% 5.81726%
14 94.52115% 5.47885%
15 94.82133% 5.17867%
16 95.08951% 4.91049%
17 95.33064% 4.66936%
18 95.54867% 4.45133%
19 95.74681% 4.25319%
20 95.92771% 4.07229%
21 96.09355% 3.90645%
22 96.24615% 3.75385%
23 96.38706% 3.61294%
24 96.51760% 3.48240%
25 96.63887% 3.36113%
26 96.75184% 3.24816%
27 96.85735% 3.14265%
28 96.95611% 3.04389%
29 97.04876% 2.95124%
30 97.13586% 2.86414%


As forums replace tabs with spaces, just copy/paste into NOTEPAD and Find, Replace All: "[Single Space]", With: "[4 - 8 spaces]", Then Use Format, Font, and select a Fixed Width font (eg: FixedSys, or Courier). Could also try importing it into OpenOffice SpreadSheet or MS Excel, etc

Note: 0 is 50/50, and -1 is just a mirror of +1 (-2 is mirror of +2, etc).
Positive = Used, Negative = Not used

I use this table (to do many things, but in this case) to class each application or suite, how often it might be used, how critical it really is, etc

As you fall into what I term as the 'enough instinct you're classed as a genius by some of your peers, and a madman by others' category ( :? - I feel like I know you - :lol:  ) then you'll figure this table out after sleeping on it.

8) - Tabris:D arkPeace
December 7, 2006 2:12:50 PM

Quote:
FB-DIMMs cost alot now

Registered (ECC or otherwise) DDR1/2 DIMMs have come down, esp the better 'x4' ones (vs 'x8' ones).

The point of FB-DIMMs is that they'll scale to 64 - 128 GB, likely on the same platform if you purchase one around May 2007, maybe a shade earlier, and last you a good 5 years hopefully (Longevity).

You'd need to check a price grabber for your Geographic localle, as FB-DIMMs are not available every yet.

The other option is to look towards Dell PowerEdge 1950 style rack mountable systems, just something with more CPU grunt.

I am considering a dual-gigabit DIY NAS box to hold all my data (file/web/ftp server), and a seperate PC to manipulate it all with (workstation or workstation-server hybrid).

Custom Tyan / SuperMicro / etc builds can get quite expensive quickly.

In May 2007 the US$ is expected to slump
It'll also be just after a tech boom (new tech, refreshes on all GPU lines and CPU lines - Chaos theory works btw !!!)
Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5 might be out, or almost out), BootCamp / Parallels are very tempting to me (maybe far less so for you though, depends on software, and if you are really under vendor lock in for a Win32 or Win.x64 platform).

Try and generate a list off all the software you use, and use my enhanced Pareto table to class how often you use each app / suite. (If you are spending over $5,000 AU$ or US$ on a machine, a few hours of research might cut off several hundred dollars and/or assist in purchase direction.

(LOTSA NUMBERS)

As forums replace tabs with spaces, just copy/paste into NOTEPAD and Find, Replace All: "[Single Space]", With: "[4 - 8 spaces]", Then Use Format, Font, and select a Fixed Width font (eg: FixedSys, or Courier). Could also try importing it into OpenOffice SpreadSheet or MS Excel, etc

Note: 0 is 50/50, and -1 is just a mirror of +1 (-2 is mirror of +2, etc).
Positive = Used, Negative = Not used

I use this table (to do many things, but in this case) to class each application or suite, how often it might be used, how critical it really is, etc

As you fall into what I term as the 'enough instinct you're classed as a genius by some of your peers, and a madman by others' category ( :? - I feel like I know you - :lol:  ) then you'll figure this table out after sleeping on it.

8) - Tabris:D arkPeace


Unfortunately the unanimous verdict of my peers so far has been "madman." Nice to think that there may be genius in there somewhere. Maybe if I get a shovel and start digging deep beneath the perversity... :twisted:

I'm gonna put my thinking cap on and apply your Pareto table. Should prove to be interesting and worthwhile!!!

The only prob I can see is that probably a third of my total usage is one only apps that get uninstalled as quickly as they are installed. So that is gonna add an item of uncertainty into the equation.

Actually, the FB-DIMMs are not as outrageous as I had feared.

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

I dunno about the Transcend brand name but I'm sure that for a relatively minor extra cost I could let my fingers do the walking through the Froogle Pages for acknowledged leader brand name FB-DIMMs. $343 for a 2GB stick on a server MB with 8 slots will give me 16GB for $2744. So let's budget about 3 grand for top name brand. Not bad.

Rackmount! Hot! I like it. Maybe I can walk around with a blade like that hapless nerd in the server commercials! Last time I walked around with a blade I narrowly escaped two to five. 8)

I'm definitely VendorLocked on Win, so might as well make the best of it. I tried checking out the NAS article on THG but all I'm getting is 404s. But the way I figger it, all I really need is a relatively stripped down system. (Suggestions heartily encouraged and welcomed.)

