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Old 11-03-2012, 01:57 PM   #1
okimin
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Building a Xeon Duel socket workstation

I'm reposting this thread as my previous posts on this forum are not showing up.

I've started collecting the bits for building a workstation and need some advise.
I'll be cannibalising bits from my current box to save some money.

Here's a list of the pieces that I have and need to buy.

1- mainboard Asus Z9 PE D8 - purchased
2- cpu xeon 2620 x2- need
3- memory registered 4x8gigs-need
4- case something solid-need
5- heatsink x2 something quiet-need
6- 40Gb SSD and a 1Tb harddrive -need
7- power supply -650w cannibalise
8- monitor -cannibalise
9- gpu gtx 550- cannibalise


For the list above these are my concerns.

1- should I have gone for socket 2011
2- can I use just one processor on the mainboard and if so should I buy only one chip now thatís faster for around about the same price of two 2620's and wait for the prices to drop before I buy the second one.
3- I found some registered Kingston memory for around the same price as the unbuffered stuff. As I understand it registered is slower but more accurate than unbuffered what are your thoughts.
4- I would like something thatís solid so it can soak up fan noise, front facing USB ports and any indicators which show the well being of my system would be nice such as CPU temperatures. should I be looking for a horizontal case (see heatsink)
5- heatsink(x2) needs to be big with a big fan attached should I be concerned about them fitting inside a tower, what about supporting brackets connecting to the case itself, these things look a little heavy and I'll be needing two.

I've posted the same question on other forums and have got some good advise already but would like as much input as possible.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 
Old 11-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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to be honest, an overclocked Ivy or Sandy Bridge i7 is going to get you better performance than a dual socket 2.0 GHz Xeon since you'll have either 6 cores running at ~4.5GHz or 12 running at less than half the speed. Considering that most operations in any app aren't well multithreaded, that will also mean that most of your work will be significantly faster, not just renders. 90% of the time you do anything slow in Maya for example (smooth, UV unfold, compressed file saves, etc.), it's only using one core.

also, 80GB is really the minimum for a system and apps disk.
 
Old 11-03-2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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the Asus Z9PE-D8 board isn't reviewed very highly by users. That makes me skeptical of it. I think I'd more likely go for the EVGA SR-X if I was choosing a dual 2011 board.

IMO I'd only consider dual xeon for a workstation if you're going for the highest end processors because otherwise an overclocked 3930k i7 will utterly leave the dual xeons in the dust for the majority of tasks.

Even with the highest end dual E5-2687W, most software will render about 20-30% faster in multithreading at the expense of 20-30% slower at single-threading tasks when compared to a 4.5-4.7ghz 3930k. To me, that trade off isn't worth it when the top dual xeons cost 3x more.

Of course, not everyone is comfortable overclocking so it's understandable if someone would opt not to even though the chips are purpose built for it. You could always leave the chip at stock speed then increase it later on when you feel up to it.

You can run one processor now and add in another one later with the dual boards, though that sounds like a pain to likely have to take the system back apart to do it.


ECC memory is a little more expensive, but is a little slower. It's accurate though. For me it's a toss up. I really hate the systems that take 10 min to scan all the ECC memory when booting - probably the most annoying hardware "feature" ever

Last edited by sentry66 : 11-03-2012 at 07:29 PM.
 
Old 11-04-2012, 02:32 PM   #4
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I've never seen that memory scanning in the HP Z820 or Mac Pro. Is it common? that sounds really annoying.

That's the only thing I hate about using a gaming rig for rendering helper: I just had a stick of RAM go bad and I've owned it for a few months. Not a problem on Xeons.
 
Old 11-04-2012, 03:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgbeige
I've never seen that memory scanning in the HP Z820 or Mac Pro. Is it common? that sounds really annoying.

That's the only thing I hate about using a gaming rig for rendering helper: I just had a stick of RAM go bad and I've owned it for a few months. Not a problem on Xeons.



