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BestConfigs - High-End Workstation

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August 30, 2010 7:53:50 PM

We're updating the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and are opening the field to user recommendations! Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 recommendations in each category to put to a public vote. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware's BestConfigs, and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with special notice in the feature article.

Post your entries to this thread for the category of High-End Workstation, stay within $4700 and be sure to list the following components-

Processor:
Motherboard:
RAM:
Graphics Card:
Hard Drive:
Case:
Power Supply:
DVD Burner:

Good luck, and may the best builds win!
August 30, 2010 9:09:08 PM

CPU: intel xeon e5640 X2

Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DTi-F-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520 Extended ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600 Series Server Motherboard

RAM: Crucial 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Server Memory Model CT3KIT51272BB1339 2 of these giving you 24gb of ram which is enough for a small ram disc

GPU: I have no clue what this system will be used for but let me take a stab and say a Quadro FX 4000.

HDD: LSI 9260-8i + 4X spinpoint F3 in raid5. Room for more if neccesary. This takes the load of the CPU and secures data.

case: cooler master atcs 840

power supply: xfx 850w

DVD burner: asus dvd burner


An amazing workhorse with CPU power to flatten a hostpital and 48gb of ram to house a cruiseliner. It has data security with the raid array and does not burden the CPU with this due to the dedicated raid controller. There is also a lot of upgrade potential. Uou can add more storage drives and replace the quad cores with hexa cores if neccesary.
August 30, 2010 11:36:34 PM

CPU1: Intel Xeon 5620 $379.00 newegg.com
CPU2: Intel Xeon 5620 $379.00 newegg.com
RAM: 18Gb Kingston ECC Registered DDR3 $495.00 newegg.com
GPU1: EVGA Gtx 480 $459.99 newegg.com
GPU2 :EVGA Gtx 480 $459.99 newegg.com
HDD: 4x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 (4Tb of raid10) $336.00 newegg.com
PSU: Corsair AX1200 $299.99 newegg.com
Case: Danger Den Black LDR Tower 29 $379.95 dangerden.com
Optical: Lite-ON 12x Blu-ray burner $139.99 newegg.com
CPU COOL: Danger Den MCP-CPU Block $42.95 dangerden.com
CPU2 COOL: Danger Den MCP-CPU Block $42.95 dangerden.com
Resivoir: Danger Den DD-RAD Resivoir $42.95 dangerden.com
Radiator: Swiftech MCR320 $67.00 aerocooler.com
Fans: 3x scythe kaze-jyuni 800rpm $26.25 aerocooler.com
Tubing: 20' Swiftech 1/2" ID clear tubing $32.00 aerocooler.com
mobo: EVGA SR-2 $599.99 evga.com
GPU1 Cool: DD-GTX480 All Copper Version $134.95 dangerden.com
GPU2 Cool: DD-GTX480 All Copper Version $134.95 dangerden.com
Misc: Misc hardware (thumb screws/clamps etc) $100.00
Pump: MCP655-B/Liang D5 $80.95 dangerden.com
Total: $4,633.85

Loads of CPU and GPGPU goodness for number crunching. Super quiet system due to water cooling and low speed fans. Workstation grade disk redundancy and performance. Loads of upgrade options in the future with minimal configuration changes (e.g. you can significantly upgrade the processor, add ram, add two more video cards, add additional radiators etc). Truckload of CPU overlcock headroom (needs an additional radiator to get much on a GPU OC).

If GPGPU was not required, you could go with a $25 gpu and get much bigger CPU's; but the things I use my workstation build for take advantage of CUDA (video editing for example) so I included it. You could even use this sucker for video games in your spare time if you were so inclined.

High performance, upgradable, and within budget. I'll take two!
Related resources
August 31, 2010 12:19:12 AM

CPU: Xeon W3680 6 core 3.33GHz $1070
RAM: 12GB GSkill DDR3 1333 $250
Graphics: 2x ATI Firepro V8800 2GB $2320
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-X8SAX-O $250
PSU: KINGWIN ABT-850MM 850W $70
HDD: 3x Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB $570
Case: XCLIO A380COLOR ATX Full Tower $80
DVD: Whatever happens to be on sale ~$25

Total: $4635

Money left over can go towards cooling/shipping/whatever.

This build is more focused on graphics than the CPU, but a 6 core, 3.33 GHz CPU is no slouch either.
August 31, 2010 2:44:47 AM

Wow.... some folks don't get the point of Workstation! WTH would you have GAMING graphics card on a top end WORKSTATION!

I'll put one together some time this week. lol. Example of a workstation: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267080-31-build
And you wouldn't OC a workstation that's running a massive sim/rendering,etc as a small error will cause problems.
August 31, 2010 4:37:11 AM

Here's my spin on a workstation for software development:
CPU: AMD Phenom II 1090T
MB: any major brand 890X based
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333
HDD: 2x 600GB VelociRaptors in RAID 0
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 5450 (any discrete card that doesn't use system RAM would do, but eyefinity is a bonus so you can attach three monitors instead of only two; 5670 would be preferred by those who want 3 digital connectors)
PSU: 500W 80+ certified (bronze, silver even better)
case: any plain case would do
optical: any DVD R/W

The key characteristics for the build are:
- high number of cores - for parallel compilation
- high small blocks random I/O score for the HDD subsystem (no SSDs here yet) - compilation deals with a lot of small files both being read and written at the time
- low electricity cost - consider hundreds or thousands of these in the office; that's why spending money on the higher-rated bronze or silver PSU makes sense (gold would likely be prohibitively expensive though, not to mention these are extremely rare)
- low overall cost - see above
- unexceptionable appearance - so it can fit in corporate environment
August 31, 2010 5:15:27 AM

+1 not to overclock a workstation and not to use desktop parts on a workstation...

