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Pc for SIM with ecc memory

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January 16, 2010 5:17:28 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Probably March / April BUDGET RANGE: < $3,000 can.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Trainz computer SIM, Blender, email, firefox.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, Win 7 64 bit.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca, ncix.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: WIN 7 driver support is very important so ASUS / Intel motherboard, Intel cpu, Antec for a quiet case?

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, SLI is known not to work.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900, possibly 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm using a Touch Stream keyboard which I think is USB 1.1 This keyboard must work with the new machine as I am unable to use a conventional keyboard, ecc memory is not negotiable.
Trainz TS2010 is a 32 bit program that can use 4 gigs of memory with a 64 bit operating system, so 5-6 gigs of ecc memory. It is not disk intensive so a conventional one or two terrabyte drive is fine. Trainz traditionally prefers nVdia cards but directX 11 is a requirement. Trainz traditionally is picky about windows drivers. Reliability is important, energy efficiency is preferred.

I have an in depth knowledge of computer hardware but given the current state of the market place I'm finding USB 1 support and ecc memory to be problematical.

Many thanks

Cheerio John

More about : sim ecc memory

January 17, 2010 12:53:47 PM

USB 2.0 is backwards compatible with USB 1.1. Issue solved.

As far as ECC memory goes, you're pretty much limited to Server boards.

Look for Antec p183 or p193 (newer with gpu side fan, room for taller hsf) for quiet cases.

Need to decide if you're going with an 1156 (Lynnfield), 1366 (Bloomfield/Gainestown) or an AMD solution before you look at boards. I don't know anything about AMD's server class (or consumer for that matter) processors so you'll need to do some digging.

1156 is more energy effecient, 1366 provides better memory bandwidth and higher pcie bandwidth.

Until Fermi launches (2-3 months at best) you're looking at strictly ATI 5xxx series if you need DX11 support.
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January 17, 2010 3:34:08 PM

a4mula said:
USB 2.0 is backwards compatible with USB 1.1. Issue solved.

As far as ECC memory goes, you're pretty much limited to Server boards.

Look for Antec p183 or p193 (newer with gpu side fan, room for taller hsf) for quiet cases.

Need to decide if you're going with an 1156 (Lynnfield), 1366 (Bloomfield/Gainestown) or an AMD solution before you look at boards. I don't know anything about AMD's server class (or consumer for that matter) processors so you'll need to do some digging.

1156 is more energy effecient, 1366 provides better memory bandwidth and higher pcie bandwidth.

Until Fermi launches (2-3 months at best) you're looking at strictly ATI 5xxx series if you need DX11 support.


Is USB 3.0 backward compatible to USB 1? I've seen conflicting information.

Trainz is an open ended SIM which means it can fully utilise any cpu and has be shown to have at least six threads so quad core and it will be a trade off of cash / performance. So probably the Xeon equivalent of an i7 920 or i5 and I'm less familiar with the Xeon names.

Also I need a fairly high end graphics card will a server board support it? Most servers I've seen have low end graphics / monitors on them.

I think I can wait for Fermi, its research time at the moment.

Thanks John
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January 17, 2010 4:31:17 PM

johnwhelan3316 said:
Is USB 3.0 backward compatible to USB 1? I've seen conflicting information.

Trainz is an open ended SIM which means it can fully utilise any cpu and has be shown to have at least six threads so quad core and it will be a trade off of cash / performance. So probably the Xeon equivalent of an i7 920 or i5 and I'm less familiar with the Xeon names.

Also I need a fairly high end graphics card will a server board support it? Most servers I've seen have low end graphics / monitors on them.

I think I can wait for Fermi, its research time at the moment.

Thanks John


Xeon W3520 - This is the Xeon version of the 920. I don't know anything about Trainz, but it's more than likely going to benefit from triple channel memory so 1366 would be my suggestion.

