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BestConfigs: High-End Workstation

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November 15, 2012 4:26:01 PM

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. To keep things fair and level the playing field, we ask that you restrict your product links to Newegg or Amazon. 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!
November 15, 2012 8:41:12 PM
Related resources
November 15, 2012 11:00:25 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nSq9
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nSq9/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nSq9/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($499.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler ($81.91 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 PRO ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($304.00 @ B&H)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY Nvidia Quadro K5000 4GB256-bit Video Card (1799.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($94.72 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $3332.43
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-15 19:59 EST-0500)
November 16, 2012 1:32:00 AM
November 16, 2012 11:49:08 AM

The "Black Pearl" by Brandon402

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($499.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme6 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($219.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($269.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card ($529.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi Tower ATX Mid Tower Case ($77.52 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($64.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64-bit) ($173.40 @ NCIX US)
Total: $2441.12
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-16 08:48 EST-0500)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nVHg

November 27, 2012 6:31:37 PM

Anyone wanna try xeon? I'd do it myself, but I don't have the know-how.
November 27, 2012 7:35:22 PM
November 28, 2012 2:29:16 AM



I had to use my low end workstation wish list to stay under $4,000. Along with this I also included a Das Keyboard DASK3MKPROCLI Black USB 2.0 Wired Standard Professional and Logitech G300 Black/Gray 9 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 2500 dpi Gaming Mouse which would add another $165, but were excluded from this build by request. My high end workstation is a maxed out system for over $12k.

I want my workstations to be able to render lightwave or maya frames quickly.

Processor: Intel Xeon E5-2630 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.3GHz LGA 2011 95W Six-Core (2 @ $1,269.98) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA 2011 (@ $579.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 64GB (8 x 8GB) ($329.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Graphics Card: ATI 100-505682 FirePro V5800 ($359.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256D($219.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (system drive)
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD RE4 WD5003ABYX 500GB (2 @ $199.98) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (data drives)
Case: SilverStone Temjin Series TJ07B-W-USB3.0 ($369.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Power Supply: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 1000W ($184.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling: Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro CLW0216 (2@ $217.98) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ( processor cooling)
DVD Burner: LITE-ON 24X Model IHAS324 ($24.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $3,732.88
November 28, 2012 2:31:26 AM

Rendering/CAD/encoding MONSTER

2x Xeon processors, 16/32 Cores/threads
Hi quality components all packaged in a silent, slick high end case. Perfect for the office.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.74 @ Mwave)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V5700 512MB Video Card ($257.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Corsair 550D ATX Mid Tower Case ($149.99 @ Best Buy)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Other: ASUS Z9PE-D16/2L SSI EEB Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 DDR3 1600 ($379.99)
Other: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2660 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.2GHz (3GHz Turbo Boost) ($2659.98)
Other: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99)
Total: $3949.56
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 23:26 EST-0500)
November 28, 2012 12:58:25 PM
December 18, 2012 1:53:05 AM

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($569.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Gene Micro ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($164.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($91.33 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($91.33 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($268.19 @ amazon)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V7900 2GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($687.86 @ Newegg)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V7900 2GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($687.86 @ Newegg)
Video Card: ATI FirePro V7900 2GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($687.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Stryker (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($159.04 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1000W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($189.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Amazon )
Total: $3980.92

I know the links are wrong but hey the price is right :p 
December 18, 2012 5:32:23 AM

"Perpetual" Build

The workstation, the primary workhorse for professionals in anything from 3D design, video editing, to developing code. It requires the utmost reliability, performance, and when disaster strikes, the ease and speed of recovery. The build here is meant to do all of that, in a professional, quiet, and efficient package.

As there was no specified task that this workstation would be focused on, this is a general build that tries to support everything.

Why the parts?
- While Sandy Bridge-E is not the latest in CPU technology, it represents one of the best choices for workstations due to its six cores, offering high performance while still being energy efficient and cool.

- Why not watercooling? Because it has the potential (regardless of how small) to cause a total system failure. Air cooling is reliable, and thanks to Noctua's staggeringly large (yet compatible), dual fan, heatsink, this system can run at full load indefinitely without overheating.

- While this system is not meant to be overclocked, the overclocking-friendly motherboard was selected because of its high quality components, workstation target, and favorable reviews. Ample RAM is supplied for intensive tasks such as Premiere, Photoshop, 3D Design/Rendering Suites, and for virtualization. The Mushkin set has be selected due to its great performance, competitive pricing, and low profile heatspreaders.

- The FirePro card excels at most tasks, but a comparable Quadro card can be switched in if the user requires performance where Nvidia Quadro cards are favored and/or CUDA support (eg, Premiere Pro's GPU acceleration). The selected W7000 is an efficient, GCN based, professional card that offers great performance for its value.

- The Titanium HD is selected because of its RCA input and output support, high quality sound, and ASIO support.

- The 800D for, EATX support, the 4X hot swappable drives, accessible without opening the side panel, allow this system to be kept up fast. The ease of installation, high cooling performance, and professional look only make this an even better choice.

- The 4X Red drives are to be configured in a RAID10 through the high performance Adaptec RAID card. These will be installed as hot swappable in the case, offering high redundancy as well as performance. If a disk fails, it can be easily swapped out within minutes and does not require time consuming rebuild, unlike RAID5. The 1TB Black drive serves as a "scratch disk" that many applications require, or as a high performance temporary storage area. The 2X SSDs are to be used in RAID1 on Intel's X79 chipset, serving as the primary OS and application drive. In the event of a single disk failure, the system will remain operational. They were selected for their "consistent performance... possible through a controller that prioritizes efficient and aggressive defragmentation" - Anandtech.