Here is a config -

CPU x2 - Intel Xeon E5620 Westmere

Mobo - SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DAH+-O Extended ATX Server Motherboard

RAM - Definetly an ECC Registered -> 2x
Crucial 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Server Memory Model CT3KIT51272BB1339

CASE - LIAN LI PC-A70F
Or
COOLER MASTER ATCS 840

PSU - Seasonic X750 Gold

Workstation card - PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card
Or
ATI 100-505604 FirePro V7800 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFire Supported Workstation Video Card

SSD - I would definitely have a SSD just for the boot times and the app load times,...
OCZ Agility 2 120GB

HDD for apps and other high I/O operations - 2x in RAID 0
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DATA Drive - Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 HDS722020ALA330 (0F10311) 2TB

BD Burner - LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support

Total - ~$4200
August 31, 2010 4:04:18 PM

Processor: opteron 6172
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-H8SGL-O
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
Graphics Card: FirePro V8800
Hard Drive: 3x Samsung F3 1TB
Case: CHENBRO SR20969-BK-H
Power Supply: Athena Power AP-P4ATXK110FEP 1100W
DVD Burner: Samsung

Total = $3,273.89
August 31, 2010 4:10:30 PM

gkay09 said:
+1 not to overclock a workstation and not to use desktop parts on a workstation...

Here is a config -

CPU x2 - Intel Xeon E5620 Westmere

Mobo - SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DAH+-O Extended ATX Server Motherboard

RAM - Definetly an ECC Registered -> 2x
Crucial 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Server Memory Model CT3KIT51272BB1339

CASE - LIAN LI PC-A70F
Or
COOLER MASTER ATCS 840

PSU - Seasonic X750 Gold

Workstation card - PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card
Or
ATI 100-505604 FirePro V7800 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFire Supported Workstation Video Card

SSD - I would definitely have a SSD just for the boot times and the app load times,...
OCZ Agility 2 120GB

HDD for apps and other high I/O operations - 2x in RAID 0
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DATA Drive - Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 HDS722020ALA330 (0F10311) 2TB

BD Burner - LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support

Total - ~$4200

Amen. I vote for you on this. Well done. At least some one gets workstations....

For a Data drive, imo, I'd go with 3x Samsung F3s and do RAID5.
August 31, 2010 4:11:54 PM

christiangordon said:
Processor: opteron 6172
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-H8SGL-O
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
Graphics Card: FirePro V8800
Hard Drive: 3x Samsung F3 1TB
Case: CHENBRO SR20969-BK-H
Power Supply: Athena Power AP-P4ATXK110FEP 1100W
DVD Burner: Samsung

Total = $3,273.89

Pretty good set up. But the PSU is an issue. Athena isn't what I'd call a top end PSU manufacture. Swap that with an XFX, SeaSonic,Corsair,Antec, or PC Power and will be a pretty good AMD set up.
August 31, 2010 7:04:05 PM

just out of curiousity: how do workstation/server components differ from desktop components? Are they just more stable/reliable/durable?

Same about overclocking? Is it just that a corrupt calculation in a seemingly stable overclock can crash the whole render as opposed to creating a wrong pixel in a single frame in a game?
August 31, 2010 8:03:34 PM

Quote:
just out of curiousity: how do workstation/server components differ from desktop components? Are they just more stable/reliable/durable?

Yes, the workstations boards and esp. CPUs usually use higher binned parts.

Quote:

Same about overclocking? Is it just that a corrupt calculation in a seemingly stable overclock can crash the whole render as opposed to creating a wrong pixel in a single frame in a game?

The chances of the render completely crashing are slim on an OCed workstation but the problems like messed up textures in a few frames, in correct accuracy in CFD,etc for long simulation runs will be affected by OCing. I know quite a few people who run renderings/calcs 24/7 for a few weeks where up time is extremely important.

I run CFD quite a bit an in one of the sims on OCed system and outcome was an impossible answer even tough the sim never crashed.
August 31, 2010 8:37:08 PM

Workstation build...

CPU: 2x Intel Xeon X5650 (6-core) @ 2.66GHz
6 Cores on the cheap and you get two, what more do you want?

Mobo: Asus Z8NA-D6
Never like those SSI EEB form factors, this is standard ATX so picking a case won't be a hassle.

RAM: 2x G.Skill 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1333

GPU: ATi FirePro V8800
DX11, supports eyefinity for multiple independent monitor setups, and has 4 Display ports

HD: 3x WD Black 1TB
3x HDD in RAID 5

Case: Zalman Professional case
Has hotswap HDD bays!

PSU: Corsair 850w

ODD: LG Blu-RAY writer

Fans: 2x Intel CPU fans for 1366
lol, cooling not included in those Xeons.

subtotal: $4,493.30
tax: none
s&h: $52.96
Grand total: $4,546.26
August 31, 2010 9:09:09 PM

Somebody_007 said:
just out of curiousity: how do workstation/server components differ from desktop components? Are they just more stable/reliable/durable?



As Shadow said "Yes, the workstations boards and esp. CPUs usually use higher binned parts."

