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Workstation Build

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December 4, 2011 10:38:29 PM

I've been looking to build a workstation mainly for architectural renderings, but I'm also a bit of a gamer. I have never build a computer before so this was, and still is, a big learning experience for me. With that said, please forgive any mistakes or incompatibilities I've overlooked in this prospective build. Also, I welcome any advice or constructive criticism (even if it means suggesting an entirely different build). My budget is from $1500 - $1700. Here's what I have put together so far:


Motherboard:
ASUS KCMA-D8 ATX Server Motherboard Dual Socket C32 AMD SR5670 DDR3 1333/1066/800

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPUs:
AMD Opteron 4180 Lisbon 2.6GHz x6

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory:
CORSAIR XMS3 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850M 850W ATX12V v2.31

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Optical Drive:

LITE-ON Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA 12X Blu-ray Burner

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound Card:
ASUS XONAR_DG 5.1 Channels PCI Interface Xonar DG Sound Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Case:
Corsair Graphite Series 600T CC600TM Mid-Tower Gaming Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : workstation build

a b B Homebuilt system
December 5, 2011 12:46:14 AM

Build/cart link didn't work for me. Well it does kinda, it just tells me the cart is empty. If you just list all the part and model numbers here we can work with it better.
December 5, 2011 1:03:23 AM

Sorry about that, I was sure if it would work or not. I've listed all the parts with their NewEgg links as well.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2011 12:51:27 AM

Sorry it's taken me awhile to get back to you but with exams and Christmas it's been hectic. Hope you're still in the looking into stage!

Motherboard and CPU(s) look good.

You will probably want to go with some memory from the QVL for your motherboard. It is not an all inclusive list but it has been updated by ASUS and I find you never have any compatibility problems when you use it. Server memory is different from regular memory as it is buffered, registered and EEC, (error correcting code) unlike regular memory like what you have chosen. HERE IS A LINK to some Kingston memory that is listed for your board. Or ANY OF THESE Just to serve as an example. Or, if you really want to pull off an AWESOME memory coup - THESE SAMSUNG 16 GB sticks are amazing. You can start with 1 stick for 16 GB and just add sticks as time progresses. - Yeah, I know, but I had to show you anyway. :sol: 

PSU, Case, Optical drive and sound card all look good. I have a question about the hdd though. Your motherboard supports the SAS, Serial Attached SCSI, why aren't you going to use those instead? It has the SAS2 for the 6GB/S transfer speed while the sata 2 are only 3 GB/s. You will get more performance out of the SAS. But they do cost more.

Kinda on the fence for the video card. I bought the 6990 new for only $500 on ebay. And while that sounds kinda pricy it's more like buying 2 video cards at once. No need to upgrade later. Since your motherboard only has 1 X16 speed slot, (2-x 16 slots but only 1 runs at the 16 speed, the other one is only rated for 8X), I think you'd be better off having the 2 cards in one given the performance your looking for. And the psu you're already looking at will be enough to run it with no problems.

And last but not least - you are going to need some cpu coolers if you are buying the cpu's from the link at newegg. They don't come with them. You should only need the stock coolers since I doubt you are going to be doing any overclocking. ANY OF THESE will work. I like the The Cooljag SFO-7 1U Server CPU Cooler the best because of the low profile and all the copper. It should perform well and look good in your case. The noctua are ok but with two of them it's gonna get crouded in your case and put a lot of strain on your motherboard so if you use them keep and eye out for cracks on the motherboard. I do business with frozen cpu, it's a good company and they stand behind their products. Oh, and don't forget the thermal paste (TIM) for the cpu coolers. I only use the artic ceramique - no metals in the compound.
December 12, 2011 1:54:19 AM

This isn't a great knowledge, so don't count on it heavily, but I've read a couple places ( http://stealthmachines.com/sound_cards.html and another place I can't find) That unless you spend like 100+ dollars on a new sound card, the built in one will generally be good enough .
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
December 12, 2011 2:59:09 AM

Quote:
Kinda on the fence for the video card. I bought the 6990 new for only $500 on ebay. And while that sounds kinda pricy it's more like buying 2 video cards at once. No need to upgrade later. Since your motherboard only has 1 X16 speed slot, (2-x 16 slots but only 1 runs at the 16 speed, the other one is only rated for 8X), I think you'd be better off having the 2 cards in one given the performance your looking for. And the psu you're already looking at will be enough to run it with no problems.


