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Building An Engineering Workstation?

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Anonymous
October 28, 2009 1:50:24 AM


Just wanted to ask the community here - how practical/cost-efficient is it to possibly hammer together a new workstation we need at the office?

I've never built a workstation before, but I've put together dozens of home desktops - and it doesn't seem that much harder to piece together. The reason I ask - is simply because Dell charges +$10,000 for a respectable workstation, and simply browsing through the parts on Newegg it looks to me like I could put the same thing together for $6,000. Tops.

Am I missing something here? Does anyone have any advice or experience with this sort of thing. It has always been cheaper to build my own desktops - but is the workstation market really such a racket?

-Puzzled
October 28, 2009 2:49:25 AM

well, it really isn't any different (i helped a friend do a dual Opty build), you are just working with workstation/server parts instead

and for 6K, that is a respectable workstation
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October 28, 2009 3:03:03 AM

Dual Socket LGA 1366 motherboard and a pair of Nahelam Xeons would cost you up to $4000 if you want the high end stuff. What's this workstation gonna be used for? You could wait for the Gulftowns. Maybe that'll be more bang for your buck. That's gonna be crazy. A dual cpu setup will give you 24 threads, more than you'll ever need for a workstation. Dual Opterons will only give you 12 threads if you're using Istanbul Opterons.
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October 28, 2009 3:07:57 AM

Depending on the programs you use you may be better off with a Tesla based build vs a dual LGA 1366 build if you are working with fluid dynamics, it depends on the programs you run, but remember, almost no one custom builds workstations, so dell can sell them at a large premium. Most people think they make money off the average consumer but most of their income is enterprise items.
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October 28, 2009 3:16:19 AM

Quote:
Just wanted to ask the community here - how practical/cost-efficient is it to possibly hammer together a new workstation we need at the office?

I've never built a workstation before, but I've put together dozens of home desktops - and it doesn't seem that much harder to piece together. The reason I ask - is simply because Dell charges +$10,000 for a respectable workstation, and simply browsing through the parts on Newegg it looks to me like I could put the same thing together for $6,000. Tops.

Am I missing something here? Does anyone have any advice or experience with this sort of thing. It has always been cheaper to build my own desktops - but is the workstation market really such a racket?

-Puzzled


Yes, servers and workstations are where the money is. These companies often lose money on desktops in an effort to promote their expensive servers and workstations as a "total system solution". That is, they'll sell a business on a complete settup where the office PC's are unrealistically cheap and everything else is expensive.

You can actually build a more powerful workstation yourself. Generally speaking, the highest-performance desktop parts are faster and have more features. Best of all, you can stick an LGA-1366 Xeon in a Core i7 motherboard.

I've worked with both LGA-1366 1P workstation boards and LGA-1366 desktop boards, I'd personally go with the better-value desktop board. As for the Xeon processor, take a look at the specs and see where you may or may not come out ahead.

If you're going 2P or more, you're stuck with workstation motherboards

As for graphics, get ready to get raped: Workstation graphics cards typically cost 4x the price of the gaming card version, and the only difference is usually BIOS and drivers.
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