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~$4000 Need Help Building Highend Workstation.

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August 30, 2011 12:47:47 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Can wait till SB-E comes out if you guys suggest they would build a superior machine at this price point.

Budget Range:$4000 Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Hypershot (Rendering-CPU dependent...more cores the better), SolidWorks (CAD-GPU dependent), Photoshop, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

Parts Not Required:keyboard, mouse, monitor (have 24" Dell), speakers, OS and any parts in my current setup (below) can be reused.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, and anywhere else...Frys Electronics super store is just down the street too.

Country of Origin:USA

Parts Preferences:Nvidia GPUs as they are the only architiecture that will run SolidWorks and let me game. Intel guy but Im here for powerful solutions not to be a fan boy.

Overclocking: Yes / Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Dont care if it does/doesn't have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet-ish PC that stays cool. Water cooling can be an option.


My current setup is:

i72600k@4.5 24/7 max temp 58C (when rendering all cores at 100%)
Asus P8P67 EVO
16GB Corsair Vengeance (4x4GB)
Calibre 480GTX (runs SolidWorks 99% without glitch in graphics)
1000Watt Zalman
System Drive: OCZ 120GB Max Iops
Storgae: 2x 600GB Raptors Mirrored
Antec 1200 (standard fans)
H-70 with Gentle Typhoons + NoiseBlocker replacement fans (excellent temps and sound)
Win7 Business

I would like to keep this as an all in one PC (Rendering, CAD & Gaming). Can go either way with GPU (workstation/gaming). They both have theire +- (This is my home workstation so I would like to be able to game ocassionally and edit music in addition to my CAD, Rendering & Photoshop work). Not familiar with server level building.

Ok lets build...

More about : 4000 building highend workstation

August 30, 2011 1:33:26 AM

keep your current setup and just upgrade the mobo, grab another 480 gtx. or if your just itching to burn some money grab a 990x , new mobo and buy 2 590 GTXs. I dont think the performance vs cost is even remotely sane doing that but what the hey if you get $$$$ to burn? ;) 
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August 30, 2011 1:44:39 AM

[/quote]
Camo84 said:
keep your current setup and just upgrade the mobo, grab another 480 gtx. or if your just itching to burn some money grab a 990x , new mobo and buy 2 590 GTXs. I dont think the performance vs cost is even remotely sane doing that but what the hey if you get $$$$ to burn? ;) 



Thanks but that doesnt address the main reason why I am building a new Workstation:

I need more cores for rendering (cpu GHz & number of cores dependent).
So I need help figuring out what to get. Thinking server mobo (more cores) and adding Quadro or GTX to it if possible.
Again I am new to server builds if that is the way I need to go, and I am hoping this forum can help me figure out what to build.


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August 30, 2011 2:02:46 AM

You could get an i7-980 but it runs slower than the 2600k so they would just about break even for rendering.

I have heard of boards that run multiple xeon cpu's but don't know anything about them otherwise.
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August 30, 2011 2:07:20 AM

Thats what I figured....Im just about at the CPU limit and anything above that on a desktop mobo doesnt really yeild very much.

So lets build a server level multi cpu rig.

Dual Xeons could be the way to go.....Does $4000 get me there (dual Xeons+) with appreciable gains in comparison to my current setup?.....OR.....Wait till SB-E (Sandy Bridge-E) comes out and spend my $ on that.

Not sure if a single SB-E would be much of a gain or not.....?



THANKS FOR REPLYING guys.
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August 30, 2011 3:06:44 AM

I mean if your going to be useing programs and doing stuff that needs 12 cores of muscle vs 4 cores then I would go for the server build. I dont know enough about servers to be much help but I am curious about this now :)  Some good reading just looking through google! :) 
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August 30, 2011 3:20:35 AM

"stuff that needs 12 cores of muscle "


^ I do.


I started reading and got confused so I thought I would throw the build to the forum. Can get really expensive and I have heard of more then dual cpu configs (servers that have 4 cpus somehow configed together)....not to mention SB-E is coming. Is there enough new power in one or even two of those to be worth not going Xeon?

No high core build suggestions yet :( 
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August 30, 2011 5:15:36 AM

Honestly i would get a Tesla if your going to be using GPU computing for anything, I have read that they are the best out there for GPU computing at high levels.
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August 30, 2011 5:36:15 AM

mightymaxio said:
Honestly i would get a Tesla if your going to be using GPU computing for anything, I have read that they are the best out there for GPU computing at high levels.



Thanks for the reply but I never said I am doing any GPU computing. Wait, let me clarify...My GPU is used for a CAD program and gaming....those aspects of my current build are fine. Its a boost in rendering capability that lead me here for advise on what to build now.

