Jump to content
nog

Xeon Editing/Rendering Workstation

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

 

I am after some advice on a new workstation build.

 

Firstly, What I do.

I am self-employed. I do a lot of video editing, motion graphics and 3d studio max work. I am currently running Adobe Creative Suite CS4 which I plan to upgrade to CS5.5 as I am sure that there is a major bottleneck with After Effects CS4 not being 64-bit capable even on my current system.

 

My current system, and systems I have used while employed in the past have never run workstation grade graphics cards. so I am curious as to whether anyone thinks it's worth the money to run a Quadro? Price isn't a huge consideration, but if I could keep it under $10k aud that would be nice. My current system is an i7 920 with 12gb of RAM and a GTX 295, just to give you an idea of what I am comparing with.

 

I currently have 3 monitors and plan to run a fourth shortly down the track, so I have assumed I would run a Quadro, then a lesser card for more ports.

 

I'm quite experienced with building pcs and most recently have been building i5 and i7 based systems. Is there anything crucial I should know about speccing/building a Xeon based system?

While I could see the benefits in purchasing a pre-built system from an 'Adobe Certified' reseller (HP, Boxx, Dell, etc.), from what I have seen, they generally appear over priced with less power/quality.

 

I will do even more research prior to purchasing, but I'd like to use this thread to pick some experienced brains.

 

 

The Proposed Spec Questions.

Mobo- so I have read horror stories about people not using proper Intel based motherboards with Xeon processors. However, the board I have looked at, while it seems solid, it was released back in 2009, which means it's not sporting USB3, SATA III and other more modern mobo features. Does anyone know of something newer and as reliable?

 

CPUs- are there any others I should be looking at? Any need for after market coolers? Not going to over clock.

 

RAM- would 24gb (6x4) be enough for the build in question? Would it be a bottleneck? What would be an optimum amount? ECC without a doubt?

 

HDDs- intel SSD to boot off, 3 x 1tb drives in RAID5 hanging off the Highpoint Technologies controller. My current system has a RAID5 and in the past has proven it's worth and gotten me back on track when a drive degraded. However my current system has an Adaptec controller, thoughts? Is it worth getting enterprise grade drives to RAID? I plan to edit/work off the RAID5.

 

Graphics- as I mentioned above, is it worth it? Forget about gaming, I can use my current system for that. I just need pure After Effects, Premiere and 3D Studio Max rendering power.

 

Case and PSU- any recommendations?

 

 

The Parts.

I have priced all of these from www.scorptec.com.au . I have no idea where I will purchase the parts from yet, I am just using them as a gauge of price as they list pretty much anything I need.

 

1 X Lian-Li - PC-X2000B

Lian-Li Black TYR PC-X2000, Black, ATX/eATX/MATX , No PSU, 2 x USB2.0, 1x IEEE 1394, Aluminium Case

$679.00  Total $679.00 

 

1 X Leadtek - Quadro 290NVS

Leadteak Quadro 290 NVS, 256mb, PCI Express x16, Dual Head DVI/VGA, Low Profile

$209.00  Total $209.00 

 

3 X Samsung - HD103SJ

Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3, SATAII, 7200rpm, 32MB

$59.00  Total $177.00 

 

2 X Intel - BX80614X5680

Intel Xeon X5680 3.33Ghz, 12MB Cache, 6.4GTs, 6 Core

$1,849.00  Total $3,698.00 

 

6 X Kingston - KVR1333D3D4R9S/4GI

Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC Reg w/Parity CL9 DIMM Dual Rank X4 TS

$99.00  Total $594.00 

 

1 X Antec - TPQ-1200OC

Antec TPQ-1200OC 1200W TruePower Quattro, 80 PLUS Silver Certified, 80mm cooling fan, Advanced Cable Management

$319.00  Total $319.00 

 

1 X Intel - S5520SCR

Intel S5520SCR I5520/ICH10R, 12x DDR3 1333, 2x PCI-E x16, 2x GB LAN, SATAII, RAID 0/1/10

$689.00  Total $689.00 

 

