Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Help selecting parts for a $10,000 visualization wall workstation

Last response: in Systems
Share
January 18, 2011 2:37:19 PM

Hi,

I work for a major research university in the US, where we have a 3 projector visualization wall used for virtual reality research. We are putting together a new build to run the setup and I would like some input on whether the parts we have chosen will work well together. Most of our applications are custom written opengl apps and are single threaded. I would love to wait for the high end sandy bridges to come out in Q4, but we need to buy as soon as possible. I don't really have a budget, but I am trying to be at least slightly reasonable. We have a tendency to buy top of the line and wait several years before replacing.

Here is what we have so far:

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge (for our single threaded apps this looks like it has better performance than the i7-980x)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 x G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec High Current Pro HCP-1200 1200W (probably overkill but we want the option of potentially extending to tri or quad sli)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Heatsink (Will this run into the ripjaws ram?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF X Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG WH10LS30 10X Blu-ray Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech MX 5500 Revolution Black Bluetooth Cordless Desktop Standard keyboard & Mouse Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For graphics we are deciding between the Nvidia Quadro Plex 7000
http://www.nvidia.com/object/product-quadroplex-7000-us...
or 2x Nvidia Quadro 6000 in SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Will these work together? Any better options?

Thanks,
-Bret

January 18, 2011 3:10:51 PM

First, if your program is only single threaded, having a CPU with hyperthreading isn't going to help by definition. Save yourself some money and get the i5-2500K. Of course, that's unless you're running more than four of these programs at the same time. Then it would make sense to get the i7.

Second, why are you spending so much on the board? Save your university some cash and get something cheaper. I'm partial to the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 right now, but there are other good ones.

Third, DO NOT TOUCH THOSE VELOCIRAPTORS. I like to call the VelociRaptos VelociCRaptors. They're expensive, small, and despite their 10K RPMs, don't perform better than the 500 GB platter drives, like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB for $55. The VR is $0.46/GB, while the F3 is only $0.05. There is no noticeable performance difference between the two. If you're really worried about their speed, check out some great SSDs. They're an order of magnitude faster than any mechanical drive. OCZ's Vertex 2 or Agility 2, G.Skill's Phenoix Pro and any of Crucial's SSDs are the best choices right now. They are expensive ($200ish for 120 GB), but you have money to burn.

Fourth, there is no reason to spend $200 on a case. Check out the HAF 932 (or 922), Antec 1200 or anything from Lian Li. You'll easily save at least $50, and you won't lose anything. Heck, at that price, you can even start looking at some of the higher end Silverstone cases.

Fifth, if you're planning on overclocking a lot (and you should with the Sandy Bridge CPUs), I'd look at a better HSF. The Hyper is a good entry level model, but it's drastically out performed by the $40 Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B. Or if you're looking for top of the line performance, the Noctua NH-D14 is $90. I don't see that special thermal paste is necessary, so I wouldn't bother with it.

Finally, 1200W is extreme overkill. The most you could possibly ever need is 1000W. TriSLI isn't feasible, as adding the third card gives minimal performance gains. It is NEVER worth the money required. However, looking at Newegg's 1000W selection, I'm not seeing much I like in the high efficiency (80+ Gold) range. So instead, here's a cheaper, high quality 1200W 80+ Gold unit: Corsair AX1200.

I'll be honest that I don't know too much about workstation GPUs. I'd go with just getting the biggest GPU you can afford when you buy it.

EDIT: I should also mention that nVidia GPUs don't really do multiple outputs very well when you're only using one card. I don't know if it's true for the Quadro series, but I know their consumer cards don't do 3D (I'm assuming you need that) output when there is only a single card. So I guess I'm recommending that you get a pair of the biggest GPUs you can afford.
m
0
l
January 19, 2011 3:26:04 PM

MadAdmiral said:
First, if your program is only single threaded, having a CPU with hyperthreading isn't going to help by definition. Save yourself some money and get the i5-2500K. Of course, that's unless you're running more than four of these programs at the same time. Then it would make sense to get the i7.

Second, why are you spending so much on the board? Save your university some cash and get something cheaper. I'm partial to the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 right now, but there are other good ones.