6990 for rendering programs? Not sure I'd agree with that choice - I think I'd be more inclined to go with a Fire Pro for that kind of money to get a better multiple monitor Eyefinity setup.

But otherwise, that is an extremely solid build. I have that same case but I will tell you it is BIG. And heavy at that. If you plan on transporting your workstation for any purpose you might want to check out the slimmer Carbide series.

I'd normally say you don't need a sound card but since workstation motherboards don't have built in audio this is one case where I'd be sure to get one if you need it.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2011 1:10:08 AM

The firepro is also a good choice. The price comparable V8800 might work well enough. That being said, this PNY VCQFX1800-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 1800 768MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card for $419 should be all you need. If you READ THIS ARTICLE it might explain why this new suggestion. And I mentioned I was on the fence about it meaning I wasn't sure if it was a good choice or not. I've done some reading up on the issue since then and found that there's a BIG difference between what a gamer needs for performance and what an autocad user needs for performance.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2011 3:29:28 PM

suteck said:
The firepro is also a good choice. The price comparable V8800 might work well enough. That being said, this PNY VCQFX1800-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 1800 768MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation Video Card for $419 should be all you need. If you READ THIS ARTICLE it might explain why this new suggestion. And I mentioned I was on the fence about it meaning I wasn't sure if it was a good choice or not. I've done some reading up on the issue since then and found that there's a BIG difference between what a gamer needs for performance and what an autocad user needs for performance.


Don't get me wrong I completely understand the need for workstation graphics cards but they are about double what the price of the comparable "gamer" card runs. And not every firm out there can afford these for their stations, I'm getting by on a GTX 470 right now and it's been perfectly fine for what I need it to do - but then again I mainly use ACAD for 2-D top-down drawings, I don't need it for any 3-D rendering software.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 15, 2011 11:56:06 PM

WOW Same post 3 times, and all in Tom's.

1
2
3

Almost hurt my feelings :lol: 
December 16, 2011 6:10:04 AM

Sorry about that! I didn't know if this was the correct place to put this since it was a new build so I gave it a shot there. I created the other one out of impatience, as it's easy to get your thread lost in other forums, but it seems like people are quite efficient about responding here. I'm still deciding whether I want to do a workstation build or go with the other one recommended to me in the other thread. Also, are there normally more deals to be had after Christmas?

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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2011 9:59:37 AM
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Not a problem. I didn't even know if you were still monitoring this one. And it took me a week to respond after you fixed the links so I know what you mean about time. Maybe I can help on which platform to use. If it were me, I would go with the other build or something similar. While you're looking for a workstation to be able to do both, as long as you don't want to do both at the same time I would go with a workstation board. The server board - any server board - is not really what you want to work with since they are designed for running multiple programs for many different sources simultaneously. It would be overkill for what you want and you would NEVER be able to use all the resources. I know you want to be able to do multiple things but single servers, and single server boards, are used more for, - example - 5 people doing a couple of different tasks at the same time. The more people you have using it the more connected servers or server trays you have connected to handle all the tasks and traffic.

Your case involves more of a multitasking capable cpu with enough memory to handle the programs. You can still run multiple programs, 8 threads and 16 GB's of memory should be plenty to do what you want. The only difficulty you will run in to is the use of the video card(s). If you read or glanced through the article I linked to you should understand what I mean. You will need 1 specific type of card, (Nvidia Quatro or ATI FirePro) to produce the lines and 2D/3D rendering you require for Autocad and rendering, and you will need a different type of card for gaming. It will have a huge impact on what you see. You can use a single build but if you're running games like BF3 and/or MW3 you will need a great gaming card. Then you would need to switch it out for the other card when doing your autocad. Doesn't sound like a good way to go but the 2 different uses require different cards, unless you don't require your lines to be very clear when drawing. And I don't believe the quatro or firepro will be able to handle the frame rates required for gaming. There just not built for it.
December 16, 2011 3:05:44 PM

Thanks for the response. The more I was looking at a workstation build the more I was feeling like it might not be exactly what I need. While it would be nice to have something like that, for my needs I agree that a build like the other would probably be best. I did take a quick look at the article you posted and it made a lot of sense. At this point in time, I think that I'd be fine running a more "mainstream" graphics card since I'm not currently doing any professional work and I do like to play my games. Thanks again for another timely response!
December 16, 2011 3:05:57 PM

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