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X5500 series Xeons with X58 chipset

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August 15, 2010 11:22:03 PM

Hi
Im looking into getting a workstation for 3D cad work, cant afford anything major. I have been looking at some Dell T3500 workstations (dell outlet stuff produced before Feb 2010).

T3500's have a single LGA1366 socket and use the x58 chipset, now Intel put the x58 with i7's and W3500 Xeon's, but Dell also put E and X5500 series Gainestown Xeon in the T3500 with the x58 which has 1xQPI 6.4 link.

An X5550 has a clock speed 2.66 GHz, two QPI links @ 6.4 GT/s and supports 1333 memory, when the mid range W3500's and i7's with 1x QPI link @ 4.8 GT/s will support 1066 memory. (Xeon's support ECC memory).

Q: Will an X5550 Xeon work without any problems with an x58 chipset, remember it must be solid its for CAD work.
Also what do they do with the other QPI link.
I tryed Dell but eventually could'nt get beyond the standard company line.

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August 15, 2010 11:35:14 PM

High-end gaming is harder on a system than CAD work I can guarantee you, and there's no need to go Xeon for gaming.

You don't need to go Xeon and you can save yourself a lot of money by sticking with a "standard" Core i7.

"They" won't do anything with the extra QPI link as that's used in multiple CPU environment allowing multiple CPUs to talk to each other (i.e. servers and top-end workstation boards). So you won't get any benefit there either from going Xeon.

Also, I really wouldn't bother going with a Dell anyway - if you don't fancy building yourself then go to a local computer shop, or look at other retailers for better deals.

What's your budget?
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August 16, 2010 12:01:27 AM

LePhuronn said:
High-end gaming is harder on a system than CAD work I can guarantee you, and there's no need to go Xeon for gaming.

You don't need to go Xeon and you can save yourself a lot of money by sticking with a "standard" Core i7.

"They" won't do anything with the extra QPI link as that's used in multiple CPU environment allowing multiple CPUs to talk to each other (i.e. servers and top-end workstation boards). So you won't get any benefit there either from going Xeon.

Also, I really wouldn't bother going with a Dell anyway - if you don't fancy building yourself then go to a local computer shop, or look at other retailers for better deals.

What's your budget?


My budget? about £1000 to £1300 depending on Xeon cpu and graphics + monitor, prices variey between suppliers but haggleing is good sport. Oh have the gaming community tested out the ati firepro V4800 graphics card (£140), did it work.
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August 16, 2010 2:02:02 AM

I agree with LePhuronn on the fact that you do not need a server class CPU for a CAD workstation.. My recommendation for the rig will be -

CPU - AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (1090T in case you decide to save up on the monitor or case)

Motherboard - Asrock 890GX Extreme3

RAM - One set of 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333MHz

Video Card - ATI FirePro V4800 1 GB

Hard Drive - 1. Crucial Real SSD 256 GB for OS and apps
2. 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 for backup purposes

PSU - Corsair VX 450W

Case - Lian-Li PC A70F

Monitor - HP LP2475W or LG Flatron M2362D (in case the HP model turns out to be unnecessary and/or taking you out of your budget)..

Have not included keyboard, mouse and optical drives though i guess it should not be a problem for you to decide on.. The recommendation is on the assumption that this is a build for purely workstation purposes (no gaming)..
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August 16, 2010 8:58:48 AM

I'd largely concur with Emperus's build, except for the SSD.

We'd all love to have SSDs but with your budget as tight as it is I think the money could be better spent elsewhere - go up to a FirePro V5800 or even the 2GB V7800, or get 16GB memory. Both of these will benefit your work more than just booting fast.

The case is probably overkill too - if you want a full tower then a Lancool Dragon Lord will work just as well (it's still Lian Li, just built from steel, not aluminium), or look at the midi towers to save a bit of space and cash, again which can be directed into something more productive.

You could also look at the Dell Ultrasharp U2311H monitor - 23" instead of 24" and 1920x1080 resolution (as opposed to 1920x1200) but they're very good monitors and half the price of the HP so you can pick up 2 for the same price.


Plenty of options to consider!
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August 16, 2010 4:10:07 PM

The Phenom X6 build suggested by Emperus would be great for CAD work. +1!

Agreed no need to have a Xeon; waste of money that could be spent on other components

Also consider an i7 930 and the X58 chipset. There are plenty of sub $200 X58 motherboards available and the i7 would offer 8 threads for processing; although the 6 threads of the Phenom are plenty, software depending.

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August 27, 2010 9:40:59 AM

Best answer selected by d-john.
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