Compatible Motherboards:
Here

Just browse through them, find one that meets your needs. They all support upper-tier gpus. They do not include on-board sound, and you're not going to find one with USB 3.0.
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a b } Memory
January 17, 2010 4:53:53 PM

1. Why do you need ECC? Unless this is mission critical, no need for ECC or server grade hardware.

2. A good i7 920 build will be quite a bit cheaper and allow you to OC.

Quote:
1366 provides better memory bandwidth and higher pcie bandwidth.

Not to mention six core CPU support down the road.

Quote:


Also I need a fairly high end graphics card will a server board support it? Most servers I've seen have low end graphics / monitors on them.

As lng as the server board has a PCIe x16 slot any current gen GPU will work.
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a b } Memory
January 17, 2010 4:56:55 PM

Consider this:

ASUS P6T SE
ATI 5670 (assuming the sim is not that GPU demanding)
i7 920
2x 500GB Samsung F3 (one for OS other for DATA,etc)
HAF 922 or any other good case
Corsair 550VX/650TX/750TX depending on GPU or other high quality PSU from Antec, OCZ, PC Power,etc

That should be ~$1000-1350 CAD
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January 17, 2010 6:23:19 PM

Shadow703793 said:
1. Why do you need ECC? Unless this is mission critical, no need for ECC or server grade hardware.

2. A good i7 920 build will be quite a bit cheaper and allow you to OC.

Quote:
1366 provides better memory bandwidth and higher pcie bandwidth.

Not to mention six core CPU support down the road.

Quote:


Also I need a fairly high end graphics card will a server board support it? Most servers I've seen have low end graphics / monitors on them.

As lng as the server board has a PCIe x16 slot any current gen GPU will work.


IBM research shows that a 4 gig server will throw about 6 memory errors per year. I create models in Blender which take a few months to create one so the last thing I want is an error to creep into one of my creations. If I get a random memory error that is written to disk that's a lot of work wasted. Also I have a B.Sc. in Chemistry so I tend to think in terms of groups of electrons and probability theory when I think of memory cells rather than absolute states. I also happen to be a believer in UPSes, we saw a more than 90% drop in software errors when we installed them in remote locations, its the brownout side that was causing the problem incorrect information being written to the disks when the wall socket voltage dipped, eg the fridge cut in. I'm not the sort of person who overclocks, reliability is more important to me.

By the way have you ever prepared your taxes on a machine with non ecc memory? What would be the result of a bit changing in the tax return?

I agree that i7 920 would be cheaper but that's not what I'm after. I can build a layout that will bring any cpu / graphics card combination to its knees the graphics card bit isn't quite so critical to me, but 2.0 PCI-e is to get the bandwidth, so it comes down to finding a decent motherboard.

Thank you for your input.

Cheerio John
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January 17, 2010 6:40:44 PM

a4mula said:
Xeon W3520 - This is the Xeon version of the 920. I don't know anything about Trainz, but it's more than likely going to benefit from triple channel memory so 1366 would be my suggestion.

Compatible Motherboards:
Here

Just browse through them, find one that meets your needs. They all support upper-tier gpus. They do not include on-board sound, and you're not going to find one with USB 3.0.


So basically a server class board that supports the W3520 cpu and PCI-e 2 should do fine, I'll browse the Intel and ASUS motherboards and see what I can spot, avoiding USB 3 boards just in case. I think I can take it from there.

Thank you.

Cheerio John
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a b } Memory
January 17, 2010 11:20:53 PM

^ Also take a look at Tyan and Supermicro boards.
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January 17, 2010 11:55:12 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Also take a look at Tyan and Supermicro boards.


Given the problems I've seen with Windows drivers for motherboards that are not Intel or ASUS with Trainz I think on the whole I'm happier sticking to Intel or ASUS. The games engine seems to use bits of windows that many other bits of software do not but thanks for the suggestions. If I can't find exactly what I'm after in those two brands then I may look elsewhere. Money is not that much of an issue when you compare the cost of a model railway locos that cost $1,000 each to a computer to ren the SIM.

Cheerio John
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January 27, 2010 11:43:21 PM

Best answer selected by johnwhelan3316.
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