But it goes beyond that as many components are engineered for the "heavier" workstation use such as better quality componets - for instance more durable capacitors, other components may be sized up to accommodate heavier use - such as more/better fans and heatsinks, special components such as registered DIMMs to help ensure data security, more of some components - a good example is memory which also may require more memory slots on mobo, graphics cards specially engineered and optimized for workstation work rather than games, and oftern more hard drive space to accommodate workloads.
August 31, 2010 9:33:14 PM

jpishgar said:
We're updating the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and are opening the field to user recommendations! Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 recommendations in each category to put to a public vote. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware's BestConfigs, and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with special notice in the feature article.

Post your entries to this thread for the category of High-End Workstation, stay within $4700 and be sure to list the following components-

Processor:
Motherboard:
RAM:
Graphics Card:
Hard Drive:
Case:
Power Supply:
DVD Burner:

Good luck, and may the best builds win!


I have a few:

1. Build #1: Budget general-purpose workstation
- Processor: 2x Opteron 4180
- Motherboard: MSI MS-91F7
- RAM: 4x Kingston KVR1333D3D4R9S/4G (4x4 GB reg ECC DDR3-1333)
- Graphics card: would largely depend on what you're doing with the machine. Since this is Tom's, I'd say a Radeon 5770 would be appropriate.
- Hard drive: your favorite 128 GB SSD as the OS drive, 4x2 TB WD Green in RAID10 as the data drives
- Case: almost anything ATX or bigger will work, but let's say the Antec Nine Hundred since I am familiar with it.
- Power supply: any decent 600-700 W unit
- DVD burner: pick any SATA DVD+/-R/RW unit you want to.

2. Build #2: More expensive general-purpose workstation
- Processors: 2x Xeon E5620
- Motherboard: Supermicro X8DAH+
- RAM: 6x Kingston KVR1333D3D4R9S/4G (6x4 GB reg ECC DDR3-1333, machine will run this at DDR3-1066)
- Graphics card: Radeon HD 5850 or 5870, since I am sure the editors will want to play games
- Hard drive: 128 GB SSD of your choice as the OS drive, 6x2 TB WD Green in RAID10 as the data drives
- Case: your favorite EATX case, such as the CM Stacker 8x0.
- PSU: A good 700-800 watt unit
- DVD burner: pick 'em, just as with the #1 machine.

3. Build #3: Highly multithreaded video encoding/compiling workstation
- Processors: 2x Opteron 6168
- Motherboard: TYAN S8230WGM4NR
- RAM: 8x Kingston KVR1333D3E9S/2GI (8x2 GB unbuffered ECC DDR3-1333)
- Graphics card: Radeon HD 5770 or 5830
- HDD: your choice of a 128 GB SSD as the OS drive, 8x2 TB WD Green in RAID10 or RAID50 (4x2) as the data drives
- Case: your favorite EATX-capable case, same as above
- PSU: a good 700-800 W unit, same as above
- DVD burner: pick 'em.

4. Build #4: The "bigger hammer" highly-multithreaded video encoding/compiling workstation
- Processors: 4x Opteron 6168
- Motherboard: Supermicro H8QG6-F
- RAM: 16x KVR1333D3E9S/2GI (16x2 GB unbuffered ECC DDR3-1333)
- Graphics card: Radeon HD 5770 or 5830
- HDD: your choice of a 128 GB SSD as the OS drive, 8x2 TB WD Green in RAID10 or RAID50 (4x2) as the data drives
- Case: Chenming ATX-801F, which is one of the only cases I've found that will fit this motherboard
- PSU: Seventeam ST-1200F
- DVD burner: pick 'em.

If I had the money, I'd probably be putting together something like the fourth build, but with Opteron 6128s instead of 6128s because you can buy a 4P 6128 system for what a 2P 6168 unit costs, assuming you keep the same total RAM capacity. Also, the 4P Supermicro H8QG6-F is a better board than the DP TYAN S8230. I'd reuse my GTS250 in my current desktop since my workstation uses are mostly video and compiling and don't need a professional OpenGL GPU, so the $80 GTS250 will do plenty well there. I'd also pick up a set of Koolance CPU-360s with the G34 bolts, a Laing D5, and either a single 9x120 mm radiator or two 4x120 mm radiators for cooling. G34 air-cooled heatsinks are all pretty noisy and the Chenming's 92 mm fans get fairly loud with just a dual-CPU setup running full-blast, let alone a quad-CPU setup.
August 31, 2010 9:52:04 PM

lp231 said:
Workstation build...

CPU: 2x Intel Xeon X5650 (6-core) @ 2.66GHz
6 Cores on the cheap and you get two, what more do you want?


A grand per CPU certainly isn't cheap, particularly when AMD will sell you a 12-core unit for about $700 (Opteron 6168) and 6-core workstation CPUs for under $200 (Opteron 4180, $188.) The Xeon X5650s are much better than the 6168s at single-threaded applications, but the 6168s ought to do quite a bit better in multithreaded usages, particularly under real workstation OSes. The 4180s won't outrun the X5650s but they're not drastically slower, but they're drastically less expensive. The only problem with the C32 Opteron 4100s is finding decent dual-CPU workstation boards. The only good one is MSI's MS-91F7 and they're basically just selling them by the case to whitebox builders and not as individual retail models.

Quote:
Mobo: Asus Z8NA-D6
Never like those SSI EEB form factors, this is standard ATX so picking a case won't be a hassle.