1 X Highpoint Technologies - RR2720

HighPoint RocketRAID 2720 - 8-ch SAS/SATA 6GB/s, PCI-E 2.0 x 8, Internal 8 Ports, Internal Mini-SAS, Support Raid 0,1,5,10,50, JBOD, Low Profile

$395.00  Total $395.00 

 

1 X Leadtek - FX4000

Leadtek PCIe Quadro 4000 2048MB, 2 x Display Port / DVI-DL

$1,359.00  Total $1,359.00

 

1 X Microsoft - FQC-04725

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit with Service Pack 1 DVD OEM

$159.00  Total $159.00

 

1 X Intel - SSDSC2MH250A2K5

Intel 250GB SSD, 2.5", 510 Series, SATAIII, Read 500MB/s, Write 315MB/s

$689.00  Total $689.00 

 

TOTAL $8967

 

 

I apologize in advance for this monstrous post, I am just looking for some real world feedback before I jump in to it. Ideally I'd like to get 2 years life out of the system, maybe more, before having to upgrade again.

 

Thank you,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you considered the Xeon W3680 instead of the X5680? The only difference is that it has 1 QPI link and only supports up to 24GB memory. For that, the chip is several hundred dollars cheaper. (Not too significant in comparison to your overall price.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you considered the Xeon W3680 instead of the X5680? The only difference is that it has 1 QPI link and only supports up to 24GB memory. For that, the chip is several hundred dollars cheaper. (Not too significant in comparison to your overall price.)

I will look in to it, thank you.

Xeons are new territory for me, so suggestions like this, are great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you only want ~500-650w psu but looks like you need dual 8 pin eps for that mb which most psu dont have including that antec from the little i can find so you will need a molex-8pin eps adapter or maybe a psu that has them but im not sure of any suitable ones

bulldozer may be worth waiting a month or two for its looking like it could be a good chip for video work

case is nice but perhaps a little excessive

 

the rest i think you probably know more about that me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is a rough copy of what changes i have made to your build. all my prices are from Mwave.com.au

 

Cubitek Tank Series - HPTX-TANK CB-TKE-B510 $199.00

 

Corsair AX Series 850W $249

 

ASUS Z8PE-D18 Motherboard - Dual LGA 1366 $855.70

 

2x Intel Xeon X5690 - 6 Cores / 12 Threads - 3.46GHz $1843.10ea $3686.2

 

2x Kingston ValueRAM 24 GB ( 3 x 8 GB ) 1333 MHz $414.10ea $828.2

 

Leadtek nVidia Quadro FX4000 Video Card - 2GB $1043.90

 

Leadtek Quadro NVS 300 Video Card $174.4

 

OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCI-Express Solid State Drive -

240GB - 1000MB/s Read & 900MB/s Write $695

 

HighPoint RocketRAID 2710 $277.40

 

3x Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB $55ea $165

 

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit with Service Pack 1 DVD OEM $135

 

Total $8308.3

 

lots of room for changes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Dasa, AMD AKIMBO and James.

 

Firstly, has anyone purchased from mwave.com.au in the past? Their prices seem pretty good. Generally I just grab stuff from www.pccasegear.com.au but they lack a range of stock for this particular build. I haven't used scorptec for awhile, but I know they list a lot.

 

A few questions regarding your spec James;

The motherboard is quite expensive, any reason for this over the one I listed? is it just newer? I can't really see any glaringly noticeable differences. I notice that is runs triple channel RAM, is it necessary/preferable to get 2 x 12gb kits (3x4gb each).

 

This - OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCI-Express Solid State Drive - 240GB - 1000MB/s Read & 900MB/s Write $695 - Just wow. I had no idea something like that existed.. But would it be bottlenecked by the fact that the motherboard is only SATA II? Or is it not an issue since it's PCI-Express?

 

Hard Drives;

This morning I woke to find another 1tb drive degraded in my current workstation, second time in about 3 months. Is it worth getting RAID-grade drives? http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-22040451-Seaga...peed_64bit_Cach ?

 

And regarding the case, I was considering the one that you listed. The only reason I went with the Lian Li, is that it is aluminium and I have one at the moment (this one- http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-16011059-Lian-...uot__3_5_quot_D ). It's a luxury to have space when working inside the case. On the other hand, lugging it to a LAN is not particularly fun, but I am not planning on this workstation leaving my office.

