New (old) Workstation
Current time: 04-24-2018, 03:33 AM
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Author: elbarto_87
Last Post: LiviuM
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New (old) Workstation
#1
Team,

I am looking at buying a new (second hand) computer primarily for running my engineering software. I don't a lot of really intense work, but do work with FEA or CAD on occasion. I was considering a workstation rather than a standard desktop PC. Was wondering if anyone had some comments on this. The most important thing is that it runs all other software like MS Office, visual studio, adobe etc. without any problems also since I spend a lot of my time working with them. I don't play computer games.

I have my eye on something like this:

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Would be great to hear if there are any negatives to buying a workstation? Any recommendations will also be well received.

Regards elbarto
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#2
Hello, how funny, I was just reading this:
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You'll have to buy also a new and larger HDD.
You can find here some CPU score:
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And compare:
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As you'll see the 2 CPU having 4 cores each so 8 cores perform quite well compared to a brand new workstation.

Maybe you'll have to change the PSU, the two cpu take at most 120W each so 240W + graphics card 171 Watts, about 450W minimum.

It seems ok to me.
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#3
Hi LiviuM,

Thanks for your reply. Yes 146GB is not a big HD, but I think it should suffice for a C:\. I'm not sure about the need to replace power supplies, it looks like the machine has been well worked in its existing configuration?

On paper, a workstation makes a lot of sense (more CPU, more ram generally, better GPU for cad type work etc.). I just want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything so I can transition seamlessly from my existing desktop to a new workstation.

Regards elbarto
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#4
PSU (power supply unit) wears out in time. It can fail earlier if it's not properly sized (loaded close to max output watts) or if the electric network provider doesn't provide stabilized current (variations in voltage)...

I have little time today. I have an old Quadro on my desk to test it, I'll test it and share results a.s.a.p., hopefully in about 6 hours.
The first link I provided, in the first post, which is huge, made by bambiboom, you'll find various results with T5400. Just click see full contents under Mates, it doesn't show in the first place because it's huge.
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I found this benchmark, I will provide results with it, SPECviewperf 11:
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I'm using this setup for a while ~2 years:
Kingston 8GB DDR3 1333MHz CL9 Dual Channel Kit Non ECC
WD 500 GB SATA-III 32MB 7200rpm Caviar Black
Intel Core i5 2500 3.30GHz
MaxCube Nira 500W
Asus P8H61-M LE
DVD-Writer Optiarc AD-7280S
Inter-Tech Hedgehog

It's price as a new system was about 486 US$.

The power consumption is about 95W CPU, 20W Hdd, 50W Mainboard+ram+usb~170W
Most of the time less because it's not loaded at max all the time.

As you can see no GPU, I'm using the embedded graphics card which is free and doesn't drain hundreds of watts.

Results with SpecviewPerf, embedded Intel 2000 HD:
Quote:Viewset Composite Multisample Performance
catia-03 not Successful
ensight-04 1.85 no result
lightwave-01 11.76 no result
maya-03 10.90 no result
proe-05 0.79 no result
sw-02 5.39 no result
tcvis-02 1.27 no result
Some hardware expensive results:
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Comparison:
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My results are close to a GTX 680 Grin. Which is absurd. Moreover there's a huge difference between my cpu and the tested one, see here:
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1200 W PSU Happy

You may find here the cpu results, I can confirm those values, and those are pretty close to what T5400 offers:
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On the other hand look at single core results, those really matter. Most of the stuff runs most of the time in single core, including SpecviewPerf, sap, etabs, tekla, autocad, and whatever, except for ansys which scales very well on multiple cores.
T5400 offers 1616 while i5 offers 3000, this is from single to double.

The difference is because of different technology in cpu:
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To check if your favorite software uses multithreading simply start task manager and look at processes, the cpu tab, if it's 100% and you have multicore it does, if it's 25% and you have 4 cores it doesn't and you need high perf in single core mode.

The AMD FX-8350 really got my attention the 8 cores cpu. I wish I had the opportunity to test it with real stuff like solvers or OpenGL, not games.