SSI EEB = EATX in board size, and many full-tower ATX cases can fit SSI EEB/EATX boards. I personally don't like ATX dual-CPU boards since you pay a price with a lot fewer RAM slots and expansion slots. The Z8NA-D6 only has as many RAM slots as your average X58 Core i7 board, for example. Plus, it's an iron-clad b**ch to wedge an ATX DP board into a smaller ATX case as the two heatsinks and such make for a very tight fit. Been there, done that, will not do it again. I much prefer an EATX/SSI EEB dual board and prefer them in giant cases.



I'd not use non-ECC memory in any workstation if it were up to me. The non-ECC desktop stuff will work in today's workstations, but I wouldn't recommend it. Unbuffered ECC memory isn't really any slower (not like registered ECC or FB-DIMMs) and isn't that much more expensive than the non-ECC stuff.

Quote:
GPU: ATi FirePro V8800
DX11, supports eyefinity for multiple independent monitor setups, and has 4 Display ports

HD: 3x WD Black 1TB
3x HDD in RAID 5

Case: Zalman Professional case
Has hotswap HDD bays!

PSU: Corsair 850w

ODD: LG Blu-RAY writer


Looks good so far, although the GPU is really only appropriate for people doing a lot of professional OpenGL applications.

Quote:
Fans: 2x Intel CPU fans for 1366
lol, cooling not included in those Xeons.


You forgot the earplugs if you use those little side-blower fans as they are LOUD. I'd choose something like Supermicro's SNK-P0040A, which is a 92 mm tower-type heatsink that works with LGA1366 workstation/server boards.


August 31, 2010 11:17:04 PM

Quote:

1. Build #1: Budget general-purpose workstation
- Processor: 2x Opteron 4180
- Motherboard: MSI MS-91F7
- RAM: 4x Kingston KVR1333D3D4R9S/4G (4x4 GB reg ECC DDR3-1333)
- Graphics card: would largely depend on what you're doing with the machine. Since this is Tom's, I'd say a Radeon 5770 would be appropriate.
- Hard drive: your favorite 128 GB SSD as the OS drive, 4x2 TB WD Green in RAID10 as the data drives
- Case: almost anything ATX or bigger will work, but let's say the Antec Nine Hundred since I am familiar with it.
- Power supply: any decent 600-700 W unit
- DVD burner: pick any SATA DVD+/-R/RW unit you want to.

All looks good for the price except the WD Greens. Imo, the Greens are too slow, even for data archiving.

Quote:

You forgot the earplugs if you use those little side-blower fans as they are LOUD. I'd choose something like Supermicro's SNK-P0040A, which is a 92 mm tower-type heatsink that works with LGA1366 workstation/server boards.

lol. Hell yeah. Those things ARE loud.

Quote:
I'd also pick up a set of Koolance CPU-360s with the G34 bolts, a Laing D5, and either a single 9x120 mm radiator or two 4x120 mm radiators for cooling. G34 air-cooled heatsinks are all pretty noisy and the Chenming's 92 mm fans get fairly loud with just a dual-CPU setup running full-blast, let alone a quad-CPU setup.

Depending on reliability needed, I wouldn't run a WCing set up on a workstation imo. Sure, I'v WCed workstations if the customer wants it, but personally no WCing for workstation, esp. an expensive 2P/4P set up.

Btw, why the Koolance block? The HK 3.0 is quite a bit cheaper and since no OCing, it matters little as to which block you choose for the CPU.

Also, why such a powerful gaming card even, for 3D work you want a workstation card for a build like this. For everything else, (ie Photoshop,etc). Note: CS5 is an exception as a CUDA enabled card like the GTX260 will help with certain things like Zoom,etc and if using AE, Mercury will use the GPU.


Btw, any one here care to put together a Tesla based workstation? :lol: 
August 31, 2010 11:28:26 PM

Quote:


But it goes beyond that as many components are engineered for the "heavier" workstation use such as better quality componets - for instance more durable capacitors, other components may be sized up to accommodate heavier use - such as more/better fans and heatsinks, special components such as registered DIMMs to help ensure data security, more of some components - a good example is memory which also may require more memory slots on mobo, graphics cards specially engineered and optimized for workstation work rather than games, and oftern more hard drive space to accommodate workloads.

Yup. But as far as better heatsinks, MOSFETS,etc goes, I really believe the high end consumer boards like the P6T Deluxe v2, WS,etc are more or less the same quality as the workstation boards and may be more so due to the added stress that can be caused by OCing. The reason workstation boards shine for CAD,etc is due to the availability of ECC, more DIMM sockets, and 2P support.
August 31, 2010 11:33:58 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Wow.... some folks don't get the point of Workstation! WTH would you have GAMING graphics card on a top end WORKSTATION!

Sorry, I thought the point if my high end workstation was to make me money; which it does more of if I overclock to a higher than factory (yet still completely stable) point. If I'd wanted to include a gaming graphics card I'd have picked ATI/AMD. Not only does cuda smoke CPU calculations on applications where it can be used, but the GTX 480's are really awesome at openGL rendering as well.

Think before you troll.
August 31, 2010 11:41:09 PM

^ Um no.... you DO NOT make more money form OCing a workstation. Sure it works faster, but you WILL eventually run in to a problem down the road, esp. if you run a massive simulation/rendering that can take weeks to complete where the smallest of problems will pop up. And yes, there ARE people who run massive simulations like these. Down time cost more than the benefit received form OCing in most cases. You can have a 7 day Prime95 Small FFT that will run fine, but a sim can crash in a few minutes.