I need more CPU cores and or a GHz bump (meaning 6 cores at 3.4GHz would be better then 8 cores at 2.4GHz...I think). I am trying to go beyond my current rig's rendering capability (i7 2600K@4.5GHZ).

My rendering program, Keyshot, is CPU core and GHz dependent. So what can I build as an all in one as my original post describes that trumps what I have?


Lots-o-cores + descrete gpu= :) 
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August 30, 2011 7:45:46 PM

JdotH said:
I need more CPU cores and or a GHz bump (meaning 6 cores at 3.4GHz would be better then 8 cores at 2.4GHz...I think). I am trying to go beyond my current rig's rendering capability (i7 2600K@4.5GHZ).



One option was the previous generation Intel w/ 6 cores at 4GHz or less. Your current system is a more efficient chip running 4 cores/4 threads at 4.5GHz. If you went up to a 2600k then you could have 4 cores/8 threads at closer to 5 GHz. If you go with a server type motherboard you could run 8 cores/? threads but you would probably be limited to stock speeds of about 3.3GHz. It might be that the 2600K is still a good option.
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August 30, 2011 8:07:26 PM

cadder said:
One option was the previous generation Intel w/ 6 cores at 4GHz or less. Your current system is a more efficient chip running 4 cores/4 threads at 4.5GHz. If you went up to a 2600k then you could have 4 cores/8 threads at closer to 5 GHz. If you go with a server type motherboard you could run 8 cores/? threads but you would probably be limited to stock speeds of about 3.3GHz. It might be that the 2600K is still a good option.




Thanks.....


I currently have my i7 2600K @4.5GHz....above that I just can't trust my work to the probable instability.

So I am going server grade....Best server I could build now?

Should I wait for Sandy Bridge-E to build it?
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August 31, 2011 3:34:25 AM

JdotH said:
Thanks.....


I currently have my i7 2600K @4.5GHz....above that I just can't trust my work to the probable instability.

So I am going server grade....Best server I could build now?

Should I wait for Sandy Bridge-E to build it?




Sorry, I was thinking 2500k for some reason.

I don't know about server grade motherboards so I can't help you with that.

I don't agree with "probably instability" for an overclocked processor. Some people get the 2600k up to 5GHz with stability. You can of course test yours for an extended period with prime95 and if it handles that you should have faith in it. My own CAD workstation has an E8500 at 3.8GHz, and it has been running 24/7 for 2.5 years. (An E8500 at 3.8GHz is probably being pushed more than a 2600k at 4.5GHz.) My home computer only runs 6 or 7 hours a day but it has a Q9400 at 3.4GHz and it has been running for over 2 years. Of course you shouldn't run your computer at a higher speed than what you have faith in. I want to have complete faith in the reliability of my computer and I'm sure that you do too.
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August 31, 2011 4:35:15 AM

If you can wait until SB-E comes out, personally, I'd do that. November is the supposed launch date which will see the release of both the i7 ans xeon lines. However, if you want to do something now, and you have the money available, I'd suggest the following:


EVGA SR-2 (dual xeon)
Xeon W3670 (6 cores/12 threads @3.2 GHz) x 2
G.Skill Ripjaw (6 x 4GB @ 1600MHz) (x2?)
Antec HCP 1200
EVGA GTX 580 FTW Hydro 2 Copper (watercooled) x 2 (3?)(4?)
Xigmatek Elysium

Re-use your drives

Now for the fun stuff (since the cards are watercooled, you need a liquid setup)
HTF4 triple 140mm rad
and either
EK Coolstream 280 double 140mm rad if you don't mind a bit of modding, or
EK Coolstream 140 if you don't
Yate Loon 140mm high speed fans x as many as needed (either 4 or 5)
EK Supreme HF full nickel CPU block x 2
Phobya 250mm reservoir
Bitspower 7/16 - 5/8 compression fittings x 14
Alphacool D5 pump x 2
Bitspower dual D5 pump top
Koolance SLI connector (x2?)(X3?)
Primochill Primoflex 7/16 - 5/8 red tubing 12 feet should be more than enough (can chose other colour if you want)
IandH silver kill coil
and then run the loop with distilled water (the kind you get at the grocery store)

and that's about all you need
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August 31, 2011 4:52:00 AM

Thank you thank you thank you....

I have wanted to see a build suggestion.
How much do you think the cpu performance gain is vs my i7 2600k@4.5GHz?
Any comparisons?
The comparison results will determine if I should wait or not.


And thanks...again.

