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Physics workstation ~$2000-$3000

Last response: in Systems
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October 24, 2010 3:38:26 PM

I'm trying to spec a workstation for physics use. I still have some major questions in my mind, including whether it is possible to use 2 different video cards. I'm looking into going down a path that seems more lucrative, so I may be getting a DICOM-14 compliant monitor and video card so that I can view and calculate measurements using hardware that radiologists use for diagnosing people. That would be a grayscale monitor, up to 5 megapixels, 12 bit grayscale. Here is one company that makes such monitors:
Eizo Radiforce, but others like NEC also make radiology monitors.

I also want dual normal monitors for two reasons:
1) manuals open on one monitor while I code in another monitor
2) will virtualize and run two operating systems at a time sometimes because some of the software will compile and run on Linux, other software needs to be on Windows and I'll need both going at the same time.

On that note, I'll probably use Red Hat workstation linux with virtualization, and Windows 7.

I'll need a good dose of processing power as this will be doing a lot of computations.

Approximate Purchase Date
: probably January, depends on business though


Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) Before / After Rebates: ~$2000-~3000, exclusive of monitors, keyboard, mouse, software


System Usage from Most to Least Important: proprietary computation software that is massively parallel (can compile with MPI to use clusters or multiple processors in one machine), C/C++/Java development with a variety of compilers (NetBeans is my preferred IDE), Fortran, then lower on the scale would be Matlab, MS Office, LaTeX, R (stats software), AutoCAD, etc.


Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitors, speakers, OSs, software


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Good question.


Country of Origin:
USA


Parts Preferences:
Probably NVIDIA Quadro video card for the "normal" monitors. I would like to have one drive for OSs and programs (should be pretty big, 250gig at least), and then maybe a RAID 1 array for all the data.


Overclocking: No


SLI or Crossfire: I don't know what that means.


Monitor Resolution: Probably 2 monitors at 1600 x 1200 or so driven by 1 video card, and then potentially a third monitor running 1600 x 1200 as well in grayscale on its own video card.


Additional Comments: I need a fair amount of cores. On that note, I'm not sure whether AMD or Intel is the better option for such a workstation, nor what motherboards I should be looking at. As this is business use, I need a strong price/performance ratio, with good stability and longevity. Losing work because of an unstable system is absolutely out of the question.

Thanks.
October 27, 2010 10:45:08 PM

Am I asking too much from one computer?
October 27, 2010 10:54:53 PM

No, you arent asking too much for one computer. Its completely doable. Im not great with workstation builds, but you might want to look into the AMD Six-Core processors for the multitasking. The intel i7 series might also be good for what your looking at (ex: i7 950). SLI/Crossfire is having two video cards in one computer. For your computer, it shouldnt be needed. Like I said, I'm not good with workstation builds so I'm not sure what video card would suit your needs.
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