Quote:
Not only does cuda smoke CPU calculations on applications where it can be used, but the GTX 480's are really awesome at openGL rendering as well

You DO realize that very few apps benefit from CUDA, even then, the Fermi based workstation cards will have highly optimized drivers for this kind of work. The reason you want to run a workstation card is due to the optimized drivers.

Btw, sorry if I seemed like a troll, that was never my intention.
September 1, 2010 12:35:59 AM

MU_Engineer said:
A grand per CPU certainly isn't cheap, particularly when AMD will sell you a 12-core unit for about $700 (Opteron 6168) and 6-core workstation CPUs for under $200 (Opteron 4180, $188.) The Xeon X5650s are much better than the 6168s at single-threaded applications, but the 6168s ought to do quite a bit better in multithreaded usages, particularly under real workstation OSes. The 4180s won't outrun the X5650s but they're not drastically slower, but they're drastically less expensive. The only problem with the C32 Opteron 4100s is finding decent dual-CPU workstation boards. The only good one is MSI's MS-91F7 and they're basically just selling them by the case to whitebox builders and not as individual retail models.

Quote:
Mobo: Asus Z8NA-D6
Never like those SSI EEB form factors, this is standard ATX so picking a case won't be a hassle.


SSI EEB = EATX in board size, and many full-tower ATX cases can fit SSI EEB/EATX boards. I personally don't like ATX dual-CPU boards since you pay a price with a lot fewer RAM slots and expansion slots. The Z8NA-D6 only has as many RAM slots as your average X58 Core i7 board, for example. Plus, it's an iron-clad b**ch to wedge an ATX DP board into a smaller ATX case as the two heatsinks and such make for a very tight fit. Been there, done that, will not do it again. I much prefer an EATX/SSI EEB dual board and prefer them in giant cases.



I'd not use non-ECC memory in any workstation if it were up to me. The non-ECC desktop stuff will work in today's workstations, but I wouldn't recommend it. Unbuffered ECC memory isn't really any slower (not like registered ECC or FB-DIMMs) and isn't that much more expensive than the non-ECC stuff.

Quote:
GPU: ATi FirePro V8800
DX11, supports eyefinity for multiple independent monitor setups, and has 4 Display ports

HD: 3x WD Black 1TB
3x HDD in RAID 5

Case: Zalman Professional case
Has hotswap HDD bays!

PSU: Corsair 850w

ODD: LG Blu-RAY writer


Looks good so far, although the GPU is really only appropriate for people doing a lot of professional OpenGL applications.

Quote:
Fans: 2x Intel CPU fans for 1366
lol, cooling not included in those Xeons.


You forgot the earplugs if you use those little side-blower fans as they are LOUD. I'd choose something like Supermicro's SNK-P0040A, which is a 92 mm tower-type heatsink that works with LGA1366 workstation/server boards.



-There was a thread somewhere on this site which asked is SSI EEB the same as EATX?
The size of it is exactly the same, but SSI EEB has their holes place in different spots, so it won't line up to a EATX case.

There are EATX cases which also supports SSI EEB motherboards and you also need to think about the PSU.

I've build a SSI EEB system once with a dual Xeon LGA 771, the case supports SSI EEB and luckly it came with a dual redundant PSU.
SSI EEB requires 2x 8-pins along with the main 24-pin for the motherboard, these are not the same as a 8-pin for your graphic card.


For the fans, yes it's extremely loud, I would like to pick something with less noise, but since this is a high-end workstation it's suppose to make a constant "hum", otherwise you can say it's just a regular desktop a "very big desktop". :hello: 
September 1, 2010 2:10:53 AM

Quote:

SSI EEB requires 2x 8-pins along with the main 24-pin for the motherboard,

Yes, we know. Most quality PSUs now days have 4+4 CPU power. Some have 2x4+4 or 2x8 pin CPU power. For example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That XFX has a 1x4+4 and 1x8 pin EPS connector. In any case, you can get Molex ->8 pin EPS connectors.
September 1, 2010 6:49:42 PM

Shadow703793 said:

All looks good for the price except the WD Greens. Imo, the Greens are too slow, even for data archiving.


The problem today is that there aren't many good 7200 rpm HDDs at large capacity points at reasonable prices. The only 7200 rpm 2 TB HDDs out there are either enterprise drives like WD's RE4 and Seagate's Constellation ES at just shy of $300, high-end consumer drives like the Barracuda XT and Caviar Black for $180-190, and then the rare random reasonably-priced unit like Hitachi's $130 Deskstar 7K2000. However, the Deskstar is noted to be an extremely hot-running drive like its forebears. Everything else is low-RPM green drives that sell for just a bit over $100. The mainline 7200 rpm HDD lines from the major manufacturers generally stop at about 1 TB. I could see substituting something like 1 TB 7200.12s for the 2 TB low-RPM drives if you don't need much space, but I suppose my bias towards working with video has me seeking out storage solutions with a lot of space. The big low-rpm drives have the lowest cost per GB of any drives out there and you can more than make up for the low per-drive performance by putting several of them together in an array. 6 of the low-RPM drives in RAID10 will outperform 4 of the high-end 7200 rpm drives in RAID10 in all but access time for the same money, plus have more storage space and be easier to cool in the densely-packed HDD cages you'll use if you have that many drives. That's why I picked the green drives. They're not great, but they're the best stuff out there for the dollar if you need a lot of mass storage and are willing to set up an array. The stuff that is very dependent on short access times goes on the SDD, which will be much faster than any HDD for that purpose.