 

Thank you,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more thing, not really hardware related.

 

I have a friend in the IT industry that is trying to convince me to forget about Xeon's and to just get a decent i7 + Quadro set up, and replace it in 12 months, rinse and repeat. Generally I suppose that I could do that for 4 years and it would cost the same as what I am looking to invest through a Xeon system.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Would it be a bad idea to sink this kind of capital into a workstation now instead of half and halfing it?

My thoughts are that I want a powerhouse workstation now. I want to be able to throw 3D Studio Max renders and After Effect renders at it, and know that I am not losing productivity waiting. Generally it's not worth submitting some jobs over the network to the render farm, and I do them locally.

 

But I am keen to hear what others think regarding this.

 

Thanks,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

your current pc if ovcerclocked is about as fast as current pc hardware gets

you could swap the cpu to 980 for two more cores or go with a new system based on 2600k and oc it to ~4.5ghz which would smash that workstation in anything that didnt make use of more than 4 threads

but the 12 i7 3.3ghz cores you have in that system will be extremely quick for anything that can make good use of 12-24 threads

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

your current pc if ovcerclocked is about as fast as current pc hardware gets

you could swap the cpu to 980 for two more cores or go with a new system based on 2600k and oc it to ~4.5ghz which would smash that workstation in anything that didnt make use of more than 4 threads

but the 12 i7 3.3ghz cores you have in that system will be extremely quick for anything that can make good use of 12-24 threads

Thanks, do you mean my current pc as in my i7 920? I've already gotten it over clocked to 3.8 ghz.

 

My mate seems to think that I'd be better off getting another i7 and a KVM so I could have 2 systems on the go, render on one, work on the other sort of set up.

 

I don't know.. It's a lot of money.

I always justify gear like this to my wife, "You wouldn't see a carpenter using $15 tools". So maybe I should just bite the bullet and jump on board the Xeon train.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Dasa, AMD AKIMBO and James.

 

Firstly, has anyone purchased from mwave.com.au in the past? Their prices seem pretty good. Generally I just grab stuff from www.pccasegear.com.au but they lack a range of stock for this particular build. I haven't used scorptec for awhile, but I know they list a lot.

 

A few questions regarding your spec James;

The motherboard is quite expensive, any reason for this over the one I listed? is it just newer? I can't really see any glaringly noticeable differences. I notice that is runs triple channel RAM, is it necessary/preferable to get 2 x 12gb kits (3x4gb each).

 

This - OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCI-Express Solid State Drive - 240GB - 1000MB/s Read & 900MB/s Write $695 - Just wow. I had no idea something like that existed.. But would it be bottlenecked by the fact that the motherboard is only SATA II? Or is it not an issue since it's PCI-Express?

 

Hard Drives;

This morning I woke to find another 1tb drive degraded in my current workstation, second time in about 3 months. Is it worth getting RAID-grade drives? http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-22040451-Seaga...peed_64bit_Cach ?

 

And regarding the case, I was considering the one that you listed. The only reason I went with the Lian Li, is that it is aluminium and I have one at the moment (this one- http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-16011059-Lian-...uot__3_5_quot_D ). It's a luxury to have space when working inside the case. On the other hand, lugging it to a LAN is not particularly fun, but I am not planning on this workstation leaving my office.

 

Thank you,

John

 

i have been buying all my stuff from mwave them for over the past year and have had no problems with them i have picked up and got stuff posted from them.

 

the revo drive wont have a bottleneck of the sata as it is pci-e card.

 

with that motherboard it can be changed it was just the one i had picked at the time and i didnt really go back and look over the others.

with triple channel you can go with the 3x4Gb kits.

 

and the cases, both are aluminium and there specs on size the Lain Li is 95mm higher but the Cubitek is 168mm deeper. the only real difference that brings me to is where the HDD bays are located. but the HDD bays in the Cubitek look like they can be removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you spoken to your accontant?

 

what can you claim back, over what period, can you set up an interim i7 system and then next may/june make your Xeon system in time for the new FY.

thus the i7 become your pesonal gaming rig, which you claim a portion back from for depresiation and business costs....

