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Thread: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

  1. #1
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    New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    I've built a few PC's over the years, and recently most of those have been HTPC/low-power/quiet computing type of rigs. Now I've been asked to build a powerful gaming/workstation, and admit to being out of touch with the components. And, as for gaming, I know very little. Other than it needs very powerful graphics, but video-editing (the 'workstation' task) does not. Another question is, with an i7 Extreme CPU, is there any point in overclocking (I have limited experience there).

    So I'm thinking of something like:

    i7 Core Extreme 3.2GHz CPU
    Noctua NH-U12P Special Edition 1366
    Gigabyte EX58 UD3R
    Corsair Dominator 3 x 2GB DDR3
    Corsair HX1000W PSU
    Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB*
    EVGA GeForce GTX 295**
    Akasa Omega***
    Dell Ultrasharp 2709W 27" Widescreen LCD Monitor

    *maybe need something better here
    ** 1 or 2?
    *** maybe OK for air, but not water...

  2. #2
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5E (Rampage Formula 0902)
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core2Quad Q9550 3.6Ghz 1.2V
      • Memory:
      • A-Data DDR2-800 2x2GB CL4
      • Storage:
      • 4x1TB WD1000FYPS @ RAID5 3Ware 9500S-8 / 3x 1TB Samsung Ecogreen F2
      • Graphics card(s):
      • GeCube HD4870 512MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair VX450
      • Case:
      • Antec P180
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Server 2008 Standard
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell Ultrasharp 2709W + 2001FP
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      • Be*Unlimited 20Mbps

    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    The question remains, how powerful do you need it.
    I have a Q9450 @ 3.4Ghz, 4GB of Ram, a HD4870 512MB and a 2709W. It doesn't even draw 350W. And it plays every single game I have at maximum quality (Up to 8xAA, don't see the point for anything higher).

    A 1000W PSU is certainly not needed. Perhaps 650W. I don't know how much power the GTX295 draws but it won't hit 600W even with the i7 overclocked to the maximum.

    With only one 2709W, anything more expensive than a HD4890 would be pretty much overkill.

    But then if you have money to throw away, i7 is certainly a good place to throw at.

    Video encoding is heavily dependent on what you actually do with the video. If only processing 1 file at a time, an i7 will help. If you parallel process it (i.e. processing two files at the same time), the same money could be used to buy two lower-end machines, and have a small impact on gaming performance.
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
    Workstation 2: Intel C2Q Q9550 @ 3.6Ghz / X38 / 4GB DDR2-800 / 8400GS 512MB / Open Air
    Workstation 3: Intel Xeon X3350 @ 3.2Ghz / P35 / 4GB DDR2-800 / HD4770 512MB / Shuttle SP35P2
    HTPC: AMD Athlon X4 620 @ 2.6Ghz / 780G / 4GB DDR2-1000 / Antec Mini P180 White
    Mobile Workstation: Intel C2D T8300 @ 2.4Ghz / GM965 / 3GB DDR2-667 / DELL Inspiron 1525 / 6+6+9 Cell Battery

    Display (Monitor): DELL Ultrasharp 2709W + DELL Ultrasharp 2001FP
    Display (Projector): Epson TW-3500 1080p
    Speakers: Creative Megaworks THX550 5.1
    Headphones: Etymotic hf2 / Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pro

    Storage: 8x2TB Hitachi @ DELL PERC 6/i RAID6 / 13TB Non-RAID Across 12 HDDs
    Consoles: PS3 Slim 120GB / Xbox 360 Arcade 20GB / PS2

  3. #3
    DILLIGAF GoNz0's Avatar
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    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    balls to the i7 extreme at 3.2 ghz, buy a 920 and clock it to 4ghz

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    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    Hmmm I reckon you should be thinking bigger. You didn't really specify a budget, so....

    Look at the specs for the Ars Technica Hot Rod system, but remember to spec out a proper audio amplifier and professional audiophile-grade surround sound speakers. And surely you're not looking to get just one monitor?

    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/guid...-edition.ars/3


    I've priced up everything bar the monitor and the cables/heatsink etc, and it comes to a total of &#163;6,794.