Quote:

Depending on reliability needed, I wouldn't run a WCing set up on a workstation imo. Sure, I'v WCed workstations if the customer wants it, but personally no WCing for workstation, esp. an expensive 2P/4P set up.


It is a tradeoff between noise production and reliability. If you know what you are doing and do it carefully, water cooling can be fine. Many big commercial vendors liquid-cool servers. IBM does that for some of their POWER line and Fujitsu will water-cool all of their new 8-core SparcVIII+ units. They are doing it to cram a 4P or 8P server into a 1U or 2U rack instead of for noise purposes, but the fact remains that it is an accepted option.

I know that I would need to water cool a 4P machine to keep noise and temperatures within acceptable limits. I already have that big Chenming 4P case for my file server and it currently has a dual 3.2 GHz Gallatin Xeon motherboard in it. It can be cooled reasonably quietly with one of the Xeons running at full load and the other idling, but it starts to get a bit noisy when both CPUs are running at full tilt. Those Xeons are rated at a 92 watt TDP and are roughly what you'd expect for heat production from modern standard-TDP workstation CPUs. I could add in a large side fan and cool two CPUs reasonably quietly based upon experiments with a portable room fan, but it wouldn't be enough to cool four CPUs. I would absolutely have to add in side and top fans, and high-RPM ones at that.

Quote:
Btw, why the Koolance block? The HK 3.0 is quite a bit cheaper and since no OCing, it matters little as to which block you choose for the CPU.


The Koolance blocks are the only ones that will fit on AMD G34 sockets without modification. The G34 socket's bolt holes are approximately 4.2" apart on center, whereas most other sockets are about 3.5" apart on center. I'd need to fashion an adapter to extend the block to fit the socket if I used any other water block. Some have done so as I know a guy who runs an inexpensive acrylic EK block on a Supermicro H8SGL after he made an adapter out of some sheet steel. I could probably do that too but considering the price difference between the Koolance blocks and other blocks with a suitably large base is something like $20 per block, I'd just rather get the right block from the get-go and not deal with the hassle.

Quote:
Also, why such a powerful gaming card even, for 3D work you want a workstation card for a build like this. For everything else, (ie Photoshop,etc). Note: CS5 is an exception as a CUDA enabled card like the GTX260 will help with certain things like Zoom,etc and if using AE, Mercury will use the GPU.


This is Tom's and it is a heavily gaming-oriented site, so a decent GPU would be appropriate for somebody who wants to do some gaming in their off-time. Something like the Radeon HD 5750/5770 would be relatively appropriate for a workstation like this since it is not all that expensive and would be a good match for the relatively modestly-clocked CPUs in the workstation builds. I'd not go stuffing an HD 5970 or a GTX 480 in there, but you don't exactly need to go with bottom-end GPUs either. I'd transplant my GTS250 from my current desktop into the workstation I'll build within the next year, and it's roughly equivalent to the HD 5750 and cost me all of $80. I do occasionally like to play games and having a decent GPU sure helps with that when I get the urge to do so.

Quote:
Btw, any one here care to put together a Tesla based workstation? :lol: 


Sure. Basically it entails getting a motherboard with a bunch of PCIe x16 slots and support for ECC memory and then an enormous PSU to power the GPUs.

Processors: 2x Opteron 2382
Motherboard: Supermicro H8DA6+ (4x PCIe x16 slots @x16 electrical, dual SR5690 northbridges)
RAM: 4x 4GB Kingston DDR2-800 ECC registered memory
GPUs: 4x GTX480
HDDs: 128 GB SSD for the OS, 1 TB Seagate 7200.12 for data
Case: CM Stacker
PSU: Silverstone ST1500
Optical drive: any SATA DVD+/-R/RW

This isn't the newest hardware out there, but the H8DA6+ is the best workstation board I found for GPGPU purposes. It has four PCIe x16 slots running at x16 electrical, and they're spaced every other slot so you can fit four dual-slot GPUs in the board. A newer choice is the dual LGA1366 Supermicro X8DTH+ with its seven PCIe x16 slots, but they are all fixed at x8 electrical. The current GPUs don't need a full PCIe 2.0 x16 electrical yet, but in a few generations they will and the older Socket F baord will be ready for that while the newer LGA1366 board won't. You probably don't need two quad-core CPUs' worth of processor power to drive the GPUs for GPGPU work, but the dual northbridge boards need two CPUs to provide enough HyperTransport links to fire up both northbridges. The Opteron 2382s are simply some of the least expensive CPUs that will work in this board.
September 1, 2010 7:19:59 PM

2177912,21,64792 said:
-There was a thread somewhere on this site which asked is SSI EEB the same as EATX?
The size of it is exactly the same, but SSI EEB has their holes place in different spots, so it won't line up to a EATX case.

There are EATX cases which also supports SSI EEB motherboards and you also need to think about the PSU.

Correct. The standoffs are in a slightly different spot, but many cases that fit EATX are also tapped for SSI EEB standoffs as well. If not, you can go to the hardware store and get yourself a little tap kit and tap the standoff holes yourself. I've done that to convert a case that fit uATX/ATX/SSI CEB/EATX boards but not SSI EEB boards to fit an SSI EEB board. I had to tap two standoff holes as the SSI CEB holes weren't enough to get the very end of the SSI EEB board.