Systems probably don't do it often anymore. Come to think of it, it was opteron system with ECC memory that always scanned through all its memory and didn't have an option in the BIOS to disable it. I've had xeon systems in the past and they never did that. So maybe it was a fluke - it was a Tyan motherboard
 
Old 11-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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By default most server boards do a full memory scan after power loss. If they were just switched off via the ATX power switch they will start up without complete memory check.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Srek
By default most server boards do a full memory scan after power loss. If they were just switched off via the ATX power switch they will start up without complete memory check.



Hmm, yeah even that'd be annoying on a workstation - or I think so anyway. How long would it take to scan through 64 or more gigs of ram?

IMO at some point "reliability" becomes a liability with some of this stuff. We're not running servers, these are workstations. Your work should be backed up onto a server and that should be the machine doing all the routine disc and memory scans

After a power loss or spike, honestly I'm more worried about the hard drives and the work I've just spent all day doing, not the memory. If I was really worried, I could just run memtest when it was convenient.

Imagine if the OS did a disc scan every time the machine restarted wrong. You'd be throwing away half a day of productivity scanning a 1-2 terabyte drive during boot up.

Meanwhile, you've got deadlines and you just want the machine to turn on already so you can get your work done so you can go home to see your family.

Last edited by sentry66 : 11-04-2012 at 09:46 PM.
 
Old 11-05-2012, 10:59 AM   #8
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Ok I returned the board you convinced me. Thanks for the advice

Quote:
to be honest, an overclocked Ivy or Sandy Bridge i7 is going to get you better performance...

Overclocking hummm, guess I should knock together that old 700mhz and mainboard I've got lying around and fry that thing first before moving on to the more expensive stuff.

Here's a startover list

1) mainboard, No idea but single socket
2) Processor i7 3930K
3) memory unbuffered corsair 4x8gigs should be enough
4) harddrive SSD 100gigs + 1Tb
5) monitor dell 2412m
6) Everything else I can take from my current box but if things start to heat up I'll get a noctua heatsink.

Thanks again for the advice
Best Regards
Juan
 
Old 11-05-2012, 11:43 AM   #9
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You might be limited to 16GB of RAM on a single socket board.

I bought a 40GB Intel SDD about a year ago. Its fast, but I regret not getting a larger one. It only shows up as a 27GB volume in Linux. 100GB should be fine.

Do you plan to overclock, and are you using this for 3D rendering?

-AJ
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:34 PM   #10
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The Asus P9X79 line supports up to 64gb of ram. I have the WS model and it's been great so far. My 3930 is OC'ed to 4.5ghz with the Noctua NH-D14 and it's been perfectly stable for the last 6 months, idling at 40-45 and peeking at 75-80.
 
Old 11-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #11
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Cool, very fancy board. Ignore that 16GB comment...

Make sure to get the biggest fans you can for noise reduction. Try to get at least 120mm heatsink fans, and 120-200mm case fans. I used a bunch of 55mm server fans to cool my first build, and sounded like a vacuum cleaner.

The heatsinks fit pretty tight on the CPU, so you probably wont need to worry about horizontal-vertical. They're made of really thin copper tubing.

Go for a big case if you can with a 200mm fan. With the full ATX board, the giant GPU, 2 drives, all the wires coming off the 650w PSU, you'll need the space.

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Old 11-06-2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
The Asus P9X79 line supports up to 64gb of ram

Thanks for the suggestion this is one of the boards I've been looking at.

Quote:
Do you plan to overclock, and are you using this for 3D rendering?

I suppose I'll tweek the processor some but overclocking can fry your board.
My main work will be on running physics simulations which can go on for days at a time which is why I'm reluctant to overclock.

Best regards
Juan
 
Old 11-06-2012, 10:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okimin
I suppose I'll tweek the processor some but overclocking can fry your board.


Not really, modern machines will slow themselves down or safely turn off should anything go to far. Theres little reason not to bump any modern machine up to a healthy 4.5GHz these days.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okimin


I suppose I'll tweek the processor some but overclocking can fry your board.
My main work will be on running physics simulations which can go on for days at a time which is why I'm reluctant to overclock.

what imashination said above is true

Also, boards that are engineered specifically for overclocking are not very likely to fry
 
Old 11-17-2012, 10:52 AM   #15
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Why dont u try finding second hand Z800?
I'm sure it will be better price. There some good dealer in Bangkok.
 
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