 

while your budget is tops, your timing for financial year coudl be better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, has anyone purchased from mwave.com.au in the past? Their prices seem pretty good. Generally I just grab stuff from www.pccasegear.com.au but they lack a range of stock for this particular build. I haven't used scorptec for awhile, but I know they list a lot.

 

I get most of my stuff from mwave.com.au i live in Campbelltown (southwest Sydney) so it ends up costing me less for delivery ordering from mwave then it costs to get stuff from pccasgear.

 

They are generally pretty good and fast for delivery, though occasionally they sell out of products and the website doesn't update quick enough. so it might be a good idea to ring and check stock first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all.

 

meowkitty- You are correct about bad timing, it's generally the case with me. When I built this system I think I had missed the EOFY by about 3 months. Admittedly I have not even done my finances for the past year, I am booked with my accountant early September, so I might hold off until I do that.

 

I think it's a go ahead though, this system is causing me to rage now on a frequent basis. Either a new i7 or Xeon, I think it's time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone,

 

Sorry to revive a relatively old thread. I've been given the green light, and I am taking the plunge to build a new workstation.

Since I will probably be ordering next week some time, I am looking for any final thoughts on the over all spec.

 

I've changes it around slightly from the initial spec based on feedback from you, and others.

 

 

Cubitek Tank Series - HPTX-TANK

$300.00

 

Leadtek nVidia Quadro 5000 Professional Video Card

2.5GB 320-bit GDDR5 RAM - 352 CUDA Cores - 120 GB/s Memory Bandwidth - PCIe 2.0 - 1x DVI-I, 2x Display Ports - Dual Slot - DirectX 11 & OpenGL 4.0 (LT-Q5000)

$2,259.10

 

Leadtek Quadro NVS 300 Video Card

GDDR3 512MB 64Bit RAM - PCIe2.0 - DMS-59 Connector - DirectX 10.1 & OpenGL 3.3 (LT-NVS300-X16)

$174.40

 

2 x Intel Xeon X5690 Processor

LGA 1366 - 6 Cores / 12 Threads - 3.46GHz - 6 x 256KB L2 / 12MB L3 Cache - 6.40GT/s QPI - Westmere-EP (BX80614X5690)

$3686.20

 

8 x Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC Reg w/Parity CL9 DIMM Dual Rank X4 TS

$792.00

 

3 x Seagate 1TB Constellation ES

7200.1, SATAII, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, NCQ, Higher Reliability, Enterprise Level Storage

$495.00

 

Intel S5520SCR I5520/ICH10R

12x DDR3 1333, 2x PCI-E x16, 2x GB LAN, SATAII, RAID 0/1/10

$689.00

 

Corsair AX-1200 1200W ATX Power Supply

80 PLUS Gold Certified, 100% Modular Cabling, 6x 6+2 PCI-E, 16x SATA, 12x Molex

$369.00

 

OCZ 240GB PCI Express SSD, RevoDrive 3 X2, Internal RAID 0, Read up to 1500MB/s, Write up to 1225MB/s

$849.00

 

Razer DeathAdder Gaming Mouse V2

$69.00

 

LG CH12LS28 12X BD-R Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive

$69.00

 

Sapphire Active Display Port Single-Link to DVI Adapter

$39.00

 

HighPoint RocketRAID 2710 SAS/SATA RAID Controller

$259.00

 

 

TOTAL $10,527.70

 

 

Prices are loose, I have put just what I found them for on mwave, scorptec or pccasegear. I have not decided where I will get the components from yet.

 

So there we have it, any feedback/recommendations very much welcome.

 

*quick edit* Forgot the RAID controller, and also put in Display Port to DVI converter.

 

Thanks,

John

Edited by nog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

 

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, I just wanted to drop back in and thank everyone who replied for their input regarding this system.

The CPU's arrived yesterday and it's now up and running, not without problems of course, but what else would you expect.

 

Photo

Photo

 

Cheers

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

 

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, I just wanted to drop back in and thank everyone who replied for their input regarding this system.

The CPU's arrived yesterday and it's now up and running, not without problems of course, but what else would you expect.

 

Photo

Photo

 

Cheers

John

 

Looks pretty awesome man. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×