Quote:
I've build a SSI EEB system once with a dual Xeon LGA 771, the case supports SSI EEB and luckly it came with a dual redundant PSU.
SSI EEB requires 2x 8-pins along with the main 24-pin for the motherboard, these are not the same as a 8-pin for your graphic card.


Not all SSI EEB boards have two EPS12V connectors. My file server's Intel SE7501CW2 is an SSI EEB board but only has one EPS12V connector. That probably has to do with the fact it's a seven-year-old board and was built to an older SSI EEB spec that was around before dual EPS12V connections were commonly used. 8-pin PCIe connectors aren't the same as EPS12V connectors, but you can get a PCIe-to-EPS12V adapter and a lot of big PSUs simply already have two EPS12V connectors.

Quote:
For the fans, yes it's extremely loud, I would like to pick something with less noise, but since this is a high-end workstation it's suppose to make a constant "hum", otherwise you can say it's just a regular desktop a "very big desktop". :hello: 


I prefer my workstations to be quieter since I have to sit next to them and work. I don't want to sit next to something that sounds like a 1U rack server. If you really care about appearances, have your case look like it means business rather than making yourself deaf. Get yourself a large, nondescript pedestal server case. This means a case that's a matte-finished black or beige metal box with absolutely no side windows, blinkenlights, or colored or shiny anything. One with a big lock on the front door of the case adds to the effect, as does one with no front door but with a lot of exposed hot-swap HDD trays. That looks so much different than a consumer desktop or gamer machine that it is unambiguous what it is and what it is for. My file server case that will become my workstation case in a little while fits the bill perfectly:



Big old beige case that's 2-3 times the size of a full-tower EATX case, no shiny or colorful anything, no side window, has wheels on the bottom, and weighs 70 pounds empty. Nobody will be confusing that for a gamer case. Maybe a refrigerator, but not a gamer case :p 
[/quote]
September 1, 2010 8:58:51 PM

Quote:
6 of the low-RPM drives in RAID10 will outperform 4 of the high-end 7200 rpm drives in RAID10 in all but access time for the same money, plus have more storage space and be easier to cool in the densely-packed HDD cages you'll use if you have that many drives. That's why I picked the green drives.

Ok, that makes more sense.

Quote:
Sure. Basically it entails getting a motherboard with a bunch of PCIe x16 slots and support for ECC memory and then an enormous PSU to power the GPUs.

Processors: 2x Opteron 2382
Motherboard: Supermicro H8DA6+ (4x PCIe x16 slots @x16 electrical, dual SR5690 northbridges)
RAM: 4x 4GB Kingston DDR2-800 ECC registered memory
GPUs: 4x GTX480
HDDs: 128 GB SSD for the OS, 1 TB Seagate 7200.12 for data
Case: CM Stacker
PSU: Silverstone ST1500
Optical drive: any SATA DVD+/-R/RW

This isn't the newest hardware out there, but the H8DA6+ is the best workstation board I found for GPGPU purposes. It has four PCIe x16 slots running at x16 electrical, and they're spaced every other slot so you can fit four dual-slot GPUs in the board. A newer choice is the dual LGA1366 Supermicro X8DTH+ with its seven PCIe x16 slots, but they are all fixed at x8 electrical. The current GPUs don't need a full PCIe 2.0 x16 electrical yet, but in a few generations they will and the older Socket F baord will be ready for that while the newer LGA1366 board won't. You probably don't need two quad-core CPUs' worth of processor power to drive the GPUs for GPGPU work, but the dual northbridge boards need two CPUs to provide enough HyperTransport links to fire up both northbridges. The Opteron 2382s are simply some of the least expensive CPUs that will work in this board.

Nicely done. Btw, exactly what kind of difference would the actual Tesla cards vs GTX480 make for GPGPU?
September 1, 2010 10:37:32 PM

You really just can't say "workstation build" and then run away. All these threads are suffering from a lack of rules and a lack of usage specification.

For instance, a CAD build will be far different from a MAYA build. It's as if you thought everyone in an office does exactly the same thing.
September 2, 2010 12:41:16 AM

^I agree with you 100% there.
September 2, 2010 5:21:02 AM

agreed too I mean some people have builds with very powerul GPUs and others with very powerful CPUs. Some have more ram others have faster storage. And well they're all better in their own respect for certain usages. How will they tell a winner?
September 2, 2010 3:59:08 PM

Shadow703793 said:

Nicely done. Btw, exactly what kind of difference would the actual Tesla cards vs GTX480 make for GPGPU?


When Fermi was in development, Nvidia deliberately crippled the FP64 compute function on the GTX cards by about 75% but left it 100% capable on the Tesla cards to make sure people actually bought the Tesla cards and didn't just opt for a cheaper GTX model. Good old Nv.
September 2, 2010 4:28:13 PM

Griffolion said:
When Fermi was in development, Nvidia deliberately crippled the FP64 compute function on the GTX cards by about 75% but left it 100% capable on the Tesla cards to make sure people actually bought the Tesla cards and didn't just opt for a cheaper GTX model. Good old Nv.