- The Seasonic based, AX860 PSU was picked for its top notch voltage regulation and high quality build to serve as a rock solid foundation for the system. Being 80 Plus Platinum, it is also very efficient, especially considering this build's sustained power usage under load.

Notes.
- This system has a $20 rebate which if, not allowed, will cause this system to be over budget by $11.80. If this is the case, then the MX-4 can be removed as the Noctua D14 includes NT-H1, the Blu-Ray writer can also be removed (or replaced for another manufacturer) for a Blu-Ray/DVD writer combo drive instead.

- A 2x2.5" to 3.5" bay converter is required and has been added. A Blu-Ray writer and high quality TIM are also included.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($569.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 WS LGA 2011 Intel X79 ($379.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Redline 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($91.33 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Corsair Neutron Series GTX 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Corsair Neutron Series GTX 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: AMD FirePro W7000 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFire Supported Workstation Video Card ($769.99 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 800D ATX Full Tower Case ($267.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair 860W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($179.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-207MBK Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Adaptec RAID 6405 2271100-R 6Gb/s SATA/SAS 4 internal ports w/512MB cache memory Controller Card, Kit ($354.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Rosewill RX-C200P 2.5" SSD / HDD Plastic Mounting Kit for 3.5" Drive Bay ($5.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Arctic Cooling MX 4 TIM ($6.65 @ Amazon)
Total: $3991.80
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-18 02:26 EST-0500)
December 18, 2012 1:58:58 PM
December 18, 2012 3:45:35 PM

Processor:2x Intel Xeon E5 2630 @2.3GHz ($1,269.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard:Asus Z9PE-D16/2L ($379.99 @ Newegg)
RAM:2x Kingston 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600 ECC Registered ($237.98 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card:AMD FirePro W5000 2GB ($449.99 @ Newegg)
Solid State:2x Crucial M4 256GB in RAID 0 ($399.98 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive:Western Digital Black 2TB ($179.99 @ Newegg)
Case:Cooler Master Cosmos II ($349.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply:Corsair HX1050 ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling:2x Corsair H60 ($109.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive:LG Blu-Ray Writer ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Sound card:Asus Xonar ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Add on:Koutech USB 3.0 card ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Total:$3,712.84

Here is 2x Xeon 6 cores with HT making a total of 24 threads.
2x SSD to run in RAID 0 along with a 2TB HDD for storage.
Power supply is overkill, but I need one that has 2x 8pin for the motherboard.
A sound card is added because the motherboard doesn't have one.
The case has front USB 3 using internal header, motherboard don't have internal
USB 3 header. A USB 3 internal header card is added to the list.

December 18, 2012 6:59:29 PM

DRosencraft's H.E.W.S Build 4
Processor: AMD Opteron 6348 Abu Dhabi 2.8GHz $599.99 ea. (x2) @Newegg
Motherboard: Asus KGPE-D16 SSI EEB Dual G34 $419.99 @Newegg
RAM: Kingston 8GB RDIMM 1333 Hynix model $52.99 ea. (x8) @Newegg
Graphics Card: ATI 100-505604 FirePro V7800 $619.99 ea. (x2) @Newegg
Solid State Drive: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB SSD $149.99 @Newegg
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Black 1TB 7200 RPM 109.99 ea. (x2) @Newegg
Case: AZZA Genesis 9000 ATX Full-Tower Case $159.99 @Newegg
Power Supply: SeaSonic SS-660XP 660W 80Plus Platinum Fully Modular $149.99 @Newegg
Cooling: Noctua NH-UPDO A3 AMD Opteron CPU Cooler $75.99 ea. (x2) @Newegg
DVD Burner: LG Black Blu-Ray Burner $54.99 @Newegg

TOTAL: $3958.83

I tried to keep the components to Server/Workstation parts. Also I tired to use low-power parts wherever possible so that power doesn't become an issue when running this machine for long periods for complex renders. Crossfired FirePros to reach a Stream Processor sweet spot. Wanted to use a quad G34 board I've seen in the past, but it's not listed anymore. I probably would have gone with that instead, and switch out the extra GPU for the added CPU power. If I could go a thousand more over budget I would have gone for the 16-core CPU. Also went for longest warranties I could get for the parts (SSD and HDD each have 5-year warranties). I figure 128GB is enough for installation of an OS and programs, while 2TB in RAID is a good starting point for a workstation. Finally, I include a Blu-Ray burner for the best disc-based backups.
January 8, 2013 7:27:53 AM

kensingtron said:
Rendering/CAD/encoding MONSTER

2x Xeon processors, 16/32 Cores/threads
Hi quality components all packaged in a silent, slick high end case. Perfect for the office.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Case: Corsair 550D ATX Mid Tower Case ($149.99 @ Best Buy)

Other: ASUS Z9PE-D16/2L SSI EEB Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 DDR3 1600 ($379.99)
Other: 2x Intel Xeon E5-2660 Sandy Bridge-EP 2.2GHz (3GHz Turbo Boost) ($2659.98)
You don't realize that the motherboard won't fit into that case? Read the comments above the forth photo:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-obsidian-55...

And this really sucks because I was going to pick your build.
January 8, 2013 7:37:52 AM
January 8, 2013 5:51:23 PM

Crashman said:
Did you also forget how to fit a 16" tall board in a 12" tall whole?


Did you also forget how to spell hole? :p 
January 9, 2013 1:35:14 PM
January 15, 2013 5:15:26 PM

This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Jpishgar
!