    Motherboard &#163;498.59
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?W...source=froogle

    cpus 2667.38
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?W...source=froogle

    12gb memory 455.39
    http://crucial.com/uk/store/partspec...KIT51272BB1339

    dual 4870 x2 749.32
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/2GB-G...e-2xDLDVI-HDTV

    Xonar D2X 130.97
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...d-(New-Version)

    Adaptec 5805 482.41
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Adapt...AID-controller

    x2 x25-e 680.05
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/64GB-...-s-Write-speed

    x2 1TB hdd 274.82
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-W...B-Cache-420-ms

    bdr 169.99
    http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/5338496/-/Product.html

    Silverstone SST-TJ10B 205.85
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Silve...-in-black-RoHS

    enermax psu 223.1
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1250W...eakPower-1500W

    speakers 256.34
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Logit...coder-500W-RMS

    &#163;6,794.21

  5. #5
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5E (Rampage Formula 0902)
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core2Quad Q9550 3.6Ghz 1.2V
      • Memory:
      • A-Data DDR2-800 2x2GB CL4
      • Storage:
      • 4x1TB WD1000FYPS @ RAID5 3Ware 9500S-8 / 3x 1TB Samsung Ecogreen F2
      • Graphics card(s):
      • GeCube HD4870 512MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair VX450
      • Case:
      • Antec P180
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Server 2008 Standard
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell Ultrasharp 2709W + 2001FP
      • Internet:
      • Be*Unlimited 20Mbps

    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    <sarcasm>
    That is very kind of you for the insane spec.

    Personally with that kind of budget I would get 8x C2Q system with HD4770/4830 interlinked by a 16/24 port switch over Dual GbE each and just distribute the job across. Get 32 CPU cores instead of 8, 5120 Stream Processors instead of 3200. Getting 32/64GB memory instead of 12GB. Oh you ALSO get to overclock the cores to 3.6Ghz each.

    Oh, you WOULDN'T get a 5805 with ONLY 2x1TB?!? Surely it should be 8x2TB RAID6 with card of that caliber.

    </sarcasm>
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
    Workstation 2: Intel C2Q Q9550 @ 3.6Ghz / X38 / 4GB DDR2-800 / 8400GS 512MB / Open Air
    Workstation 3: Intel Xeon X3350 @ 3.2Ghz / P35 / 4GB DDR2-800 / HD4770 512MB / Shuttle SP35P2
    HTPC: AMD Athlon X4 620 @ 2.6Ghz / 780G / 4GB DDR2-1000 / Antec Mini P180 White
    Mobile Workstation: Intel C2D T8300 @ 2.4Ghz / GM965 / 3GB DDR2-667 / DELL Inspiron 1525 / 6+6+9 Cell Battery

    Display (Monitor): DELL Ultrasharp 2709W + DELL Ultrasharp 2001FP
    Display (Projector): Epson TW-3500 1080p
    Speakers: Creative Megaworks THX550 5.1
    Headphones: Etymotic hf2 / Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pro

    Storage: 8x2TB Hitachi @ DELL PERC 6/i RAID6 / 13TB Non-RAID Across 12 HDDs
    Consoles: PS3 Slim 120GB / Xbox 360 Arcade 20GB / PS2

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    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    Exactly, now change yer pants!

    PS. Don't forget the nuclear-fueled power station... and daddy's check book!
    Last edited by toolshed; 02-05-2009 at 11:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sawyen's Avatar
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    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    ditto with arthur..

    The more pressing question is whether you will need that core i7 extreme..

    IMO its a waste of money, and this is coming from a person that has built a large number of workstations for my lab..

    AFAIC.. Core 2 Quad is already pretty sensible, and if you have more money, the tops I will go for is a Core i7 920..

    To be frank, 2.66Ghz and 3.2Ghz makes bugger all difference in real sensible life. Given its a workstation, overclocking is usually a no no.. well, at least in scientific research it isn't..

    I gone from a dual Opteron dual core to a Core i7 and it made bugger all difference in terms of experience.. and if I put it in words to my boss (If I even dare), that's &#163;1k of crap investment.

    GPU, depends if you're playing anything serious, if its just an odd game or two, why not just get a mid range HD4770, its affordable, power efficient and enough for most games..

    Believe me, if you leave this workstation go on 24-7 continual crunching, you WILL feel it in your electricity bills.. so go for mid-low power envelope..

    This then gives further incentives to scrap that 1kW power supply... PSUs run on power/efficiency curves, you need to match your system with the power output, otherwise you'll be running less than ideal efficiency and hence more expensive bills.. Rule of thumb will be 60-80&#37; load gives the most sensible efficiency, any lower then you're pushing the PSU to give you better efficiency..
    Me want Ultrabook


  8. #8
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: New 'workstation' build - help pls!

    Some of the higher end AMD Phenom II processors are also worth a look at too. Something like a Phenom II X4 940 with a DDR2 790GX motherboard or a Phenom II X4 955 with a DDR3 790GX motherboard will do the job nicely.

    Some DDR2 and DDR3 790GX motherboards for under £130:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/search.aspx?q=790gx

    Phenom II X4 940:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=924550

    Phenom II X4 955:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=1003114

    Phenom II 940 review:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/16147/4

    Phenom II 955 review:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/16796/4


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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