Is it a hardware limitation that in some way at leasts saves nvidia money on parts? Or is it limited in the software and just a very frustrating scheme from nvidia? If so can't you hack it?
September 2, 2010 7:31:56 PM

^ No, nVidia has stated that it is a hardware limitation. Had something to do with GPU yield per wafer and to make it more economical to re badge them as GTX480s.
September 3, 2010 9:12:17 AM

hey can anyone suggest a workstation around $2000 .
my old system (a very basic c2d rig) is dying out on me :(  and i need a build as i have a lot work pending .and now that it cant also handle the software beyond a basic point also and takes long too render.
i am building a new rig and need help whether to go for a high end gaming system i7 with a quadro
or
have a workstation setup with 2*xeon's,ecc ram,quadro etc . But Not sure i would get a good enough workstation in this budget ??

so plz reply and do suggest a system along with a refrence or link to those pc components

note - preferred aleast quadro fx1800 and maximin a fx3800(if my budget gets increased )
miminum ram 4gb-6gb
and should i go for a razer mouse and keyboard or logitech or steel series as i read somewhere that razer stuff is pretty high quality but dont last that long ??
i play games also so should i get another card and put in the same rig and change the display port when i want to game or play it on my old rig ???

thank you
September 3, 2010 11:12:39 AM

This is what I recomended :

Processor: AMD Opteron 6172 Magny-Cours 2.1GHz Socket G34 115W 12-Core Server Processor OS6172WKTCEGOWOF (1000$)

Motherboard: ASUS KGPE-D16 Dual Socket G34 AMD SR5690 SSI EEB 3.61 Dual 8/12 Core AMD Opteron 6000 series Server Motherboard (500$) (Future upgrability possible with one more 12 core processor)

RAM: Patriot Signature 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Registered Server Memory Model PS312G13ER3K-E (500$)

Graphics Card: PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card (800$)

Hard Drive:
Applications - Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2R5 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - (200$)

Storage - 3ware 9650SE-4LPML KIT PCI Express Lanes: 4 SATA II Controller Card + Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (4 Drives, Raid 5 Configuration) - 600$

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - (200$ , To give some style with performance :p )

Power Supply: Rosewill BRONZE series RBR1000-M 1000W Continuous@40°C, 80Plus Bronze Certified,Modular Cable Design,ATX12V v2.3/ EPS12V,SLI Ready,CrossFire Ready,Active PFC (200$)

DVD Burner: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner - SATA WH10LS30 LightScribe Support (100$)

Price comes to around 4100$
September 3, 2010 12:59:50 PM

^ That woks. well done. However, I would personally swap out the Rosewill to a better known brand such as Corsair, XFX, Antec,etc. Either way, you don't need a 1kW PSU. 650-750W PSU will do fine.
September 3, 2010 1:53:42 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ That woks. well done. However, I would personally swap out the Rosewill to a better known brand such as Corsair, XFX, Antec,etc. Either way, you don't need a 1kW PSU. 650-750W PSU will do fine.


I agree Shadow those are few of the best brands for PSU, though I have used this Rosewill PSU in few of the High end builds for my customers and so far no complaints. Hence the recommendation :p . Also a 1000w psu would make it future proof in case there is ever a need for more hard drives or multiple graphic cards.

Cheers
September 3, 2010 3:17:16 PM

Um, what exactly is this workstation meant to do?

The issue here is that depending on software, you may be better off simply using a single opteron and Tesla's + quadros.

However, if the software isn't well CUDA optimized, then dual Xeon processors would be better performance.

September 3, 2010 3:43:09 PM

^ That's the thing. The OP hasn't responded with any more specs....
September 3, 2010 9:05:27 PM

Most of those higher end Rosewills are ATNG or Topower. newegg should get them out to the reviewers more than they have. Most of them should at least pass ATX specs.
September 3, 2010 11:05:52 PM

^ Yes, agreed on the reviews. However, for server PSUs imo, reliability in the real world should also be a factor.
September 4, 2010 8:53:35 PM

When you are talking about "High-End Workstations" ...there is a large range of them. Depending on what you do with a workstation should be a judge of weather its high end...!

In my opinion A workstation for 4700 that does serious CAD for example would be really low end...just a good graphics configuration for a serious CAD system would cost more then 4700.

So maybe there should be more specific categories for workstations...like 3D/CAD, Editing, Conversions, Virtualization...etc...and within those categories the price ranges will vary very widely.
September 13, 2010 7:08:02 AM

Something I would use for my workstation given that budget:

CPU
2 x Intel Xeon E5620 Westmere 2.4 GHz 1 @ $389.99, 1 in combo with:

MOBO
ASUS Z8PE-D12 (ASMB4-IKVM) Dual LGA 1366 SSI EEB @ $719.98 for combo with CPU

ASUS PIKE 1078 8-port SAS HW RAID card @ $399.99

RAM
2 x Crucial 12GB (3 x 4GB) DDR3 1333 ECC Registered CT3KIT51272BB1339 @ $725.98 for both kits

Graphics
PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 Video Card @ $779.99

Storage
2 x Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10K RPM (use RAID 1) @ $559.98 for both

3 x Western Digital RE4 WD1503FYYS 1.5TB 7.2K RPM (RAID 5) @ $719.97

Case
Silverstone RAVEN RV01-BW Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower (supports SSI EEB) @ $219.99

PSU
Corsair HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX80 Plus SILVER Certified @ $169.99

DVD Burner
SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223C - OEM @ $16.99

Grand Total: $4,702.85 not including MIR
September 29, 2010 4:56:33 PM

This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Jpishgar
October 12, 2010 11:45:40 AM


Hi,

We need exactly that machine for our CAD work in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix Survey and Engineering), we make maps and design/build. Can you get this built for us, or point us in the right direction to get it done?

Call us at 340.773.5577, speak to Chris Johnson, we think you know what you are talking about, and we need a machine badly.

Regards,
Marshall Walker
St. Croix Survey and Engineering
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