MB: $500?
CPU: 2xClovertowns - $1,500 each???
RAM: 16GB - $3,000
DX10 Card: $600
HDs: 1x160GB Raptor for C and 4x750GB 7200.10s for data on RAID 1. (Backup, backup and backup some mo'!) - $2,000

(Question: If I wanna use 2x750GB on RAID 0 and back 'em up in real time on the other 2x750GBs do I do RAID 5? Recommendations? Also, any ideas on pricing on the future hybrid HDs for the ReadyStuff?)

Put in about $800 for various bits like cooling, killer PSU, etc. I've already got a 28inch tower case that I can hide dead bodies inside of, I'm ok with Monitor, etc. so it looks like the total damage including the XP-to-Vista Ultimate upgrade is well under ten grand.

I won't have to mortgage the house after all. Just have to put a few assets for sale on Ebay. Let's see. The Turbo Vibrator with Rabbit Nub... hmm... I get nuthin' out of it, all it gives me is a numb hand while she screams and moans, so it's LISTED. The 24V truck batteries with nipple clips. Got her into the ER last time and her insurance had lapsed. Cost me a fortune. It's LISTED. The contortionist multi-adjustable sex cot... I'm getting too old to do Cirque De Soleil moves, all I wanna do is get my rocks off and go to sleep. It's LISTED. The bikini bondage outfit with clamps... nah... she looks too good in that. It STAYS.

Yeah. I can make $10K. No prob.

If worse comes to worse, I can always hire out the old lady to my buddies. They're all hot for her anyway. Might be able to video it too. Hmm... getting me thinking here... there might be a way to make this a wash... :twisted:
December 10, 2006 1:45:53 AM

To start with I'd havea look at:
http://www1.ap.dell.com/content/products/productdetails...

and:

http://dellstore03.dell.com.au/public/catalog.jsp?c=AU&...

[Prices if any, might be in AU$ with these links btw]

Find what you like, and dislike about them,

Check out Tyan - www.tyan.com and SuperMicro - http://www.supermicro.com/ ; for mainboards.

The mainboards should have a Qualified RAM list, I'd be looking at those FB-DIMMs in particular.

Then check out the chipsets at:
http://www.intel.com/products/server/chipsets/index.htm... ; see if anything in particular takes your fancy.

Boards at:
http://www.intel.com/products/server/motherboard/index....

And pre-fab Intel systems at:
http://www.intel.com/products/server/platforms/index.ht...


If you want RAID-0 and a 'real-time' (instant) backup that would be RAID-0/1 or RAID-1/0. However it will not protect you from a virus, accidental file deletion, etc (It is just a RAID system, it isn't really a backup substitute).

HDDs would be fine at Seagate 7200.10 SATA-3Gbps, NCQ, etc, any normal sort of HDD. Otherwise go SAS, not that you'll need it.

Depending on chassis, your PowerSupply may very well come with the unit.

The rest is pretty easy.
December 10, 2006 7:47:41 AM

Thanks, TDP. Really appreciate the links. And just in time to change my list and be able to ask Santa for these goodies....

I wish! :lol: 

So I could set up RAID 1/0 to do the trick? Sounds like fun. I'm not worried about virus, etc. as the setup that I've used for years is to have an extra set of backup HDs that are kept offsite and cycled back about once a week. This way if the building burns down or somebody just walks off with the system, no big harm is done. The data I have is worth many times the cost of a system (to me anyway) and there is no real way to insure the cost of the data, just the cost of the hw.

The one that really tickles my fancy is the:

SuperMicro Tower 7045B-T

1. Dual Intel® 64-bit Xeon® Dual-Core, (Change to Quad)
667 / 1066 / 1333 MHz FSB
2. Up to 32GB 667/533MHz DDR2 ECC
FB-DIMM (Fully Buffered DIMM)
3. 2 (xEIGHT) & 1 (x 4) PCI-Express,
2x 64-bit 133MHz PCI-X,
1x 64-bit 100MHz PCI-X
4. Intel® (ESB2/Gilgal) 82563EB Dual-port
Gigabit Ethernet Controllerr
5. 6 x 1" Hot-swap SAS/SATA Drive
Bays
6. 650W Power Supply

Hot diggity dawg! Now that sucka gonna scream. I wouldn't get greedy and fill it with 4GB FB-DIMMs, I'll just go with 2GBs and top out at 16GB. After all, Bill Gates once said that nobody will ever need more than 16GB RAM... or was it 640K?

The only prob I found is that unlike the Aussie Dell sites Supermicro doesn't list any prices. That Super X7DBE mainboard is the hot ticket. Once you have that, the rest is easy to price out. And I found one for $447.

Now all I gotta do is get the money. As I said, I could sell my gf to my buddies. But I might go pull an ATM outta a wall with my pickup truck too. I'll have to figure that out... :twisted:

NOTE: Edited a couple of thousand times since that xEIGHT was always coming out as a x8)
!