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BestConfigs - High-End Workstation

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June 8, 2011 2:41:52 AM

It's that time again! Time to update the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs! Once again, we are opening the field to user recommendations to get the best consensus for the absolute best of the best in each category. Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 of the best to be put up to a public vote right here in the Systems forum. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with a special credit in the feature article.

Post your entries to this thread for the category of:
High-End Workstation

Stay within $4000 (without shipping) and no need to include OS, monitor, mouse/keyboard. Please be sure to format your list of components as follows:

Joe's Uber-Compiler and Render Beast
Processor: Component Name and Component Price
Motherboard: Component Name and Component Price
RAM: Component Name and Component Price
Graphics Card: Component Name and Component Price
Hard Drive: Component Name and Component Price
Case: Component Name and Component Price
Power Supply: Component Name and Component Price
Cooling: Component Name and Component Price
DVD Burner: Component Name and Component Price

See below for quick-copy/paste text of the BBcode.

  1. [b]Joe's Uber-Compiler and Render Beast[/b]
  2. Processor: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  3. Motherboard: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  4. RAM: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  5. Graphics Card: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  6. Hard Drive: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  7. Case: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  8. Power Supply: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  9. Cooling: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  10. DVD Burner: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]


You can also use the Tom's Hardware System Builder to build your recommendation and use the BBCode export option at the bottom of the build. If you do, be sure to include a link in your post to your build on the app for quick viewing.

Good luck, and may the best builds win!
June 8, 2011 8:27:59 PM
June 12, 2011 2:24:46 PM

JD's Video Whisperer

Processor: Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.46GHz 6 x 256KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Processor BX80613I7990X $999.99

Motherboard: ASUS P6X58-E WS LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $299.99

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Memory Model F3-10666CL7T-12GBRH $134.99

Graphics Card: PNY VCQ5000-PB Quadro 5000 Graphics Card - 2.50 GB $1629.99

OS/APPS (Boot) Drive (SSD): OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $269.99

Scratch (Work)Hard Drives Raid 0: 2 x Western Digital 500 GB RE4 SATA 3 Gb/s 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Enterprise Hard Drive - WD5003ABYX $76.92/$153.84

Secondary Storage Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda Green ST1500DL003 1.5TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $64.99

Case: Fractal Design Define XL Black ATX Full Tower Silent PC Computer Case $139.99

Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3 SLI/CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $139.99

Cooling: Noctua NH-C12P SE14 CPU Fan $67.07

Blu-Ray Burner: LG Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 10X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA WH12LS30 LightScribe - OEM $84.99

TOTAL = $3985.82 plus a bunch of MIR's

Designed to rip and shred anything you can throw at it and to do it quietly with style.

I choose the x58 platform and the i7 990x for its superior video rendering and compiling. I thought about the i7-2600k, but you would have to OC very seriously to come close to the 990x power at stock speeds and since this is supposed to be a workstation build it should be stable, not someones over clocking experiment.

12GB of RAM should be plenty for a workstation, but if more was needed you could slap another 12G in and just reduce the size of the SSD down to 64GB M4 and sill have plenty of room for Office and video Apps.

The HDD's should be configured with the SSD and Secondary storage drive being on the Marvel controller as it is slightly faster at single drive throughput (surprised me too) the WD RE 4 drives should put on the Intel controller in Raid 0. I thought about SSD's in Raid 0 for the scratch drive, but I would fear the constant read/write/deletes would significantly shorten their lifespan. The secondary storage drive would hold the finished products until transferred to offsite storage.

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Related resources
June 13, 2011 6:55:50 AM

Here is a workstation build -

Kay's Number Cruncher
Processor x2: Intel Xeon E5645 Westmere-EP 2.4GHz $1179.98
12-Real Cores/24 Threads

Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DAH+-O Dual LGA 1366 $449.99

RAM x2: Kingston 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered $439.98

Graphics Card: Onboard - Assuming this is going to be a number cruncher, the onboard would suffice

SSD For boot: OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-E 220GB $549.99

SSD for Apps: OCZ Agility 3 120GB $239.99

Hard Drive for data: x3 in RAID 5
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB $239.97

Case: LIAN LI PC-V2120B Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower $399.99

Power Supply: CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W $279.99

Cooling x2: Intel BXSTS100A Active heat sink $$69.98

DVD Burner: ASUS DVD $20.99

Total - $3870.85

If going for a CAD workstation, then you could drop to a single CPU workstation and go with a powerful workstation card like the Quadro 5000/ FirePro V8800...
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June 19, 2011 10:28:01 AM

Waiting for Socket 2011 and cheaper SSDs ... Also want to see the Dozer benches, for student builds.
... See you in ~October ?
Currently, it would seem that GTX is a better value than Quadro ... That said, all the various apps seem to have particular preferences, regarding resources.
So ... I would recommend building your system around your primary apps and NOT to over-build, as hardware capabilities are RAPIDLY overtaking software requirements.

See you when I think a system that breathes can be had for an appropriate price.

I just aint seeing that, right now ... X58+GTX+12GB-DDR3 was the last build that made real sense.

There are so many different "ws" apps, and so many "designated workloads", that one really needs to know exactly what apps will be used and how much output is expected, in a given week/month.

Editing? (Rez/apps/codecs) CAD? 3DCG? Bio and Molecular Modelling? ... WHAT?

There is just no way to know *IF* a discreet GPU is needed or if it should be GTX or Quadro ...OR ... Combined CUDA, etc.

Just look how very different the (already) proposed builds are ... Yet all could perform certain tasks, very well ... There is simply NO GENERIC METRIC, for a "WS".

