Monday, June 30

Geek

Toys

On a whim, I just priced a dual-quad-Opteron workstation with 16GB of memory.

Scary thing is, I can afford it.

Whether it's a remotely sane thing to buy is another matter entirely.

Hmm.  Same store has the Asus Z7S and 4GB FB-DIMMs at a (relatively) reasonable price, which would give me 24GB of memory.  But I don't know if that board would fit in my case.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:55 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1

So that would be eight processors? You'd need a cooling tower for something like that. What kind of power supply would it need? Maybe a kilowatt? Good lord...

It really is amazing how prices continue to drop per unit compute power. The laptop I bought last year has approximately the same specs as the workstation I put together 6 years ago, but it cost a third as much and it weighs about a tenth as much.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Monday, June 30 2008 07:19 AM (+rSRq)

2 The quad-core chips are server versions and are surprisingly low-power - about 75W each.  They're designed for datacenters where they stick 40 dual-processor 1U servers in a rack - and another 40 in the next rack...

They are a few notches slower than the top-of-the-line desktop chips, though - 2.1GHz for the Opterons, 2.33GHz for the Xeons.

The problem with the Xeon systems is that they use "fully buffered" memory, which is a power hog.  The modules have large heatsinks and sometimes even fans to keep them cool.  And they're expensive.

It's kind of moot, anyway, because it all changes when Nehalem lands in Q4 this year.  It'll run nearly as fast as current dual-processor/quad-core systems, and for a lot less money, and will support six memory sockets on a single-processor motherboard.  Unfortunately, it requires DDR3 memory, which again, is expensive, currently about twice the price of DDR2.  But at least it's faster and uses less power, where FB memory is slower and uses more power.

So realistically, I might get a cheap quad-core CPU now (Phenom 9750, probably) and save my pennies for a new system arounc Christmastime.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, June 30 2008 03:52 PM (PiXy!)

3 And yeah, performance scaling is back, after a few years where it didn't do so well.  So it's multiple 3GHz cores rather than one monster 10GHz core; fine by me.  I'm a server guy.  I love multiple cores.

And the desktop guys at least get their $200 1TFLOP video cards.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, June 30 2008 03:56 PM (PiXy!)

4 ok, I gotta see that spec sheet (and prices). can you publish it online? maybe on google docs? I cant resist knowing.

Posted by: Fledgling Otaku at Monday, June 30 2008 09:06 PM (n8i72)

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