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August 31, 2011 5:27:00 PM

As I said in your other thread wait for SBE. Two xeon x5680 is twice the performance of a stock i7 but cost $1600 each. Although this build would have 3x more cores/thread (12/24 vs 4/8) you'll have a lower clock speed, worse architecture and since this isn't a perfect world, the performance is not linear to number of cores/thread.

The w3670 is a uniprocessor only. The e5645 is the cheapest hexacore on newegg that supports dual socket. Two of these would be about 65% faster than a stock 2600. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could also save some money on the motherboard. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Xeons cannot overclock.
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August 31, 2011 8:28:50 PM

k1114 said:
As I said in your other thread wait for SBE. Two xeon x5680 is twice the performance of a stock i7 but cost $1600 each. Although this build would have 3x more cores/thread (12/24 vs 4/8) you'll have a lower clock speed, worse architecture and since this isn't a perfect world, the performance is not linear to number of cores/thread.

The w3670 is a uniprocessor only. The e5645 is the cheapest hexacore on newegg that supports dual socket. Two of these would be about 65% faster than a stock 2600. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could also save some money on the motherboard. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Xeons cannot overclock.

you can overclock xeons.... overclocking on the sr-2, overclocking the e5645

but you are right about the processor choice, the e5645 would be a better choice, at this stage in the game.

All that being said, I'll reiterate what I said in my initial post. If you can wait until SB-E, do so. There will be 8 core/16 thread xeon processors released with the newer, better architecture.
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August 31, 2011 8:57:55 PM

Personally, i would wait it out for the new ivy bridge processors and see what the comparison in specs are before deceiding anything
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August 31, 2011 11:37:25 PM

Some xeon mobos don't allow overclocking, good to know the sr2 does, but I did not check the others. There are 8 and 10 core of westmere although would probably out of his budget. SBE's 8 core should be cheaper as it's said to be replacing the current 6 cores spot/price.
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September 1, 2011 12:00:09 AM

I am sooooo waiting to see new Ivy Bridge options....and maybe the Westmere's will take a price plunge which I can consider then too.
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September 1, 2011 10:57:51 PM

JdotH said:
I am sooooo waiting to see new Ivy Bridge options....and maybe the Westmere's will take a price plunge which I can consider then too.
bejabbers said:
If you can wait until SB-E comes out, personally, I'd do that. November is the supposed launch date which will see the release of both the i7 ans xeon lines.
Don't bother waiting for Ivy Bridge, as the recently available roadmap from Intel indicates that the Ivy Bridge CPUs will be for the mainstream/low-end market, when released in mid-2012. For high-performance/multi-processor CPUs (Xeons) Ivy Bridge will debut in 2013.

Unlike both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge, Intel first released high-performance/extreme CPUs based on the Nehalem microarchitecture, i.e., Core i7 before Core i5 and Core i3. However with Sandy Bridge, Intel reversed the release of CPUs based upon primary market, with Mainstream and Performance appearing earlier this year, with the Extreme/High-End Core i7 yet to be released (possibly late-Q4 2011/early-Q1 2012). Also Sandy Bridge multi-processor CPUs (Xeons) should appear Q4 2011.

I honestly suggest you wait for 2-3 months for Sandy Bridge Xeons, because you need multi-cores for rendering. I suggest a dual Sandy Bridge Xeon configuration, with a total of 16 cores.

Model Core Threads Freq L3 cache TDP
Xeon E5-2650 8 16 2.0 GHz 20 MB 95 Watt
Xeon E5-2660 8 16 2.2 GHz 20 MB 95 Watt
Xeon E5-2665 8 16 2.4 GHz 20 MB 115 Watt
Xeon E5-2670 8 16 2.6 GHz 20 MB 115 Watt
Xeon E5-2680 8 16 2.7 GHz 20 MB 130 Watt
Xeon E5-2690 8 16 2.9 GHz 20 MB 135 Watt

CPU-Table Source: http://www.cpu-world.com/news_2011/2011082601_Intel_to_...

Sandy Bridge Xeons will support quad-channel DDR3-1600, so with dual Sandy Bridge Xeon configuration you can have 4GB x 4slots x 2CPUs = 32 GB RAM (8 GB DDR3 are too expensive).

You'll need a motherboard to accommodate the 2 CPUs. That means a server motherboard, but they require expensive ECC RAM. I therefore suggest the dual-LGA2011 motherboard from EVGA that is currently in the pipeline. More info at http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1054397&mpage=1&pr...

I myself am waiting for Sandy Bridge Xeons, as I make heavy use of bare-metal virtualization that requires multiple cores and loads of RAM.
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September 2, 2011 12:29:02 AM

Best answer selected by JdotH.
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