PS: The new Mac-Pro (Loaded) config will (likely) provide some context for a "well rounded" PC-based WS ... Looking forward to seeing Apple's latest "visage" ... (Should be optimized for Edit/3D-CG/Pubs).
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June 22, 2011 6:23:06 PM

My build was for 2d and 3d CAD (architecture, furniture, product design and rendering/animation work). Does their appear to be any problems in the setup? This was my first build. I just started up the OS, which quickky boots, and installed the drives yesterday. Everything seems to be working fine. I will be running test over the next couple weeks -still to figure out how to test it.

The build was meant to be fast, reliable, and stylish with a decent budget.

Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D $200
MB: ASUS P8P67 $225
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K Sandy Bridge $315
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $40
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 4 x 4G (16GB) $180
PSU: Seasonic x750 Gold $160
Optical Drive: DVD Burner Lite-On $25
HD: WD 1.5TB $110
SSD: 128G Crucuial $235
VGA: Quadro 4000 $780
OS: Windows 7 HP $100

Total $2370

Let me know your opinions!
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June 23, 2011 3:36:04 AM
June 23, 2011 6:04:07 PM

Seems Alvins point is on the mark. Perhaps proposed builds can also state what apps or type of work they are targeting. I just put together a build with lots of help from forum(thread) which is very similar to sadams04's sandybridge build, and targets rhino modeling (vs rendering) and scripting, neither of which are threaded operations, so no point in duel xeons. Since modeling is what I do most, gpu is what I spend the most on. Quadro 4000+ are recommend by rhino support and (though no published studies can be found) its generally stated by rhino support groups and by users all over the web that quadro outperforms gtx [for rhino]. While i do some rendering, I certainly don't start renderings that complete 6 days later or even 1 day later, so I can even concede a theoretical increase in crash frequency that is often pointed out as a "workstations should not be overclocked" argument, though it doesn't seem like that is even a real concession with a modest sandybridge overclock. and anyway I can tolerate marginal hits in "stability and reliability" in favor of the added productivity raw speed will provide for my non-threaded workflow, especially when scripting and performance is reduced to a very simple function of clock speed. (i.e twice as fast = half the time)

disclosure: nubbie
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June 24, 2011 9:32:46 AM

@caesparktom
Yup ... context is EVerything, in THIS category and, no reason one should NEED to spend the entire (allotted) wad, either. Ditto on the OC, too ... Unless you are designing a bridge, skyscraper, passenger aircraft, etc. ... Who needs ECC parity DRAM and an overly slow clock (now that conservative OC has become the "stable" mainstream standard) ??
... And, yeah ... Quadro? GTX? IGP? ... TOTALLY depends on the resource reqs of the primary apps (and required display real-estate, etc.).

Even if we were ONLY limiting these builds to video editing? ... STILL a huge variation, depending on MANY factors ... so ... State your apps and even your "output product", in terms of required quality and quantity ...

Do remember that we are on the temporal cusp of PCIe 3.0 and that even mainstream core-counts are doubling, as power reqs are plummeting ... these trends (this particular platform evolution) is JUST HUGE (a precedent ... not the norm) so, over-building, right now would be a complete waste ... right at this moment, if I was FORCED to build ? ... It would be for a two year requirement, with an expectation of re-tasking, rather than upgrading (in most cases).

So sorry, Fans ... With PCIe 3.0 and Thunderbolt and big/cheap SSDs and a doubling of core counts BANGING at our door ? Who (other than a very highly salaried engineer) could justify blowing $4K on a dual Xeon ?! ... Unless the extra cores are REALLY gonna make/save LOTS of real money ?
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August 1, 2011 5:50:45 PM

Merge-able thread.
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August 1, 2011 5:51:19 PM

This next topics has been merged by Jpishgar
  • BestConfigs - High End Workstation
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    August 1, 2011 5:51:52 PM

    This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Jpishgar
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    August 31, 2012 9:16:16 AM

    jpishgar said:
    It's that time again! Time to update the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs! Once again, we are opening the field to user recommendations to get the best consensus for the absolute best of the best in each category. Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 of the best to be put up to a public vote right here in the Systems forum. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with a special credit in the feature article.

    Post your entries to this thread for the category of:
    High-End Workstation

    Stay within $4000 (without shipping) and no need to include OS, monitor, mouse/keyboard. Please be sure to format your list of components as follows:

    Joe's Uber-Compiler and Render Beast
    Processor: 2x Dual (Intel Xeon E5-2620 2.0GHz (15MB Cache) (Six-Core CPU) (12 CPU Cores Tota l$412.77
    Motherboard: Intel Workstation Board W2600CR (Chipset: Intel C600-A) $654.85
    RAM: Dominator® with DHX Pro Connector — 1.5V 16GB Quad Channel DDR3 Memory Kit (CMP16GX3M4X1600C7) $234.99
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro 600 by PNY 1GB DDR3 $149.99
    Hard Drive:Corsair Force Series GT 120 GB SATA 2.5-Inch SATA III Solid State Drive (CSSD-F120GBGT-BK) $118.92
    Case: Lian Li PC-X2000F $525.76
    Power Supply: HX Series HX1050 Power Supply — 1050 Watt 80 PLUS® Gold Certified Modular PSU $239.99
    Cooling: Hydro Series™ H70 CORE High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler $89.99
    DVD Burner: ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM $46.99

    See below for quick-copy/paste text of the BBcode.

    1. [b]Joe's Uber-Compiler and Render Beast[/b]
    2. Processor: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    3. Motherboard: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    4. RAM: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    5. Graphics Card: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    6. Hard Drive: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    7. Case: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    8. Power Supply: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    9. Cooling: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
    10. DVD Burner: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]


    You can also use the Tom's Hardware System Builder to build your recommendation and use the BBCode export option at the bottom of the build. If you do, be sure to include a link in your post to your build on the app for quick viewing.

    Good luck, and may the best builds win!

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    !