Third, DO NOT TOUCH THOSE VELOCIRAPTORS. I like to call the VelociRaptos VelociCRaptors. They're expensive, small, and despite their 10K RPMs, don't perform better than the 500 GB platter drives, like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB for $55. The VR is $0.46/GB, while the F3 is only $0.05. There is no noticeable performance difference between the two. If you're really worried about their speed, check out some great SSDs. They're an order of magnitude faster than any mechanical drive. OCZ's Vertex 2 or Agility 2, G.Skill's Phenoix Pro and any of Crucial's SSDs are the best choices right now. They are expensive ($200ish for 120 GB), but you have money to burn.

Fourth, there is no reason to spend $200 on a case. Check out the HAF 932 (or 922), Antec 1200 or anything from Lian Li. You'll easily save at least $50, and you won't lose anything. Heck, at that price, you can even start looking at some of the higher end Silverstone cases.

Fifth, if you're planning on overclocking a lot (and you should with the Sandy Bridge CPUs), I'd look at a better HSF. The Hyper is a good entry level model, but it's drastically out performed by the $40 Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B. Or if you're looking for top of the line performance, the Noctua NH-D14 is $90. I don't see that special thermal paste is necessary, so I wouldn't bother with it.

Finally, 1200W is extreme overkill. The most you could possibly ever need is 1000W. TriSLI isn't feasible, as adding the third card gives minimal performance gains. It is NEVER worth the money required. However, looking at Newegg's 1000W selection, I'm not seeing much I like in the high efficiency (80+ Gold) range. So instead, here's a cheaper, high quality 1200W 80+ Gold unit: Corsair AX1200.

I'll be honest that I don't know too much about workstation GPUs. I'd go with just getting the biggest GPU you can afford when you buy it.

EDIT: I should also mention that nVidia GPUs don't really do multiple outputs very well when you're only using one card. I don't know if it's true for the Quadro series, but I know their consumer cards don't do 3D (I'm assuming you need that) output when there is only a single card. So I guess I'm recommending that you get a pair of the biggest GPUs you can afford.


Thanks! That is some good advice. Can you elaborate on why the VelociRaptors perform the same as the 500gb platter drives? They have a much higher rpm and 6gb/s vs 3gb/s. Although you are right, from a cost point of view the Spinpoint F3 makes more sense.
m
0
l
January 19, 2011 3:45:03 PM

Platter (what the data is actually stored on) is what really determines the actual speed of a HDD. Since the physical platter size are the same size (they're all 3.5" form factors), the more dense "larger" platters can access and write data faster because they don't have to physically spin as much. "Smaller" platters means more mechanical movement, which increases your wait time. So, despite the fact that the VR is spinning faster (10,000 RPM vs. 7,200 RPM), it's actually operating at roughly the same speed because the smaller platters decrease the performance, which is counteracted by the higher RPM. If both drives used 500 GB platters, the VRs would be significanly faster. Instead, they're only slightly faster. The real problem with the VRs is the fact that they cost 5 times as much outweighs that. Considering you can get a decently sized SSD (like the OCZ Vertex 2 120 GB), which is massively faster than the VR, for around $210, and a Spinpoint F3 1 TB for $55 (with a promo code, normally $70) and spend a total of $265-280, the VRs at $275 are pretty pointless. By spending that same amount on storage differently, you end up with both faster operations and more storage space.

Of course, you can't (and shouldn't) store everything on the SSD. Typically, it's advised that you put the OS and frequently used programs on the SSD, and use a regular HDD for any actual data. This method means moving inside the OS and SSD installed programs will be lightening fast, but when you go to access data, the machine will slow down. However, considering most of the time you use a computer, you're in a program or the OS, the computer seems extremely fast all the time.

Now that the 10,000 RPM vs. 7,200 RPM part is explained, on to the SATA III vs. SATA II part. SATA III means absolutely nothing to mechnical drives. They simply can't spin fast enough to make use of the expanded bandwith that SATA III offers. The simple fact of the matter is that a mechnical drive will never exceed the bandwith supplied by SATA II. Where SATA III becomes useful is when you start looking at SSDs. Even with the technology in a very early stage, they're already beginning to be constrained by SATA II's bandwith limit.
m
0
l
!