Need recommendation for Mid-High End workstation/gaming system


The last system I build started getting a little flaky - I've been trying to re-install Vista Ultimate 64-bit for the last 24 hours without much success. As soon as it installs and I try to load the latest Geforce drivers, the whole system crashes. I'm running the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool overnight in Extended test mode to see if there's a bad module.

I'm a computer consultant, and I do a lot of computer programming, running virtual machines at times, and then gaming when time permits. My typical process is to take my old workstations and turn them into file/application servers for my development.

The last system is roughly this:
Tyan S2895 Mobo
Dual Opteron 280 CPUs
4GB ram
4 500GB SATA3 RAID 0+1
Dual NVIDIA 7900 GTX (512MB)

I ran this with dual boot for XP Pro (tried 64 bit, but not enough driver support to stayed with 32 bit) and Vista Ultimate 64 bit. It's been a great workstation

I don't have time to fiddle without my main workstation, so I'm thinking it's time to replace this with a new machine and as I have time I'll convert this to still a rather nice app/file server. I probably still want Vista Ultimate 64 bit and XP Pro. I run dual displays at 1900x1200 resolution. Besides programming in .Net and Java, and running Oracle and/or SQL Server, I like to play Flight Sim X, Supreme Commander, Lord of the Rings Online, and other such games at 1900x1200. I've contemplated the video cards that are dual GPUs integrated into 1 slot, but I'm thinking that will not be as efficient if dual PCI-E slots have better bandwidth these days. I was assuming a quad-core CPU or two, but I've also seen posts that say you can get better performance with dual core.

Based on this info, what would you recommend? I need at least 4 SATA ports for Raid 0+1, and additional ones might be nice to have a drive for automated backups!

Thank you!

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More about need recommendation high workstation gaming system
  1. The problem is that the real performance is with Intel chips on Intel CPU boards. you can get lots of SATA ports on a P45 board, but you are limited to one CPU.

    You loose some performance in crossfire on a P45 board, as opposed to a x48, but you would see more SATA ports and other features... Performance loss would likely be around 8 FPS average at 1900x1200, with two 4870s.
  2. Is there a budget?
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