I have two Xeon x3220 quad core CPUs left over from a project. I'm looking to build a general purpose home office system to replace my aging Pentium D. I'll run following apps:
- Vista now, Windows 7 later
- Regular Microsoft business apps like office, etc.
- Pinnacle Studio for video editing
- VMWare, so I can open my Linux virtual machines. I typically don't run more then one machine at the time, but when I do they are not doing much.
- TV Tuner card to record regular and HDTV and stream/share recordings to two other media players in the house. I'm not doing that now, so not sure what application I'll use for that.
- No games
So I have a couple of questions as I try to figure out my design:
- Is there a dual socket 775 motherboard that will take my x3220 CPUs? I know xeon is meant for servers, but I'd like my motherboard to fit a standard ATX case.
- Will my applications actually benefit from having 8 cores? Even if slightly, remember my CPUs are free. Will I need more RAM because I have 8 cores?
- If no reasonably priced/sized dual socket board is available, what's the good single socket motherboard I should use? There are so many choices, I'm struggling with all the options. Be specific with a make/model, not just a chipset.
- Any suggestions on memory to use with that board? I want to cram this baby to the max, so I don't have to think about upgrading for a couple of years. I want to take a full advantage of the speed that CPU and motherboard support. DDR2 or DDR3?
- Economically, does my plan make sense? Am I better off buying/building another system for the money I can get for the two x3220s plus what I'll spend on the motherboard? I figure I can probably get $300 for my CPUs, one is still sealed in the box.
I have seen these installed in pedestal workstations, used as high end CAD systems. Keep in mind to get registered or un-buffered memory, minimum of 4Gb. Ensure that you have a 64 bit OS that will support the total amount of memory if you decide to go big (more than 4Gb). I would install 8 or 16Gb of memory, depending on the max supported on the mobo.
Newegg sells the asus p5BV-C for $189.99 that lists support for your 3220 xeon and can use either regular ddr2 or ecc ddr2. No manufacturer makes dual 775 boards, so the other xeon can be used as a spare.