I have query regarding my next build. I am considering building a dual opteron system featuring 2 opteron 2382 (4x2.6GHz) on a Tyan n6650w S2915 Motherboard, with 8GBytes of ECC registered 800MHz DDR2 Ram. Also the system would for the mean time have 2 x 9800 GTXs (running in sli, which I own already in 2 seperate systems I'm breaking up and selling) which would later be upgraded to 2 new fermi cards (e.g GTX 470 or 460 etc). I will use Fruity loops, sony vegas pro, and folding @ home on this system. It will also serve as a data server for my flat (5 other people would be able to access it). Also the system will be used for gaming, highend FPS and RTS directx 10/11 games etc. The system will also be connected to 3 monitors (1680x1050). I'm planning on 4 1TB HDDs in raid and Windows 7 Pro 64bit. Now you probably think I'm mad/complete noob for building a PC like this to game on, but this would actually be the third dual process pc I've built, and I loved those two previous setups, they were just so fast and stable. The first system I built was back in 2003.
First Dual CPU system specs (second hand parts off ebay came to £600):
Tyan Tiger MPX Motherboard (S2466 i think)
2 x Athlon MP 2200+ CPUs
2GBytes ECC DDR 266
ATi Radeon 9800 Pro
2 x 120GB IDE HDDs in Raid
Creative Audigy 2 (6.1) Sound card
Lian Li 6077 case
Cheap 500 Watt PSU
This system was great, it was sooooo stable, never crashed once in it's 1.5 years, it's low powered cpus let it down in single threaded applications/games though (which in 2003 was nearly everthing), and the lack of inbuilt USB 2.0 did lead me to eventually selling it and upgrading to something a little bit more special in my next dual cpu build in early 2005.
Second build specs (all second hand off ebay except MB came to £1200 at the time):
Tyan Thunder K8WE S2895 motherboard (nForce 2200 and 2050 pro chipsets)
2 x AMD Opteron 250 (2.4GHz)
4GBytes ECC DDR 400Mhz (8x512MB)
2 x Nvidia 6800 Ultras in SLi
Audigy 2 Sound card (from previous setup)
2 x 160GB SATA II HDDs (7200RPM) in Raid
Tagan 600Watt PSU
Lian Li PC-70 case
2 x Zalman 9500 Cu fans and 2 x Zalman GPU fans (can't remember what they were called).
I loved this PC, it was faster then any other PC i had ever used by a mile, just one opteron and one 6800 was fast but 2 working together made it unbelievable under XP pro. It was incredibly stable (not as stable as previous setup until tyan release bios update though), and scaled brilliantly in 3d Mark 05 (5800 points one card, 11000 points 2 cards). I eventually sold it in 2007 while at university because i needed the cash, but I do miss the speed and reliability. I do remember playing subcom on it, a game it was almost designed for. I know it wouldn't be fast by todays standards but back then it was. I'm now considering a 3rd and wondered if you guys would recommend the setup I mentioned at the top (again I'll gathering what i can through ebay). I realise for what I use it for most of you will think it's a waste, and games are only threaded to 2-4 cpu cores at best, but building computers is my hobbie and want something different to just an i7, and if i bought a 965 or 1090T setup i'd just feel like i'd bought second best. Will the slow ddr2 800 ecc ram and lack of PCI-E 2.0 be a big bottle neck, and are the 2382 opterons any good really? My limited knowledge/experience leads me to think that this setup would suit two cards in SLi really well, since each card has it's own chipset and cpu, like it did in my K8WE setup? So this setup or some i7 thing?
Depends on your budget and motherboard price. Dual xeon 1366 core i7 boards start at $260 at newegg, while low end xeons are around $200 each. Either setup should serve your purposes well. I recommend against dual video card setups due to the heat if you run 24/7. You also must consider power costs; high end video cards are energy hogs.
Cheers for responses guys, yeah now you come to mention it, 2 of the new high end nvidia cards consume a lot of power, and will be very hot, I think I'll go for a i7 setup with a 5870 and take it from there. Thanks again for your comments/answers.