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Best workstation cpu?

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  • Workstations
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April 24, 2008 11:12:28 PM

So, I recently started a new job and was talking to one of the guys about computers and all the workstaions at our shop have xeon cpu's. Which I know are good, all though I relate them more closely with servers for no particular reason. Since I am not very in touch with workstation builds, what are now considered top of the line as far as cpu's go? Are dual cpu's (and motherboards) big time with software for workstations? Pro-engineering, Work-NC and other cad/toolpathing software specifically? Thanks for any replies.

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April 25, 2008 8:18:32 AM

Xeons aren't any faster than a core 2 duo with the same clock and FSB.
so I don't see any sense in buying a single Xeon configuration.
Xeons are great if you want more than one CPU. this gives you access to 8 cores, when two xeon quadcores are combined!!! Boxx sells a workstation with sixteen cores based on Xeons...But be aware that still many, many operations in 3d aren't multithreading! You will gain tons of time while rendering, streaming, or during complicated simulations but almost nothing during modelling etc

btw: I have a dual xeon setup with two dual core cpus (total 4 cores) running with 2.33ghz 1333 FSb, but I guess that a single q9300 core duo (4*2.4ghz/1333 fsb) will be of the same speed, while costing a fraction!!!
It departments rarely know what they buy...
April 25, 2008 9:28:50 AM

Xeon's are just a better build standard. They will run 24/7 for 10+ years where a standard desktop CPU will be prone to die around the 10 year mark. It's just higher grade silicon and better temperature tolerances.
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April 25, 2008 9:35:10 AM

lukasdesign said:
Xeons aren't any faster than a core 2 duo with the same clock and FSB.
so I don't see any sense in buying a single Xeon configuration.
Xeons are great if you want more than one CPU. this gives you access to 8 cores, when two xeon quadcores are combined!!! Boxx sells a workstation with sixteen cores based on Xeons...But be aware that still many, many operations in 3d aren't multithreading! You will gain tons of time while rendering, streaming, or during complicated simulations but almost nothing during modelling etc

btw: I have a dual xeon setup with two dual core cpus (total 4 cores) running with 2.33ghz 1333 FSb, but I guess that a single q9300 core duo (4*2.4ghz/1333 fsb) will be of the same speed, while costing a fraction!!!
It departments rarely know what they buy...


I'll have you know I know exactly what I'm buying! :p 

Without more info it's hard to say. Newer Xeons are (can be) quad core and run at (up to) 1600FSB so will be ideal for CAD work, however as lukas said, a dual core at the same speed and FSB as a core2 won't make much of a performance difference. Boonality also makes a valid point that as server chips, these will last forever and a day and are incredibly reliable- they are essentially the best of the best Core2 cores.
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April 26, 2008 3:15:09 AM

jjknoll said:
So, I recently started a new job and was talking to one of the guys about computers and all the workstaions at our shop have xeon cpu's. Which I know are good, all though I relate them more closely with servers for no particular reason. Since I am not very in touch with workstation builds, what are now considered top of the line as far as cpu's go? Are dual cpu's (and motherboards) big time with software for workstations? Pro-engineering, Work-NC and other cad/toolpathing software specifically? Thanks for any replies.


It all depends on what you are wanting to run. If your apps need four or fewer cores and no more than 8 GB RAM, then a standard Core 2 Quad or Phenom X4 9x50 will be just fine. These chips have identical dies to the Xeons and Opterons that fit in the same single-socket motherboards and should be just as reliable. The real difference between stability and reliability of "consumer" versus "workstation" computers more lies in the motherboard. Fortunately there are socket 775 and socket AM2 server boards that are just as high-quality and stable as the dual and quad-socket ones.

If you want to run apps that need more than 8 GB RAM or 4 cores, you will need to get a dual-socket motherboard as the single-socket ones are limited to four 2 GB modules at the present. Sure, the DDR3 versions of the Intel P35 and X38 are supposed to support more than 8 GB RAM, but I have not seen 4 GB unbuffered DDR3 DIMMs for sale yet, and they are going to be obscenely expensive when they do show up. The Xeon 5400 series is currently faster than the Opteron 2300 series as the Opterons only go up to 2.30 GHz (2356) while the Xeons clock 900 MHz higher (X5474.) You can stuff up to 64 GB RAM into a dual socket 771 system at the present (16 slots * 4 GB DIMMs) or 128 GB into a dual socket 1207 system (16 slots * 8 GB DIMMs.) The latter will cost you $88,000 for the memory as two 8 GB DDR2-667 DIMMs cost $11,000.
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