I also use a Kingston 60GB SATA-III 2.5 inch V300 SSDNow, 65 US$ for storing analysis results or performing large structure nonlinear analysis. (The sap/etabs null steps take like 100 times less time to perform). Viewing results takes like double less time to perform when storing data on it. It's very very cheap for the huge performance it provides. (compared to other cpu price or ram mhz, or overclocking).

To calculate power requirements (google for power requirements/supply calculator):
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I can perform analysis in sap for a specific model and provide the time spent with cpus liek q9550, i5-2500, core 2 duo, i5-3550. In about a week I can do it also with i7-4771.
I can say that especially IntelBurnTest v2.54 and maybe Nuclearus Multicore v2.00 will give close results with the real world results.

I mean by that in IntelBurnTest I see 85.3 GFlops and Time of 31 s for stress high, with i5-2500 and I see about 30 GFlops for q9550 and the same sap model runs faster with almost same ratio.
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#5
Forgot to mention Win7 x64, and no overclocking
Results for the same i5-2500 + Quadro FX 3450/4000 SDI using a very hard to find driver 8.17.12.5896
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Quote:Viewset Composite Multisample Performance
catia-03 6.83 no result
ensight-04 4.17 no result
lightwave-01 6.59 no result
maya-03 11.89 no result
proe-05 6.52 no result
sw-02 10.59 no result
tcvis-02 3.42 no result
snx-01 5.07 no result

I can provide further details Monday, I've tested the quadro in acad and another and I must say there's absolutely no performance improvement. I'm starting to think that SpecviewPerf results are fake.
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#6
PerformanceTest 8.0 results, with the quadro:
Quote:2D Mark: 762
Simple Vectors: 41.2
Complex Vectors:143.2
Fonts and Text: 230.6
Windows Interface: 111.3
Image Filters: 849
Image Rendering: 737
Direct 2D: 18.2

3D
DirectX 9 Simple: 15.0
DirectX 9 Complex: 7.7

CPU Score: 6698


Here are results with the same i5 and GeForce 9600 GT (a gaming card)
Quote:Viewset Composite Multisample Performance
catia-03 11.06 no result
ensight-04 10.01 no result
lightwave-01 13.12 no result
maya-03 12.25 no result
proe-05 1.34 no result
sw-02 11.66 no result
tcvis-02 2.76 no result
snx-01 6.50 no result
PerformanceTest 8.0 results:
Quote:2D Mark: 749
Simple Vectors: 29.4
Complex Vectors: 153.6
Fonts and Text: 255.7
Windows Interface: 101.6
Image Filters: 787
Image Rendering: 732
Direct 2D: 22.8

3D
DirectX 9 Simple: 82.7
DirectX 9 Complex: 38.3

My results with HD 2000, geforce and quadro in SpecViewPerf look to strange for me compared to these (not the quadros but the GTX 680):
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I find reason only if there's a lot of lies around professional graphics cards.
When I'll have the time I'll try to dump the opengl calls and see what is so different they say and highly optimized they say with quadro.

From the user experience point of view in Autocad 2011 with the embedded GPU Intel 2000, the 2d drawing and the 3d view cube flickers when doing pan. There's also a short delay when hovering over a huge hatch. I think it's a driver issue, for GeForce 9600 GT, the tested quadro and an embedded HD 2500 there's no flickering in fact no actual performance difference in tested software.

IMO the only part that looks interesting in that workstation is the Quadro.
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Memory bandwidth looks ok: 76.8 GB/sec and it has Geforce 8800 chipset G80.


I would choose to buy a brad new CPU I5 or I7 without GPU and if needed a second hand Quadro if and only if I was supposed to work with Autodesk software or ProEngineer.
A new pc because of warranty ~ 3 years in my region, because electronics can fail after 4 years if exposed to high temperature (failure or improper cooling), because of dust and contacts corrosion.
And I would look at single thread performance because OpenGL is mostly single thread and CPU intensive.

Good luck with this.
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